Advocacy is a core function of the ADRC of Brown County's mission, mandated by the Federal and State authority. ADRC is charged with both advocating on behalf of older adults, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers, as well as empowering them to advocate for themselves. This webpage will help you make informed decisions by providing information from a variety of aging and disability networks, both statewide and national.
Pending Federal Legislation Weakens Americans with Disabilities Act
H.R. 620 ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 passed the House in February 2018. The bill is in the Senate and a vote is pending. This bill will weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which was put in place to remove barriers for people with disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by President Bush in July 1990. It was a bipartisan bill, carefully crafted to balance the concerns of business while ensuring access to people with disabilities.
Areas of concern:
Get a personal perspective why we must protect the rights of inidividuals with disabilities.
- Removes incentives for businesses to proactively comply with the law - a law that has been in place for nearly 28 years.
- Rewards non-compliance by allowing businesses generous additional timelines. Would allow businesses to take years to become compliant as long as they were making "some" progress.
- Pretends that money damages persons request from businesses are part of the ADA. Actually, this part (Title III) of the ADA doesn't even allow money damages, so changing the federal ADA will not affect any state law money damamge provisions.
Read this opinion article It Seems to Me: ADA key for many, written by Katherine Schneider, an UW-Eau Claire Senior Psychologist Emerita who is blind. Article published in the Eau Claire Telegram on March 2, 2018
Alzheimer's and Caregiver Bills Passed by the Assembly
Moved to Senate with Ammendments - AB-630 Alert Read Below
In an effort to keep you informed the ADRC is posting links to these bills of interest to persons with dementia and their caregivers. Take the opportunity to review them and let your legislative representative know how they will impact older adults and caregivers.
AB-630 Dementia Specialist (Skowronski, Ken) Dementia specialist certification. This bill creates a dementia specialist certification.
Due to 2 Amendments added by the Assembly Aging advocacy groups can no longer support this legislation.
- Amendment 1: directly relates to the elimination of any consumer assurance that persons using the title Dementia Specialist or Certified Dementia Specialist has completed a standardized instructional program. New Language: An instructional program administrator shall develop a program that allows an individual who has relevant education, training, instruction, or other experience but who has not completed the instructional program described under par. (a) to be certified as a dementia specialist if the direct caregiver or his or her employer attests to the individual's competency in dementia care. For example with no specific education or knowledge of dementia could attest to an individual's competency. If someone liked the individual who cared for their loved one with dementia they could attest they are competent to care for anyone with dementia even if their dementia is different.
AB-628 / SB 517 Silver Alert Referral (Skowronski, Ken – Assembly & Stroebel, Duey - Senate) Referrals for subjects of alerts for missing adults and operator's license review. This bill requires a law enforcement agency that has issued an alert for a missing adult at risk, commonly known as a “Silver Alert,” to refer the person making the report and any guardian of the missing person to a local ADRC. If the subject of such an alert was driving a vehicle when he or she was reported missing, this bill also requires the law enforcement agency to notify the DOT. The DOT must review the driver’s license of the person to determine if restrictions should be imposed on the person’s license for the safety of the person and the public.
- Amendment 2: Reduces the required training hours for nurses aides (CNAs) from 120 hours including 32 clinical hours to 75 hours including 16 in supervised practical training.
AB-631 / SB 528 Caregiver Tax Credit (Skowronski, Ken – Assembly & Testin, Patrick - Senate) Creating a nonrefundable individual income tax credit for certain expenses incurred by a family caregiver to assist a qualified family member. Subject to a number of limitations, a claimant may claim 50 percent of the costs of qualified expenses the claimant paid for in the year to which the claim relates.
Source: Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources (GWAAR).
Proposed Bills Make it Hard for People with Disabilities to Get Assistance They Need to Remain Independent.
Governor Walker and members of the WI Legislature have introduced ten bills that will change requirements for people using FoodShare, public housing, Medicaid, and other benefits. The Survival Coalition is asking persons to call their State Senator to share how people with disabilities will be affected by these bills.
Things to talk about:
Go to this "Public Benefit Reform" bills link to read the bills.
- These bills are moving fast. We should slow down the process to included input from people with disabilities.
- The bills use different language and definitions to exempt some people with disabilities but not others. People with disabilities may use several different programs and having different definitions will be confusing for people with disabilities and people who work in these programs.
- These bills also should not apply to people who are caregivers for people with disabilities
- These bills will cost millions to run. This money could be used for other programs to help people get to work.
Mark Your Calendars for these Upcoming Advocacy Days at the Wisconsin State Capitol
Alzheimer's Association Wisconsin Advocacy Day
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Register online at: http://biy.ly/2j6F3ne
Deadline to register is Friday, February 16
Disability Advocacy Day
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Sponsored by the Survival Coalition of Disability groups. Here is a link to the Disability Advocacy Day Agenda
Register on-line at this Disability Advocacy Day registration link
Register by paper: download and print this Disablity Advocacy Day registration form.
