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Nominations Wanted!

Disability Rights Wisconsin needs your help identifying individuals, businesses, agencies, or government identities that deserve recognition for efforts to support the Spirit of the ADA. Please download this form, fill in your nominations and email it or mail it to:

Disability Rights Wisconsin
Attention: Ryan Williams
6737 W. Washington St. Suite 6737
Milwaukee, WI 53214

Title: Joint Finance Committee votes Tuesday on Special Education funding

On Tuesday the legislature’s budget committee votes on K-12 education funding, including funding for students with disabilities.  Click here for the document outlining the priorities the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations shared with the finance committee about students with disabilities.

Those priorities include:

- An increase in special-education funding including specific support for high cost students.

- A commitment to changes in open enrollment  policies that preserve student and family rights.

- Support for the representative Rob Brooks Better Bottom Line proposals that support youth in transition to work or college.

Disability Rights Wisconsin continues to oppose expansion of vouchers or special needs vouchers that do not protect the rights of students and take funding away from public schools where the great majority of students with disabilities are educated.

DRW Listening Session – Mental Health Emphasis – Green Bay – Friday, June 5

The Board of Directors and the Mental Health Advisory Committee of Disability Rights Wisconsin will conduct a Listening Session on Friday, June 5, 2015 in Green Bay from 4:30 to 6:30 at the Hyatt on Main/KI Convention Center.

Help shape our advocacy plans for the future. Come and speak or just listen to what others in your community have to say.

Comments on all disability areas are welcome, but we particularly want to hear from the mental health community.

WHEN:  Friday, June 5, 2015 from 4:30 to 6:30 PM

WHERE:
Hyatt on Main/KI Convention Center-Breakout Center
333 Main Street
Green Bay, WI  54301

For a flyer with details, click here.

 

Support the ABLE Act for People with Disabilities and their Families in Wisconsin: Call Your Legislator by May 14

Rep. John Macco and Senator Howard Marklein have drafted a bill to bring the benefits of ABLE Act Accounts to Wisconsin. Disability Rights Wisconsin worked with the legislature to make sure this bill will work for Wisconsin residents. The Wisconsin ABLE Act bill will finally allow people with disabilities and their families to earn and save for the extraordinary expenses they often face.

The bill allows people with disabilities and their families to earn and save up to $14,000 per year to purchase a defined list of items typically challenging to access under current income limits, including dental care, assistive technology, transportation, housing, employment training, education, and more. ABLE Accounts are tax-advantaged savings accounts–income earned by the accounts would not be taxed. In addition, for the first time, eligible individuals and families will be allowed to establish ABLE savings accounts that will not affect their eligibility for SSI, Medicaid, Wisconsin long-term care programs and other public benefits.

Under federal law, people with disabilities cannot have more than $2,000 in assets at any time—an amount that hasn’t changed in 30 years. Tax-exempt savings accounts provide people with the opportunity to maintain economic stability and preserve critical health care coverage. The maximum total amount of contributions that may be made to a Wisconsin ABLE account is tied to the maximum contribution limit of Edvest, Wisconsin’s 529 plan. The current limit is $330,000.

Want to Learn More? See both the draft ABLE Act bill here: May 7 ABLE Act bill draft and an FAQ on ABLE Accounts from the National Disability Institute here: ABLE Accounts FAQ.

And please consider calling your legislator by May 14 and asking them to sign on to Wisconsin’s ABLE Act • Tell them how finally being able to save for the future will help you or your family.

To find contact information for your legislator: Call 1-800-362-9472 and ask to confirm your representatives, or go to the following link and type your address in the box: Find My Legislators.

ACTION ALERT: Tell Your Legislator to Support the Born Motion to Remove Changes to Long-Term Care from the Budget

Representative Mark Born-R, Beaver Dam, has introduced a motion that would take the changes to Family Care, IRIS and Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) out of the 2015-17 Biennial Budget. Now other legislators need to join Representative Born to make this happen! The motion is not final but is under consideration in the legislature. Representative Born and other legislators have concerns about the lack of details in the current budget proposal and are asking for more research and input from stakeholders to understand how these major changes to long-term care programs will affect people with disabilities, the elderly, their families and the state. As the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee makes final decisions about what stays in or comes out of the budget, they need to hear that people with disabilities, the elderly, family members and communities want these changes removed from the budget NOW! The current proposal to turn Family Care into a statewide for-profit insurance plan, to eliminate IRIS and to dismantle ADRCs have caused great concern statewide.

