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IRIS: How to Apply

IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct) is a program for adults with disabilities and elderly people in Wisconsin. It is a self-directed program. That means that you will have the freedom to decide how you want to live your life.

You have to be eligible for Medicaid to be in the IRIS program.

Learn more about the resources you’ll work with if you are eligible. Follow these steps and find out how to enroll in the IRIS program.

Step 1: Contact your local aging and disability resource center

To enroll in IRIS, the first step is to contact your local aging and disability resource center (ADRC) or tribal aging and disability resource specialist (ADRS).

  • These centers serve the public and offer information. They help with issues that affect older adults, people with disabilities, and their families. ADRCs and ADRSs make it easy to learn about resources near you.
  • If you are interested in the IRIS program, your ADRC or ADRS will help find out if you are eligible. They can let you know about your role and responsibilities when you are part of the program.

Step 2: Choose an IRIS consultant agency and an IRIS consultant

Your ADRC will help you choose an IRIS consultant agency. This agency handles the day-to-day operations of the IRIS program. The agency will help you:

  • Self-direct the choices for goods and services.
  • Choose an IRIS consultant.
  • Schedule a face-to-face meeting to learn more about the program.

Your IRIS consultant is a person from the agency who knows about services in your area. They will answer your questions and help you:

  • Understand IRIS requirements.
  • Learn the rules you must follow.
  • Fill out paperwork.

Step 3: Select a fiscal employer agent

Your ADRC will help you choose a fiscal employer agent. The agent:

  • Does background checks on workers you hire.
  • Processes payroll.
  • Manages the amount of federal and state taxes to take out of your workers’ checks.
  • Helps with other employer tasks.
  • Processes any cost share you may owe. This is the amount that you owe to maintain your Medicaid eligibility.
  • Pays vendors for services.

Other resources you will work with

Income maintenance agencies

Income maintenance agencies are county and tribal agencies. They help you see if you can get Medicaid. They also help you maintain eligibility.

One to two bed adult family home certification

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) provides one to two bed adult family home certification for the IRIS program. They also do yearly recertification. You can email them at You can also call 844-910-3658.

Wisconsin's functional screen

Wisconsin's functional screen is a web-based tool. It helps find out if your needs meet the level of care needed to be eligible for IRIS.

A person with experience in the screening process will meet with you. They will ask about:

  • You and your family.
  • Your caregivers.
  • Your health care providers and others who are part of your care.

That information goes into the functional screen program. The program gives a score. That score shows the level of care you need.

Last revised September 29, 2022