Archive for May, 2015

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.