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 counseling
  • Individual and systems advocacy
  • 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.
  • 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. ICLW is an independent entity responsible for monitoring, reviewing, and evaluating the implementation of the SPIL.

Wisconsin's State Plan for Independent Living

State Plan for Independent Living 2017–2020 (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 years covered by the plan.

Public Comment on the SPIL

Public comments and feedback on revisions to the SPIL are being accepted from October 31, 2019 through December 1, 2019. All comments received will be reviewed by the SPIL committee and incorporated into the plan as appropriate.

State Plan for Independent Living 2017–2020, Technical Changes October 2019 (PDF)

Changes in the SPIL are documented using tracked changes and red font.

ILCW submitted a technical amendment to the SPIL in September to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living (ACL).

The Council received a letter from ACL in September, which states that the SPIL was conditionally approved and received a subsequent email from Wisconsin’s ACL program officer that several changes need to be made to the SPIL to get it approved. These changes are listed below:

  • Section 1.3A Financial Plan Tables—Does not include the required 10% Subchapter B State match.
  • Section 3.2 Expansion of Network—Is not consistent with underserved areas and population as identified in Section 1.2B.
  • Section 3.2 Expansion of Network—Does not describe what would happen if a Subchapter C grant is relinquished or terminated.
  • Section 8 State-Imposed Requirements—the Rehab Act of 1994 is incorrect.

These changes constitute a substantial amendment and require a 30 day public comment period and public hearings. Please submit any comments you may have related to these changes.

Comments can be submitted via:

  • Electronic survey
  • Written comments by mail to:
    Attn: SPIL Comments
    3810 Milwaukee Street
    Madison, WI 53714

If you have any questions or accessibility issues, please contact Michelle Harper, ILCW program coordinator, at 608-206-1581.

Public Hearings on the SPIL

The purpose of the public hearing is to give the public an opportunity to provide input and present comments and feedback on the technical changes to the SPIL. Comments and feedback will be documented and, if possible, incorporated into the SPIL.

If you need an interpreter, alternate formats, or other accommodations to participate, please contact Michelle Harper at 608-206-1581.

Public hearings on the technical changes to the SPIL will be held:

  • December 2, 2019
    11 to 11:30 a.m.
    540 S 1st Street
    Milwaukee, WI 53204
    Hearing will also be available via teleconference:
    • Telephone number: 1-866-503-4605
    • Teleconference code: 567-172-2609
  • December 5, 2019
    1 to 1:30 p.m.
    Options for Independent Living
    555 Country Club Road
    Green Bay, WI 54313
    Hearing will also be available via teleconference:
    • Telephone number: 929-205-6099
    • Meeting ID: 725-776-2515
Last Revised: November 11, 2019