There are still many unanswered questions: Family Care, IRIS and ADRCs: Questions.

Here are the 4 Action Steps YOU Can Take:

1. Call or write your legislator and say: “Will you support the budget motion authored by Representative Mark Born to take the significant changes to our state’s long-term care system out of the budget? I am very concerned about the changes to Family Care, IRIS and ADRCs for these reasons (tell your story). I think these changes need to come out of the budget now so that stakeholders can provide input and so the state can better understand all the impacts. Bottom line: we need many more details and answers to our questions.”

2. Ask your legislator to confirm with you that they will publicly support the Born Motion and will contact the co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee to ask them to pull the changes to Family Care, IRIS and Aging and Disability Resource Centers out of the budget.

3. Share the Born Motion with your legislator and people in your community. Ask people you know to contact their legislators as well. The motion is linked here: Born Motion.

4. Share with your legislators this list of questions that still need to be answered: Family Care, IRIS and ADRCs: Questions. Ask your legislator if they will help you get answers to your questions.

Don’t Know Who Your Legislator is? • Go here and type your address in the box: Find My Legislators. • Or call this toll-free number: 1-800-362-9472.

Watch the Long Term Care Informational Series

DRW was the host and facilitator along with our partners – AARP, the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities and People First Wisconsin – of two informational briefings in the Capitol recently. Our goal was to provide basic information to legislators on Wisconsin’s long-term care system.

Here are links to the briefings:

IRIS and ADRCs

Family Care & Family Care Partnership

Here are materials provided to attendees of the briefings:

IRIS Basics LTC Budget Briefing

Family Care and Family Care Partnership LTC Budget Briefing.

Conversaciones Sobre Su Hijo – Una Guia

Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidades de Wisconsin, se complace en ofrecer un nuevo recurso para los padres de niños con discapacidades y los que los apoyan. Desarrollo de conversaciones sobre su hijo -Themes para toda la vida fue apoyada por el Departamento de Servicios de Salud, División de cuidado a Largo Plazo Wisconsin.

Los puntos de vista en este documento son las del autor y no representan necesariamente la posición o las políticas del Departamento de Servicios de Salud oficial. Conversaciones sobre su hijo no tiene un derecho de autor. Se permite y alienta la reproducción y la distribución de cualquier parte de este recurso. Cuando se hacen copias o referenciados favor crédito Disability Rights Wisconsin. Haga clic en el siguiente enlace para leer y descargar la guía: Conversaciones Sobre Su Hijo.

Children’s Mental Health Matters Poster Contest – vote for your favorites!

The Wisconsin Children’s Mental Health Matters Coalition received about 450 posters from all over the state for the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day youth poster contest, with the theme “My Feelings Matter.” The committee picked finalists, which are posted at the website below for voting. The top three in each age group receive a prize. Please share this link so we can get lots of votes. And of course vote yourself for your favorites! The website also has good information about children’s mental health.

Click here to see the finalists and cast your vote!

People with Disabilities, Seniors and Families Share Concerns about State Budget Changes to Long Term Care

The Wisconsin Long-Term Care Coalition will be hosting a media event at 9:30 AM at Friday’s Joint Finance Committee budget hearing in Milwaukee. People with disabilities, seniors, and families will share concerns about the sweeping changes to Wisconsin’s highly regarded long term care system proposed in the state budget. Please read this release for more information.

Guide for Employment of People with Disabilities

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has published a new guide entitled: “Recruiting, Retaining & Promoting People with Disabilities: A Guide for Employers”. This resource guide is a product of a federal cross-agency effort working to increase equal employment opportunities and financial independence for individuals with disabilities. Access the Guide here.