Survival Coalition Wisconsin

The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations is a cross-disability coalition of more than 20 state and local organizations and groups. For more than 20 years, Survival has been focused on changing and improving policies and practices that support people with disabilities of all ages to be full participants in community life.


New fact sheet available for November’s National Family Caregivers Month.

 A new fact sheet with status and policy asks for November’s National Family Caregivers Month. See attachment.

Survival sends testimony to Senate Health Committee

The Survival Coalition thanks the committee for the opportunity to provide comment on SB 155. Survival Coalition recognizes the significant burden many long-term care residents face finding a place to live, a challenge that is compounded when they must move within a specific period of time.

We support improving notification requirements and allowing more time for residents to locate another placement. However, disability and aging advocates caution the proposed changes in this bill will not be applicable to many residential settings in which older adults and people with disabilities live, and as such residents in these settings will receive no additional notice. See full letter here

Survival’s Budget Analysis

Survival Coalition’s analysis document, compares Survival’s original asks, the governor’s budget and the Joint Finance Committee budget, signed into Law by Governor. Link to budget analysis

Ensuring Access to Medicaid Services rule public comments

The cross-disability Wisconsin Survival Coalition is comprised of more than 20 statewide disability organizations in Wisconsin with a mission of improving services and supports so people with disabilities can fully participate in their communities. We appreciate the opportunity to provide public comment on the Ensuring Access to Medicaid Services rule (file code CMS-2442-P) and the interest CMS has in ensuring state Medicaid LTSS programs are maximizing the use of home and community-based services so people with disabilities can live healthy, safe, community-connected lives. Our experience in Wisconsin demonstrates that to ensure access to appropriate home and community-based long-term care services and supports (LTSS) we need federal regulations and more federal guidance to:  

  • ensure rates reflect the actual cost of care,  
  • address the care worker shortage with multiple strategies,
  • ensure the provider network can provide the level of authorized services,
  • drive states to evolve service systems, lower cost, less staff intensive, more inclusive, and best practice approaches, including community supported living and integrated employment as the first and preferred option,
    Read complete list of comments.

Survival Coalition Disappointed in Expanded Private School Funding, Proposed Modest Investment in Public Special Education

June 20, 2023

The Survival Coalition of more than 20 statewide disability organizations is deeply disappointed with the Governor’s decision today to sign into law Senate Bill 330 increasing the amount of public funding for private schools, while the Legislature’s current state budget proposal for a modest special education increase would keep Wisconsin near the very bottom of all states in covering public school special education costs.

“Continuing to expand private schools that are allowed to selectively admit students and are not accountable for outcomes, while failing to adequately cover the costs of public schools which are required to educate all students is not the right direction for Wisconsin,” said Beth Swedeen, Survival Coalition Co-Chair.

“Wisconsin is now funding two separate and unequal education systems,” said Kit Kerschensteiner, Survival Coalition Co-Chair. “Wisconsin is choosing to increase funding for private schools that do not have to educate students with disabilities and where families have no recourse if their student is not receiving the specialized support they need.”

Survival Coalition supports increasing the state’s share of special education funding from the current 31.5% to 60% and eliminating public funding for private schools. As part of the ongoing state budget process, the Joint Finance Committee increased special education reimbursement to only 33.3%, dependent on funds being available. Read full Press Release

For Immediate Release: Survival Coalition Sees DHS State Budget as Beginning to Address Needs of Disability Community

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee last night voted on disability priorities in the Department of Health Services (DHS) section of the state budget that takes some first steps toward addressing the most pressing needs of the disability community: adequate supports to live in their homes and communities and freedom from abuse and neglect. Another critical issue– mental health supports–were mostly left out of the budget, and it is Survival Coalition’s hope that mental health and other important initiatives can move as stand-alone bills in the months ahead.

“The vote demonstrates recognition of concerns advocates have been expressing for decades and potentially a start to more re-investments that ensure Wisconsinites of all ages and abilities have access to the right care, at the right time and in the place, they most often prefer – in their own home,” said Patti Becker, Survival Coalition co-chair.

Among actions Joint Finance took:

  • Continued the 5% increase for Home and Community Based Services providers that were initially part of federal pandemic response legislation. These increases impact providers in Family Care, IRIS, and Children’s Long Term Support Services (CLTS) waivers.
  • Increases of 5% for  direct care workers in Family Care. However, no increases for IRIS participant-hired workers.
  • Increase of 4.3% to the Medical Assistance Personal Care Services
  • Requirements that Family Care managed care organizations report publicly amount of care needed (authorized hours) and the amount of care provided by service category and MCO, thus quantifying unmet needs.

“The Legislature’s attention to the direct care crisis through rate increases and better quantifying the state’s needs are important initial investments,” said Beth Swedeen, Survival co-chair. “With average direct care worker wages in the state of $13.53/hr. and fewer than half earning benefits, we have a long way to go in paying the true cost of care.” Read full press release here.