Independent Living Centers in Wisconsin

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

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:

  • Psychological counseling;
  • Assistance in securing housing or shelter;
  • Personal assistance services;
  • Transportation referral and assistance;
  • Physical therapy;
  • Mobility training;
  • Rehabilitation technology;
  • Recreation; and
  • Any 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.

Wisconsin's State Plan for Independent Living

Draft State Plan for Independent Living 2021-2023 - Revised 10-29-20 (PDF)

The SPIL encompasses the activities planned by the state to achieve its specified independent living objectives and reflects the state's commitment to comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements during the three year period covered by the plan.​

Wisconsin's SILC is currently accepting comments and feedback on the Wisconsin SPIL 2021-2023 from April 30, 2020, through May 31, 2020. To provide comments or feedback, please see the Public Hearing section of this webpage.

Public Hearing on Revisions to the SPIL 2021-2023

ILCW submitted the a draft of the Wisconsin State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL), 2021-2023, in September 2020 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living (ACL).

The Council received an email ACL in September, which stated that the SPIL needed to be revised in order to be approved. Wisconsin’s ACL program officer identified several changes that need to be made to the SPIL for it to be approved. These changes are as follows:

  • Section 1.4 Need to use the most updated version of the SPIL instrument.

  • Section 1.5 The network has $339,279 listed in Part B funds instead of $338,717.  Explain in the narrative section or make the necessary correction.

  • Section 1.5 What “other SPIL activities” is Wisconsin Coalition of Independent Living Centers going to perform on an annual basis for $65,000? Provide a short summary in the narrative section.

  • Section 3.1 Does not include CARES Act as a source of funding.

  • Section 3.1 Does not identify the Centers for Independent Living eligible to sign the SPIL (SPIL signatory).

  • Section 3.2 Lacking a plan for adjusting distribution of funds when cut/reduced.

  • Section 4.5 Does not describe how the Designated State Entity will ensure compliance with state-imposed requirements without restricting the autonomy of the SILC in fulfilling its duties, authorities, and responsibilities.

Draft State Plan for Independent Living 2021-2023 - Revised 10-29-20 (PDF)

These changes are marked with track changes in red in the SPIL. These changes constitute a substantial amendment and require a 30 day public comment period and a public hearing.

The Wisconsin SILC, known as ILCW, is committed to full and equal access. If you need a sign language interpreter, CART, alternate formats, or materials in another language to participate, please contact Stephanie Birmingham at 920-495-9688 . You must make your request at least 48 hours prior to the public hearing.

A virtual public hearing on the revisions to the SPIL 2021-2023  will be held:

  • December 2, 2020
    1:00 P.M. to 2:00 P.M.

    The public hearing is available via Zoom:

    The public hearing will also be available via phone:
    • Telephone number: 312-626-6799 or toll-free 1-844-708-2569
    • Meeting ID: 959 0279 9424

If you are unable to attend the public hearing and would like to have input on the new SPIL 2021-2023, you can submit comments from November 2, 2020, through December 4, 2020,  via:

  • Email
  • Mail:
    Attn: SPIL Comments
    3810 Milwaukee St.
    Madison, WI 53714

Public comments and feedback for the SPIL will be reviewed and addressed in the plan as appropriate. The Wisconsin State Independent Living Council is committed to using the comments and feedback received on the plan in multiple ways—including implementation of the SPIL. Even if every comment is not reflected in the final plan, comments, and feedback have been heard and considered.

If you have questions or accessibility issues, please contact Stephanie Birmingham, SPIL Committee Chair, at 920-495-9688.

Last Revised: March 22, 2021