Survival Coalition Wisconsin

The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations is a cross-disability coalition of more than 40 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.


Help Children with Disabilities – Keep $600 Million Investment for Special Education in Budget

Governor Evers is proposing to increase the state’s support of special education costs to a 60% reimbursement rate for special education funding in his budget, up from the current 24.5%. This would invest $600 million state dollars into special education, reducing pressure on local districts that are currently providing most of the funding. Some legislative leaders do not believe this investment is necessary. Please take the following very short survey and consider sharing a picture of your child/family so we can let legislators know how important it is to adequately fund special education.

Please see the information sheet for additional information on special education funding and share with your networks.


Because of the many registrations coming in we are extending the deadline.

Please join us! Disability Advocacy Day Registration deadline extended to Monday, March 11.  
Scholarships still available


There are several organizations that can assist you in getting to  Disability  Advocacy Day on March 20th.

Milwaukee area: contact Michelle at Life Navigators: 414-774-6255

Several Independent Living Centers are coordinating transportation. Check out the Map to find a participating ILC in your area.

Don’t forget to Register !

Two ways to register:

Wednesday, March 20,
Monona Terrace, One John Nolen Ave, Madison, WI

Disability Advocacy Day is a day-long event focused on connecting Self-Advocates with their legislators to talk about issues that matter to them. Attendees are expected to participate in the full day of activities.


  • There is small fee to register. $10 per person. NEW
  • Order a lunch (optional) $10
  • Everyone in attendance MUST Register
  • Direct Care Workers attending to assist you for the day must register for this event.
    Additional people must complete their own registration form.
  • Use your HOME/VOTING address to register. Business addresses or PO Boxes are not allowed.
  • No on-site registration or walk-ins.


9:30:      Check in: Monona Terrace, One John Nolen Drive, Madison
Stop by Voting Resource table. Spring Statewide Election April 2
10:30:    Briefing on Survival Coalition’s current issues, planning time
and lunch
12:15:     Rally at the State Capitol, Hamilton Street Entrance (3 blocks away)
1:00- 3:00:   Attend Legislative visits
3:00-3:30:    Check out and debrief after your visit at the Capitol

Event Reminders:

  • Participants support Survival Coalition’s mission to maximize community inclusion for all people with disabilities,
  • Participants must attend the 10:30 a.m. briefing at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.
  • Attend your legislative visits at the scheduled time with your group.
  • Coordinate your own transportation (if you need assistance) to the Capitol (3 blocks away)


Mail in registration still needs to be  postmarked and paid for by March 8, so we have time to schedule
your legislative visit for you.

Don’t forget your  Blue Disability Advocacy Day T-Shirt!


Survival Coalition Statement on Executive Order #14 Improving Accessibility of DMV and DOT-Issued Voter ID’s

The Survival Coalition of more than 30 disability organizations supports today’s Executive Order from Governor Tony Evers designed to improve access to state photo ID’s for the purpose of voting.

Survival Coalition membership hears from people with disabilities statewide who do not drive, do not have a driver’s license and have experienced barriers in obtaining acceptable photo ID’s so they can vote.  Wisconsin has an option for obtaining a free ID at  Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices, but many people with disabilities cannot get transportation, especially at DMVs not located on public transit routes and in rural areas where many DMV locations have limited hours of operation. This is a positive step to assuring that all Wisconsin citizens have an equal opportunity to exercise their right to vote. Read press release.


(MADISON) — The Survival Coalition of more than 30 disability organizations recognizes the significant focus on disability issues outlined in Governor Tony Evers’ proposed 2019-2021 biennial budget, addressing multiple issues that can improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families statewide.

Survival Coalition co-chairs Beth Swedeen, Kristin Kerschensteiner and Lisa Pugh said Survival Coalition membership strongly supports the following significant investments in Wisconsinites with disabilities listed below, pointing out that appropriate public supports invested in people with disabilities lead to improved health outcomes, higher employment rates and overall reduction in crisis spending. See Detailed Press Release


Survival Coalition submits comments on the draft statewide Community Integrated Employment

Survival coalition members can comment on the draft statewide community integrated employment (CIE)stakeholder input session on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, either in person or by submitting email comments.

 A joint plan to improve CIE outcomes in Wisconsin has been drafted in a collaborative effort between the Department of Workforce Development-Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), the Department of Health Services (DHS), and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

 The joint plan was drafted in response to 2017 Wisconsin Act 178, which requires DVR, DHS, and DPI to collaborate, with the input of stakeholders, to establish and share performance improvement targets to ensure that programs, policies, and procedures statewide support CIE outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities in Wisconsin.

 We hope you are able to join us for the upcoming input session, where we will share our first draft of this interagency plan. More information about the session and the plan can be found on the CIE Plan website. If you are unable to attend the stakeholder input session, comments can be emailed to February 27, 2019. READ Survival Comments


(MADISON) — The Survival Coalition of more than 30 disability organizations supports today’s announcement by Governor Tony Evers of an Executive Order identifying a caregiver task force to address the growing shortage of direct care providers, both paid and informal as well as the stress on family caregivers statewide.

“We know that people are not getting the care they need,” said Beth Swedeen, Survival Coalition co-chair. “Our survey showed that 95% of people with disabilities and their families had trouble finding caregivers, and 45% reported being unable to fill 7 or more shifts each month. This shortage is only projected to increase in the months and years ahead as Wisconsin’s population ages.”

Lisa Pugh, Survival Coalition co-chair, said the pressure of unmet care needs is impacting families and employers statewide, “Many informal caregivers report being forced to reduce hours or leave the workforce entirely in order to care for family members, incurring risk to their own financial futures and creating challenges for businesses that must adjust workflow for absent employees or deal with higher turnover rates as employees leave the workforce to care for loved ones.”

“A focused study of how to attract, train, support and retain quality direct care workers is critical to Wisconsin’s future, and has great potential to save public funds by keeping people in their homes instead of costly facilities,” said Kristin Kerschensteiner, Survival Coalition co-chair.

The majority of Survival Coalition’s member organizations list the direct care worker shortage as the top concern they are experiencing. Survival supports a comprehensive approach to addressing the crisis that includes increased wages and benefits for direct care workers, supports for family caregivers and as innovative public policies to attract and retain high-quality workers. [see press release]