What is IRIS?

IRIS Include, Respect, I Self-Direct is Wisconsin's Self-Directed Supports Program for older people and adults with disabilities.

In IRIS you determine the combination of supports and services you need, including who will provide the services and when and how they will be provided. Your IRIS supports are available at every step to help you build the life you choose.

Learn more about the IRIS program >

DHS IRIS Transition Plan

Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has released its IRIS Transition Plan to show how they will meet the new Home and Community Based Settings (HCBS) rule that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare has released. This plan shows how DHS will transition the current IRIS program practices to meet new federal expectations for how people live and interact with their communities, and how services and supports will help people meet and exceed these expectations. It is important to remember that in most instances, the new federal expectations are very similar to the current practices in the IRIS program. A one-page handout on the new rule changes can be found here.

Public comment on the IRIS Transition Plan is time limited and will end on October 2nd, 2014. Please visit the DHS Request for Public Comment site to access the IRIS Transition Plan and the HCBS rules. The feedback from people in IRIS, their families, advocates, and others involved with IRIS can directly influence the Transition Plan and what these changes will look like to IRIS services.

You may send your comments directly to:

Email: DHSIRIS@Wisconsin.gov
Mailing Address:                     Division of Long Term Care
                                                IRIS Program Transition Plan
                                                1 West Wilson St, Room 418
                                                PO Box 7851
                                                Madison, WI 53707-7851

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This event celebrates the accomplishments of people with disabilities in the workplace, and focuses on the need for equal employment opportunities for everyone.

The theme of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month is, "Expect. Employ. Empower." The theme shows that people with disabilities have the education, training, experience, and desire to be successful in the workplace.

This event is a result of the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s year-long efforts to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities. It also expands ideas about what is possible when people receive encouragement and support for their goals. The campaign emphasizes that at work, it is what people can do that matters. 

This year’s theme was announced early to help communities plan announcements and activities to recognize the month and celebrate the contributions of America's workers with disabilities. 

Wisconsin Photo ID Cards Required to Vote

Based on a decision by the Federal Appeals Court, a valid Wisconsin Photo Identification Card will be required in order to vote in Wisconsin for the November 2014 general election. There are many places interested voters can find more information about this change in the voting process.

Wisconsin’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can process requests for Wisconsin Identification Cards for free during their regular business hours.  More information is available at the Department of Transportation (DOT) website. Click here to go right to the application form.

Additional Voter Photo ID Law Information can be found at the Government Accountability Board website.

As always, Disability Vote is a great resource to all interested voters in Wisconsin. 

Mission Possible: 2014 Self-Determination Conference

The theme for this year's Self-Determination Conference, “Mission Possible: Discovering the Potential in our Communities”, explores life in our communities. What does it mean to belong? How does one get involved? What can we contribute to our communities?

The Mission

Every good mission has a plan, expert consultants, help from everyday citizens, and a few good tools. The Self-Determination Conference is uniquely designed to bring the experiences of self-advocates together and guide people with the help of professionals, family members, and support staff. Learn from their experiences and imagine the possibilities! The Conference offers creative tools to help individuals with disabilities get the support they need to get the life they want. Self-determination and self-directed supports offer opportunities to look beyond traditional ways of support.

“This Conference changed my life. There are so many things I've learned. But now I think I can do it! You can feel the energy!”  - 2013 Conference Attendee

Discover the untapped potential of your community, create opportunities to participate, and stretch your ideas of a meaningful life.

Who can attend?

Adults and transition-aged youth with disabilities and their family members, service providers, educators, state employees, IRIS staff, MCO staff, ADRC staff, county staff, and support brokers can attend.

Conference Highlights

•Monday (November 10): four pre-conference sessions followed by the “Mission Possible: Making Connections Kick-Off” that brings people together in a creative and fun way to help individuals expand their personal and professional connections.

•Tuesday (November 11) and Wednesday (November 12): powerful keynote presentations from self-advocate Alisha Cloutier, international consultant, Darcy Elks, AIDD Commissioner Aaron Bishop, DHS Deputy Administrator Beth Wroblewski, and a special mystery guest.

•Tuesday Evening: back by popular demand, the fabulous Talent Show and Open Mic, where everyone is invited to share their talents.

More information about the conference - including the keynote speakers, events, and sessions - can be found on the conference website. Registration for the website is available online, as well. People interested in a scholarship can register on the conference site.

If you have questions please contact Fil Clissa at fil.clissa@wisconsin.gov and 608-266-5395.

Heating and Energy Assistance

The summer is a great time to plan for winter heating costs. The Wisconsin Heating and Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) is now processing applications for heating assistance. This is a federally-funded program that can help eligible households pay for heating, electricity, energy crisis situations, and furnace assistance. The amount of assistance depends on household income, heating costs, and household size.

The program usually offers benefits from October 1 to May 15. Because of last year’s propane shortage, applications can be submitted immediately. For people using propane, the program will estimate the amount of heating benefits a person will receive for the winter and lock in a lower summer price with a propane dealer.

25,000 energy assistance participants who use propane will receive letters requesting their applications as soon as possible.

Many factors, such as poor weather and a late corn harvest, caused an unusually high demand for propane last year, increasing prices to over $4.00 per gallon. Currently, the average propane price is $1.69 per gallon. 

Last year, the program assisted 224,731 households with heating assistance. For more information on WHEAP, call 1-866-432-8947 or visit www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov.

IRIS Connections: Community Matters

The latest issue of IRIS Connections is now available. Take a moment to check it out!

  • Learn about the value of community
  • Read about three IRIS Participants who are forming meaningful connection in their community
  • Discover helpful community living resources
  • View upcoming events

Back issues of the IRIS Newsletter are always available under the Newsletter tab. Questions or comments about the newsletter? Email us at .

IRIS Community Data

On August 31, 2014 the following people were included in IRIS:

Illustration of a group of people
10,980 IRIS Participants

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