Volunteers are welcome day of the event.
Go to www.survivalcoalitionwi.org for more information.
Aging Advocacy Day
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Many Wisconsin Aging Organizations sponsor this important opportunity to talk to state legislatures about issues important to Wisconsin older adults. Go to this Wisconsin Aging Advocacy Network link for picures and information from past events. More information to come about the 2018 event in the coming months.
Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act Signed into Law
The RAISE Family Caregivers Act a bi-partisan effort between Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Senator Susan Collins of Maine will make a difference in the lives of caregivers and their families.
Wisconsin Senate Bill SB 639 Raises Concerns
with tenants, advocates, municipalities, and utilities
It would have profound inpacts on tenant's rights, their ability to get a hearing, have their day in court, and the eviction proceedings. In addition it limits municipalities ability to conduct rental property inspections. The following bullet points are concerns from these advocacy groups.
- Limits municipalities' abilities to enact rent abatement laws to protect tenants from landlords who do not address health and safety issues in their properties
- Reduces the availability of Emergency Assistance to low-income families facing homelessness by limiting access to the Energy Assistance-connected stay of eviction.
- Will require records for dismissed evictions to remain on CCAP for 10 years, causing many qualified teants to be denied future housing. This 10-year provision is in conflict with the recommendations of the CCAP Oversight Committee (which includes Speaker Vos) which recommended in November 2017 that dismissed evictions only be viewable on CCAP for two years or less. (CCAP is the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access on-line Program)
- Limits access to hearings in eviction cases by requiring tenants to prove to a court commissioner that they have a "valid" legal claim. Unrepresented tenants will have an even harder time, as they may not know the correct legal terms required to get a hearing.
- Changes how volunteer lawyers can help clients on a pro-bono basis.
- Allows landlords to pick and choose how they want to enforce lease terms.
- Restricts landlord registration programs, making it even harder for tenants and advocates to know who is the actual owner of a property or who is the correct contact for problematic properties.
- Will allow landlords to submit misleading or inaccurate notices as part of eviction court filings in terms of the amount of rent actually owed, and the tenant will not be able to challenge that invalid notice unless the tenant has paid all due rent.
Three advocacy organizations that support seniors submitted a press release urging people to "Tell Congress to Say NO to: Trump budget cuts that risk the independence, economic security, and safety of seniors."
Click this Advocating for Seniors: Tell Congress to Say No link to read the full press release.
President Trump's budget eliminates many key federal programs that provide funding to state and local efforts to support older adults.
- Proposes elimination of the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) SHIP funds in Wisconsin support the Medigap Hotline, face-to-face benefits counseling at local aging units and ADRC, support volunteers who contributed over 5,300 hours to SHIP agencies to name just a few.
- Elimination of Community Services Block Grant, Social Services Block Grant, Community Development Block Grant - often used to supplement and support the work of the Aging network
- Elimination of the Senior Corps programs (RSVP, Foster Grandparents, and Senior Companion) Wisconsin has 7,700 Senior Corps volunteers. Of these Foster Grandparents tutored 4,500 young people, RSVP volunteers provided service to 720 local organizations, and Senior Companions helped 460 homebound seniors.
- Proposes zeroing out funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program LIHEAP helps low-income households and families, including older adults, with heating and energy bills.
Click here for more responses by AARP and NCOA organizations regarding the new version of the American Health Care Act.
- Cuts Medicaid by $610 Billion over 10 years which will effect the ability for low income seniors and disabled adults to get healthcare and the care they need to remain in the community and out of expensive institutional care.
Facts about How the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Impacts Medicare Beneficiaries
& What Beneficiaries Could Lose if it's Repealed
Congress is currently looking at repealing The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as "Obamacare". The ADRC has compiled a fact sheet (click the link here or in the title above to read it) to help you understand what this could mean to persons on Medicare (beneficiaries). Read below for information that other aging network organizations have put together that would also be helpful to you.
MISSION: The Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs and public policy initiatives.
The Medicare Rights Center has issues a series of "Issue Briefs" that discuss the debates regarding health care and Medicare and how the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) interacts with and supports the Medicare program.
Medicare Rights Blog: Kaiser Foundation Issue Brief Provides Clarity About Medicare's Financial Outlook. Lots of information here about Medicare's financial outlook and a side by side comparison of Affordable Care Act repeal plans and how they may impact Medicare.
This Medicare Rights Center Issue Briefs link will take you to their website to read these briefs and learn more. They update them regularly.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a nonprofit organization that for more than 65 years has made improving the lives of older adults their passion and mission.
Advocacy is a big part of their mission. With a new Administration and Congress expressing interest in changing policies important to seniors the organization has developed a website to help older Americans, their families, and professionals stay on top of issues involving the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid, Medicare, and the Older Americans Act (OAA).
It is a great source to help you stay informed so that you can express your wants and needs to your elected representative. Go to this link to learn more: https://www.ncoa.org/news/straight-talk-for-seniors/.
