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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
- 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
- meetings that involve developing new programs, agencies, or organizations
to promote awareness of issues relating to deaf, deaf-blind or hard of
How do I apply for the Service Fund?
To request financial assistance through the Service Fund,
please submit a request in writing on your agency letterhead. The following
information should be included with your request:
Your agency/organization name, any affiliation with a
parent organization, contact information, and the service you provide
Reason you are requesting financial assistance and the
financial structure of your organization (i.e. justification of an undue
Brief description of service you are providing for the
deaf or hard of hearing consumer(s)
Date, time, location, and any other information related
to the service being provided
What service you are requesting (2 interpreters for 8
hours etc.) and a cost estimate for the services.
Where do I send my request?
E-mail or fax your request to:
Fax: (608) 264-9899
For requests in writing, please send to:
Department of Health Services
7851, Rm 558
Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
c/o Service Fund
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
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, a contact
will be made. 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
Coordinator in your area.
Chapter DHS 77: Service Fund for People Who Are Deaf, Deaf-Blind or Hard of
Hearing (exit DHS)
A Guide for Non-Profit Organizations: Americans with Disabilities Act
(PDF, 25 KB)
Interpreter Referral Agencies
Wisconsin Freelance Interpreter List
Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) Provider
** 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.
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March 01, 2013