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Service Fund

The Service Fund provides financial assistance for communication access services in situations not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Situations not covered by either of the above mentioned mandates are those where the organization or entity, whether it be for or non-profit, can provide just cause that provision of a communication access accommodation would cause them an “undue hardship”. In such a situation the Service Fund may be able to cover the expense of providing the communication access.

Examples of situations that the Service Fund may cover but not limited to:

  • emergency or immediate medical or mental health situations;
  • support groups (examples: 12-step, cancer survivors, single parent meetings);
  • job-related situations for individuals who do not receive DVR services;
  • funerals and memorial services;
  • meetings involving housing and shelter matters;
  • services, meetings or other events sponsored by organizations or agencies that do not receive federal funds; and
  • meetings that involve developing new programs, agencies, or organizations to promote awareness of issues relating to deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing persons.


How do I apply for the Service Fund?

Download the Service Fund Application here. (Word, 20 KB)

If you need assistance filling out the form, please contact ODHH.


Where do I send my request?

E-mail or fax your request to:


Bette Mentz-Powell

Fax: (608) 264-9899

For requests in writing, please send to:

Department of Health Services
Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
c/o Service Fund
PO Box 7851, Rm 558
Madison , WI 53707


Service Fund Requirements

Requests must be received by ODHH a minimum of two weeks before the scheduled event except in the case of an emergency. It is not considered an emergency if you forgot to make your request or did not know about the service fund.

Interpreters scheduled for situations receiving assistance through the Service Fund must be either Nationally Certified or a WITA level I1/T1 or I2/T2. Situations lasting 2 hours or more will require a team of 2 interpreters.


How will I know if my request will be covered by the Service Fund?

A decision will be based on the information in your letter and your agency’s responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other applicable laws. If more information is needed to make a decision, then the office will contact the requestor. When a decision has been made, a letter will be sent explaining the Office’s decision and how you should proceed.

The Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing encourages organizations to budget for reasonable accommodation requests. Receiving Service Fund in one instance does not guarantee receiving it in a similar instance in the future.


What if it is an emergency?

Requests for Service Fund in situations of emergencies or funerals/memorial services can be made to a Regional Coordinator in your area.


Additional Resources

  • Chapter DHS 77: Service Fund for People Who Are Deaf, Deaf-Blind or Hard of Hearing (exit DHS).
  • Interpreter Referral Agencies in Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Freelance Interpreter List.

  • Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) Provider Listing.

** Undue Hardship: The ADA defines an undue hardship as an action or accommodation that is excessively costly, extensive, substantial or disruptive, or would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of a business, organization or entity.

All external hyperlinks are provided for your information and for the benefit of the general public. The Department of Health Services does not testify to, sponsor, or endorse the accuracy of the information provided on externally linked pages.


Last Updated:  October 16, 2014