Archive for 2016

Year in Review: A Safe Educational Environment

A good education is key to every child’s future—and children with disabilities are no different. Disability Rights Wisconsin has worked hard in 2016 to ensure that children with disabilities have a safe educational environment in which to learn and grow.

In February of this year, we co-published a report based on open records requests to special education directors statewide that shows we still have miles to go on the issue of seclusion and restraint practices used in public schools. Sadly, even with the 2012 passage of Wisconsin Act 125, which established regulations on public schools’ use of seclusion and restraint, our 2016 report details how families continue to report instances in which children are being secluded and restrained repeatedly, sometimes daily—and that 80% of these instances involve students with disabilities.

In concert with partner agencies, Disability Rights Wisconsin held a press conference at the state Capitol to highlight the pervasive use of seclusion and restraint on children with disabilities in our schools. We advocated and intervened on behalf of individual children to develop Individualized Education Plans and Positive Behavior Supports with their schools. And we’ve made specific recommendations on updating the state’s seclusion and restraint law in several areas, including statewide reporting, enhancing parent reporting requirements, and including law enforcement officers as “covered individuals” under the law.

We will continue requesting and monitoring seclusion and restraint data in 2017 and beyond, and holding Wisconsin schools accountable to the letter of the law. But we can’t do it alone.

Join us in our work to give all our children a safe educational environment. With your year-end gift to our “Off to a Good Start” campaign, you will become a member of our Protection and Advocacy Team, and help us continue our legislative and advocacy work in 2017.


Job Posting – Advocate/Ombudsman

Disability Rights Wisconsin is seeking an Advocate/Ombudsman for the Family Care and IRIS Ombudsman Program (FCIOP) for adults with disabilities. This position provides assistance and advocacy to adult enrollees in Wisconsin’s publicly funded long term care programs for a statewide disability rights agency.

This position is based in Milwaukee and is full-time with benefits. For a detailed position description click here. EEO/AA employer committed to a diverse workforce. Submit resume and cover letter to Deadline: Noon, January 9th, 2017 to be considered for 1st round of interviews.

Off to a Good Start

Rocket drawn by child with DRW letters on white base and a blue top with red flames and smoke on bottom for blast off.We may not know what the future holds for our children. We do know that Disability Rights Wisconsin will be an outspoken champion, protecting their rights and their futures.

Disability Rights Wisconsin’s 2016 Annual Campaign “Off to a Good Start” highlights our work on behalf of children with disabilities.

Advocates at DRW ensure that our children grow in a safe and nurturing environment, are engaged in their education, have access to the world around them and the supports they need to achieve their potential.


Please give a gift to Disability Rights Wisconsin today to celebrate our children and protect their futures.

Click here to read the rest of Off to a Good Start »

Job Posting – Public Policy Coordinator

Disability Rights Wisconsin seeks a Public Policy Coordinator to participate in developing/implementing overall state and federal public policy strategy:

  • Will track relevant state and federal legislation and budget issues
  • Provide a variety of support to the partner agencies their public policy work
  • Work with other disability organizations on public policy strategies
  • Work directly with legislators and legislative staff
  • Provide training on public policy issues to consumers and families
  • Coordinate state and federal legislative and policy activities of several disability organizations in Wisconsin

This position is based in Madison and is .8 FTE. For a detailed position description click here. EEO/AA employer committed to a diverse workforce. Submit resume and cover letter to  Deadline: December 19, 2016 to be considered for 1st round of interviews.

Now More than Ever – On Giving Tuesday: Fund Our Voice!

People with disabilities need their voices heard in Washington and Madison.

Since the election it has become clear that there are big changes on the horizon for people with disabilities. Access to healthcare, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and Home and Community Based Services are all at stake.

Now, more than ever it is important that people with disabilities have a voice in how, when, and if programs and policies are changed.

At Disability Rights Wisconsin we empower people with disabilities to exercise the full extent of their rights and pursue the greatest possible quality of life.

We work in coalition with people with disabilities, other agencies, and advocates, to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are protected.

We give voice to their concerns with state and national policymakers – and we have incredibly successful.

This year, Disability Rights Wisconsin strengthened the rights of children with disabilities in the child protective services system through legislative advocacy.

In the coming months we will be working hard to maintain the hard won gains and resist changes that will exclude or segregate people with disabilities or weaken programs that support them.

Join our mission! Now more than ever — FUND OUR VOICE.


Disability Rights Wisconsin – Informational Session and Board Listening Session – Wausau – Dec. 2

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 from 4:00 to 6:30 PM

Informational Session: 4:00 – 4:30
Learn about the mission and advocacy work of DRW
Presented by DRW Executive Director Dan Idzikowski

Board Listening Session: 4:30 – 6:30
Help shape our advocacy plans for the future. Come and speak or just listen to what others in your community have to say.

