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Disability Rights Wisconsin Public Policy Principles

Disability Rights Wisconsin uses both individual advocacy and system change tools to accomplish its goals of ensuring the rights of citizens with disabilities. DRW’s Public Policy Principles provide a framework for the agency’s work and public policy agenda. These principles are constructed to support DRW’s federal charge to educate policymakers and to engage in advocacy, capacity building, and systemic change activities (including policy reform) on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families, including individuals who are traditionally unserved or underserved. Click here to read the rest of Disability Rights Wisconsin Public Policy Principles »

DRW Congratulates New DHS Secretary Seemeyer

Disability Rights Wisconsin congratulates Linda Seemeyer upon her appointment by Governor Walker to lead the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. We look forward to working with Secretary Seemeyer as we continue to work together with the Department to advance the quality of life and freedom of opportunity for people with disabilities throughout Wisconsin.

Read our full press release here: SecSeemeyerAppointment

DRW Welcomes Statewide Expansion of FamilyCare & IRIS

Disability Rights Wisconsin welcomed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announcement confirming the expansion of Family Care and IRIS statewide.

The expansion is good news for the hundreds of Wisconsinites with disabilities who are languishing on waiting lists for long term care services in the remaining counties not currently covered by Family Care and IRIS. This will ensure equitable access to community based supports for adults with intellectual or physical disabilities in all 72 counties, by the first quarter of 2018.

DRW thanks the Department and Governor Walker for moving forward with statewide expansion and looks forward to serving as a resource for people with disabilities and their families as the expansion of Family Care and IRIS advances in the remaining seven counties.

Find a copy of DRW’s July 28th press release here,DRW Family Care Expands statewide 07282016.

People with Disabilities Need Access to Justice

Daniel Idzikowski, the Executive Director of Disability Rights Wisconsin, testified before the Wisconsin Legislative Council Study Committee on Access to Civil Legal Services about the disability rights movement and the need for legal representation to end discrimination, promote inclusion, and gain access to the courts for the basic legal needs of people with disabilities. To read his testimony, click here.

DRW supports immediate implementation of FDA ban on Electronic Stimulation Devices

Today, Disability Rights Wisconsin submitted comments to support the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed ban on the use of electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) to treat self-injurious or aggressive behavior. DRW has long opposed the use of aversive conditioning devices utilizing electric shock and we call for an immediate ban of all such devices. Read our full comments in support of the ban here: DRW Comments FDA-2016-N-1111.

Federal Court Rules Against Restrictive Voter ID Law in Suit Brought by the ACLU

On Tuesday, July 19, in the ACLU’s challenge to Wisconsin’s voter ID law, the federal district court granted a motion for a preliminary injunction and ordered the State to allow voters without ID to cast a regular ballot (not provisional) if they sign an affidavit attesting that they cannot obtain ID with reasonable effort. The injunction will be in effect for the November elections, and while the case is pending. The court found that the state’s interests could not justify disenfranchising voters who cannot obtain ID with reasonable effort.

To read the ACLU’s press release, click here.

Take a Minute for Medicare

This month we will start a new topic, Extra Help with Medicare Part D costs. There will be a series of three articles on Extra Help and how to find out if you are eligible.

What is Extra Help?
Many Medicare beneficiaries have difficulty in paying for their prescriptions. Making ends meet does not mean that you should go without your medications. When Medicare Part D was signed into law in 2003, a part of the law was passed to help those with limited income get “extra help” with the Medicare prescription drug costs. Medicare has allowed a number of different ways for eligible Medicare beneficiaries get help with their prescription costs.   Click here to read the rest of Take a Minute for Medicare »

Job Posting – IT Support Specialist – DRW Madison Office

DRW is hiring an IT Support Specialist. Position located in Madison. Technical support to staff in-house and remotely, maintain IT inventory and assist in the development of agency website and social media.  For detailed job announcement and application requirements please click here. Salary: $27,000 – $37,000 DOE.  Excellent fringe benefits.  Resume and cover letter due July 24, 2016. Members of racial/ethnic minority groups and persons with disabilities strongly encouraged to apply.  EEO/AA Employer.

Save Our SHIP – Senate Appropriations Committee May Cut All Funding for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee introduced a budget for federal fiscal year (FY) 2017 cutting all funding ($52.1 million) for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

The State of Wisconsin currently receives about $1 million annually through the federal SHIP grant. This funding is used to support the:

• Toll-free statewide Medigap Helpline and Medigap Part D and Prescription Drug Helpline operated by the Board on Aging and Long Term Care (BOALTC);

• Toll-free statewide Medicare Part D Helpline operated by Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) for people with disabilities and their families or guardians;

• Elder Healthcare Advocate (an attorney specializing in eligibility and transitions for BadgerCare Plus, the Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicare) at the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources (GWAAR); and

• Elder Benefit Specialist services in 72 counties and 11 tribes.

In 2015, staff working in these programs and services responded to over 95,000 contacts with Medicare beneficiaries and conducted over 2,600 public outreach events during that same period.  Click here to read the rest of Save Our SHIP – Senate Appropriations Committee May Cut All Funding for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) »

Making Hard Time Harder: Report Outlines Need for Accommodations for Prisoners with Disabilities

More than 600,000 inmates with disabilities in prisons across the country spend more time in prison, under harsher conditions, than inmates without disabilities, according to research. On June 22, Amplifying Voices of Prisoners with Disabilities (AVID), a project of Disability Rights Washington, released Making Hard Time Harder: Programmatic Accommodations for Inmates with Disabilities Under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The report outlines a nationwide lack of accommodations for inmates with disabilities.

“People are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment,” stated Mark Stroh, Executive Director of Disability Rights Washington. “In drafting this report, we have found that inmates with disabilities are often neglected and excluded from programs, rehabilitation, and basic medical care, subjecting them to additional forms of punishment solely due to their disability.”
Click here to read the rest of Making Hard Time Harder: Report Outlines Need for Accommodations for Prisoners with Disabilities »