Special AARP Report Why Medicare Matters
is in response to the legislatures proposals to make changes to Medicare and the many members writing to AARP worried about what might happen to Medicare the health care program they depend on.
Robert Love, AARP Bulletin editor in chief states, "At AARP, we continue to believe passionately in this program, which has allowed our citizens to age with dignity. In this special report, we detail what the state of Medicare is today and provide what you need to know about the upcoming debate in Washington over the nation's most important health care program." It has valuable information to help you talk to your representative about how important Medicare is to you.
Other Advocacy Groups and Information
Disability & Health
Advocacy page from AARP website. Up to date news and articles of interest to seniors. Links to federal and individual state issues and on-line tools for you to use to let your legislator know how you feel.
- Administration on Aging
Federal agency whose mission is to develop a comprehensive, coordinated and cost-effective system of home and community-based services that helps elderly individuals maintain their health and independence in their homes and communities. News and information about elder rights, health and prevention, home and community-based long-term care and much more.
- Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups CWAG
The Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups CWAG is a non-profit, nonpartisan state-wide membership organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for people of all ages through: intergenerational understanding and leadership development, public education, legal and legislative advocacy and public policy development.
- N4a Advocacy in Action Center
Advocates for services and resources for older adults and persons with disabilities. Information on issues, legislation, position papers and ideas. Topics include Older American's Act Reauthorization, enhancing the health and well being of older Americans, and livable communities.
- Disability Advocates Wisconsin Network DAWN
Grassroots organization that focuses on the most important issues affecting all people with disabilities, their families, friends, and service providers. Up-to-date information on issues, practical tools to put into action, and with training resources, including video and on-line courses.
- Disability Rights Wisconsin DRW
A private non-profit organization that helps disabled persons of all ages. DRW helps people across Wisconsin gain access to services and opportunities through its advocacy and legal expertise.
Information network of disability-related programs, services, laws and benefits. Connections resources from federal, state and local government agencies, educational institutions and non-profit organizations. New resources are added daily across 10 main subject areas – benefits, civil rights, community life, education, emergency preparedness, employment, health, housing, technology and transportation.
- Family Voices of Wisconsin
Family Voices of Wisconsin is a state-wide network of families who have children and youth with special health care needs and/or disabilities and those who work on their behalf. Provides information, training and leadership opportunities. Works to inform and educate health care providers and local, state and national policy makers and administrators about issues.
- Information & Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities
Listing: Organizations that assist persons with disabilities and their families in finding services, assistive technology, and support groups in addition to providing education and advocacy on disability related issues and so much more.
- Kaiser Family Foundation Medicare & Medicaid Advocacy
Non-profit foundation provides policy analysis and research on health issues. News and information about health policy and develops and runs public information campaigns.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI
National organization with local chapters, there is one in Brown County, WI. Provides education, information, advocacy and more. Keep up to date with legislative issues, suscribe to the NAMI Advocacy magazine.
- Office of Disability Employment Policy Federal
The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides national leadership on disability employment. Information for employers, employees and job seekers. Advocates for employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
- Waisman Center
The Waisman Center provides clinical care through 12 specialty clinics across the state through a collaborative partnership with the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinic systems. The center provides full, detailed early assessments and evaluations of children with developmental disabilities. In addition, the Waisman Center conducts research, has training opportunities for students and the surrounding communities, services for individuals and families of those with developmental disabilities, and outreach into the community.
- WI Family Assistance Center for Education Training and Support WIFACETS
- Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities
Advocates on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities, foster welcoming and inclusive communities and improve the disability services system.
- Wisconsin Council on Physical Disabilities
A state council created to make recommendations to state agencies on legislation, promote public awareness of and barriers to persons with disabilities and encourage development of programs and policies that prevent physical disabilities. The website provides links to citizen advocacy, civil rights and disability specific resources and services providers.
Long Term Care
- Wisconsin Eye
State-of-the-art robotic cameras in the Capitol produce gavel-to-gavel, unedited coverage of state proceedings, both live and archived video.
- League of Women Voters WI
A nonpartisan organization working to encourage active and informed participation in government. Information on and position papers on federal, state and local issues.
- United States House of Representatives
Official site of the US House of Representatives. Historical and visitor information. Current session schedule, floor proceedings, votes, bills and reports.
- United States Senate
Offical site of the United States Senate. History of the senate and current session information. Vistor information for those planning a visit to Washington DC.
- Glossary of Political Economy Terms
Ever wonder what the difference is between the National Debt and the Deficit? What about an Appropriation and a Bill? This online glossary is easy to use and will help you understand what you read and hear in the media and from politicians and friends.
The online edition of A Glossary of Political Economy Terms by Dr. Paul M. Johnson of Auburn University.
- Long Term Care Ombudsman
The Long Term Care ombudsman responds to complaints and problems of residents or recipients of long term care, such as care in nursing homes, community-based residential facilities, and services of the Community Options Program and managed long-term care programs. They work with all parties involved to investigate and look for solutions to problems.