WHERE: North Central Technical College
1000 W. Campus Drive, Wausau 54401
In the Center for Business and Industry – at the north end of the campus—Room #110

BUS: Served by Wausau Metro Ride – Route B
Last stop/pickup at the College bus stop is at 6:15.
All buses run until 6:30.
For rider information call 715-842-9287 or click here.

PARKING: Free parking available by the building—use Lot D

If you need language translation or an accommodation, please contact Mary Sykes at 608-267-0214 or by Nov. 21.

Sign language interpreters will be present.

To submit written comments, email or mail to DRW, 131 W. Wilson St., Suite 700, Madison, WI 53703.

For a flyer with details, click here.

Disability Rights Wisconsin Mourns the Passing of Extraordinary Disability Advocate, Olivia Quigley

Olivia Quigley holding special world olympics medalWisconsin’s Special Olympics World Games gold medalist and outstanding disability advocate, Olivia Quigley, has died at the age of 25. Olivia had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015.

Olivia was adopted at the age of 3 from China by her parents, Dan and Judy- a former Disability Rights Wisconsin board member. Olivia had a diagnosis of autism, lived in her own apartment and was a success story for the Project Search program that supports young people with disabilities in community jobs. She excelled at her job at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and was a role model for countless other young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In 2015 ESPN named Olivia to their Impact25 list of influential women in sports and she received the inaugural Inspiration Award. She was also honored as a Hometown Hero by the Wisconsin State Assembly and received a standing ovation on the floor of the Assembly.

You can read more about Olivia’s extraordinary life and advocacy for people with disabilities here: Remembering Special Olympics World Games gold medalist Olivia Quigley

Disability Rights Wisconsin shares condolences with the Quigley family and honors Olivia’s memory.

US Department of Justice Issues Guidance on ADA Integrated Employment Mandate

The United States Department of Justice this week issued a “Statement on Application of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. to State and Local Governments’ Employment Service Systems for Individuals with Disabilities.”

The Justice Department clarified that the Americans with Disabilities Act’s integration mandate applies in all aspects of a person’s life, including the employment context. “The civil rights of persons with disabilities, including individuals with mental illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or physical disabilities, are violated by unnecessary segregation in a wide variety of settings, including in segregated employment, vocational, and day programs.”

As the Protection and Advocacy system for Wisconsin charged with advancing the civil rights of all people with disabilities, Disability Rights Wisconsin has consistently advocated for state and local governments to ensure that taxpayer funding is being used to advance, and not impede, individuals with disabilities’ right to live, work, and recreate in the most integrated environment possible. Click here to read the rest of US Department of Justice Issues Guidance on ADA Integrated Employment Mandate »

Medicare Training for Professionals – Fall 2016 – Link to Webcast

To watch the webcast of this year’s DHS-sponsored Medicare Training for Professionals, click here.

Take a Minute for Medicare

This month we will conclude the topic on Extra Help with Medicare Part D costs. We will focus on Medicaid eligibility and what it can do to help you with your Medicare and Part D costs. If eligible, you will pay the lowest costs for your Medicare Part D drugs and eliminate the coverage gap.

What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that assists with the medical costs of people with low income, and low resources. Each state establishes its own eligibility guidelines, administers its own program, and determines the covered services. You can have both Medicare and Medicaid. If you are a dual eligible beneficiary –a person enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid– Medicare pays first, and Medicaid pays second. Medicaid may cover services that Medicare does not, like some dental, vision and personal care. It can also help cover Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles, coinsurances, and copayments.

What is a Medicare Savings Program (MSP)?
Also administered by Medicaid are the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) which help pay for some of your Medicare health costs if you have limited income. There are three types of MSPs, and each helps pay your monthly Medicare Part B premium and one also helps pay Medicare costs like deductibles, copayments, and coinsurances. To qualify for a MSP, you must have Medicare Part A and meet the income and asset eligibility guidelines. If you’re unsure of whether you qualify, you should still apply because certain types of income and assets do not count when determining whether you qualify for a MSP.

Types of Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) in Wisconsin:

Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) • Pays your Medicare Part A and Part B premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurances.
• You can have both QMB and Medicaid.
• Coverage is not retroactive. Benefits begin on the first of the month after your eligibility is approved.
• Income eligibility at or below 100 percent of FPL.

Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) • Pays your Medicare Part B premium.
• You can have both SLMB and Medicaid.
• Offers 3-month retroactive coverage prior to application date, as long as you were eligible during those months.
• Income eligibility set at 100 percent to 120 percent of FPL.

Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Plus (SLMB+) • Pays your Medicare Part B premium.
• You cannot have both SLMB + and Medicaid.
• Offers 3-month retroactive coverage prior to application date, as long as you were eligible during those months. However, coverage can only be provided within the current calendar year. For example, if you apply in January, you will not receive retroactive coverage.
• Income eligibility set at 120 percent to 135 percent of FPL.

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 to find out if Medicare covers your test, service, or item.