What's New

Assembly Moves Forward Important Bills for People with Disabilities

Three important bills for people with disabilities moved one step closer to becoming law last night when the Assembly voted to pass all three: AB 625 – Employment First, AB 655 – Supported Decision-Making Agreements, and AB 819 – Partners with Business! Next up: a vote by the full State Senate!

Support for Juvenile Justice Reform

DRW testified today at a joint hearing of the Assembly Committee on Corrections and the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety to support a bill to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lakes facilities and move towards smaller, regional, community-based facilities.  The bill would also create a Juvenile Corrections Study Committee, which would bring experts together to study and advise on best practices for youth in the juvenile justice system.  You can read our full testimony here.

February 20th is the Spring Primary Election

Voting is so important, don’t forget to vote on February 20th! DRW has a voter hotline if you have any challenges in voting: 1-844-DIS-VOTE (1-844-347-8683).  Click here for more information.

Registration for Disability Advocacy Day is now OPEN!

Make certain your voice is heard! Disability Advocacy Day is designed to connect you with your legislators so you can talk about issues that matter to you. You are the expert in sharing how legislative policies affect people with disabilities in your everyday life.

When: Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Where: Monona Terrace Convention Center, 1 John Nolen Dr., Madison, WI

Deadline to Register: March 9, 2018

Click here for the full agenda.

To register online: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/disability-advocacy-day-2018-survival-coalition-registration-30856861704

You can also download the registration form here.

Sponsored by the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations

Strengthen Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries

A new bill has been introduced in Congress that would protect people with disabilities from financial exploitation, abuse and neglect. But in order for this to happen, we need your help to get the law passed!

CLICK HERE to tell your representative to support HR4547.


Disability Rights Wisconsin Responds to State of the State Address

January 25, 2018

Madison, WI- Governor Walker’s State of the State address highlighted his strong support for several areas affecting the lives of people with disabilities including ending waiting lists for children with disabilities, expanding the Family Care and IRIS programs state-wide, and advancing employment opportunities.

“Wisconsin has made great strides in increasing access to home and community-based supports for adults and children with disabilities,” said Daniel Idzikowski, Executive Director. DRW asks policy makers to prioritize the needs of children with disabilities and their families who desperately need supportive services.  Redesigning this system so no children are placed on waiting lists, coupled with an end to the 10-year moratorium on increased special education funding will provide a positive path forward for all of our children and our economy.

DRW supports the intent of the Governor’s initiative to redesign the juvenile justice system by closing Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake, which has failed some of our most traumatized children.  “While this is a promising direction, it is imperative that the state provide a sufficient investment to ensure youth have the services and supports they need for rehabilitation, including a full continuum of mental health and educational supports, including special education services,” said Managing Attorney Kit Kerschensteiner.   Funding for new facilities will not be meaningful unless it is accompanied by a new model of juvenile justice. More robust oversight will be essential to ensure an environment where youth are safe from abuse.

Disability Rights Wisconsin strongly supports full coverage for people with pre-existing conditions; however, asks that policy makers proceed carefully to ensure that people with preexisting conditions are not discriminated against-either in access, premium setting, or cost sharing. Penalizing people who have a coverage gap by allowing health plans to charge higher rates is not an acceptable policy, particularly for people with disabilities who have struggled with maintaining coverage.

As policy makers consider welfare reform proposals, we ask them to proceed with caution. Research indicates that disproportionately many people hurt by work requirements in these programs are people with disabilities, those with chronic health conditions and caregivers.

“Disability Rights Wisconsin was pleased to see so many people with disabilities and their families recognized by Governor Walker. We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to pursue policies and initiatives that will continue to move Wisconsin forward to a state where all people with disabilities can enjoy the full extent of their rights and the highest quality of life,” commented Idzikowski.

Disability Rights Wisconsin is the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy system for the State of Wisconsin.

Please click here for a pdf of this release.

Take a Minute for Medicare

Welcome to 2018!!

This year, Disability Rights Wisconsin will be updating you on hot Medicare topics monthly. Everyone on Medicare, whether disabled or over the age of 65, needs to know about their Medicare benefit. The topics will be posted every month to the DRW website and Facebook page.

Please click here for the latest updates on Medicare benefit costs.

For general Medicare questions, call DRW at 1-800-928-8778. For Medicare Part D questions, call the Disability Drug Benefit Helpline at 1-800-926-4862. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), or visit www.medicare.gov to find out if Medicare covers your test, service, or item.


DRW Board Listening Session

The next Disability Rights Wisconsin Board Listening Session will be held on Friday, March 2nd, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  There will be a short informational session about DRW’s mission and work from 4 – 4:30, followed by the Listening Session from 4:30 – 6:30.
Please see the flyer for location and additional information!

Support for Employment First and Supported Decision-Making Bills

Disability Rights Wisconsin was proud to testify in favor of the Employment First and Supported Decision-Making bills at the State Capitol. We joined our partners from The Arc Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities, along with people from across the state, in supporting these very important and ground-breaking bills in Wisconsin.  We hope these bills will move quickly through the legislative process and become law!

See our testimony on Supported Decision-Making bill here and our testimony on Employment First bill here.

Trauma Informed Victim Advocacy

Built upon fourteen years of experience working with survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault, Disability Rights Wisconsin launched a Victim Advocacy Program in 2016 to ensure people with disabilities have equal access to victim response and support programs as well as the civil and criminal justice systems.

This week National Public Radio is featuring a series on the prevalence of sexual assault against people with disabilities. This series emphasizes the serious and pervasive nature of this heinous abuse of people with disabilities. We encourage you to listen to this report.

If you are a person with a disability who has been a victim of a crime, including sexual assault, or know of a person with a disability who is a victim, please contact DRW’s victim advocacy team for free, confidential, and trauma-informed advocacy to support you to obtain justice and recover from trauma you have experienced.
800-928-8778 or email (subject: confidential).