Need help finding a personal care attendant? Looking for advice or support from someone with the same disability as you? Want to find an accessible form of recreation? All this and much more is available at your local independent living center.
Independent living can be considered a movement, a philosophy, or specific programs. In the context of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living (ACL), independent living programs are supported through funding authorized by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (the Act). Title VII, chapter 1 of the Act states the current purpose of the program is to “promote a philosophy of independent living including a philosophy of consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and individual and system advocacy, in order to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities, and the integration and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American society.”
Key provisions of the Act include responsibilities of the designated state entity (DSE), provisions for the statewide independent living councils (SILCs), requirements for the state plan for independent living (SPIL), and center for independent living standards and assurances.
To receive funding, states must jointly develop and submit a SPIL, which is a three-year plan for providing independent living services in the state. The DSE is the agency that, on behalf of the state, receives, accounts for, and disburses funds received under Subpart B of the Act. The Bureau of Aging and Disability Resources is the DSE and administers these contracts. For questions, please contact Lisa Sobczyk at 608-266-9354.
Independent Living Centers
Independent living centers (ILCs) are consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential private non-profit agencies that are designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities, and provide an array of independent living services. At a minimum, ILCs funded through a contract with the DSE are required to provide the following independent living core services:
- Information and referral;
- IL skills training;
- Peer support;
- Individual and systems advocacy; and
- Services that facilitate transition from nursing homes and other institutions to the community, provide assistance to those at risk of entering institutions, and facilitate transition of youth to postsecondary life.
Centers may also provide other services necessary to improve the ability of individuals with significant disabilities to function independently in the family or community and/or to continue in employment.
Wisconsin independent living services are provided statewide. Find your local ILC.
The Wisconsin Client Assistance Program investigates and resolves complaints about services received or requested from independent living centers. The program can be reached at 800-362-1290 (voice and TTY).
State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL)
States wishing to receive funding for independent living programs are required to submit a three-year SPIL to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Community Living (ACL). In Wisconsin, the Independent Living Council of Wisconsin (ILCW) and directors of the eight ILCs work together to develop the SPIL. ILCW is an independent entity responsible for monitoring, reviewing, and evaluating the implementation of the SPIL.