Options for Waivers and Assistance in Wisconsin

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Options for Waivers and Assistance in Wisconsin

Summary: An overview of the handful of Waivers and assistance available to seniors and families in Wisconsin who are researching Long-Term Care, including assisted living, or who are living with a disability and need help with the process of finding care, support and programs.

Waivers and programs highlighted include the ADRC, IRIS, Family Care Partnership Program, COPW and CIP.

Author: Regina Woodard exclusively for Assisted Living Directory

Regina is a regular contributor to Assisted Living Directory

Ah, Wisconsin – The Badger State

Home to Bucky Badger and of course, the Green Bay Packers. America’s Dairyland, where most of us get our delicious cheese and dairy products, is also home to nearly 14% of residents who are age 65 or older and that number is expected to double by the year 2040. That’s about 6.5 million residents in the state who may need additional care, including assisted living or retirement communities, home care, or disability care. Wisconsin’s waivers and assistance

So what does a resident of the Badger State do?

There are actually several different programs for those residents, as well as centers of assistance to help navigate the journey.

Waivers And Assistance Wisconsin


Aging and Disability Resource Centers, or ADRCs, are the recommended place for individuals to go when looking for accurate and unbiased information in regards to aging or living with a disability. Anyone with questions are treated to friendly and welcoming staff who can answer and help with any concerns with again or disabilities, catered and tailored to a person’s unique situation.

ADRCs provide several different services, including information about in home care, housekeeping services, health, respite, home meal delivery, financial assistance, legal issues, employment, and more.

One of the many questions that are regularly asked if where to find assistance to pay for long term care. ADRCs can help to determine if an individual is eligible for long term care funding, can help you with Medicaid applications, and will explain programs that are in a certain area.


The Include, Respect, and I Self Direct program, also known as IRIS, is a Medicaid home and community based waiver for those who want to self-direct their long term care. The program is offered for residents who are financially eligible for Medicaid, are in need of a nursing home care, and are a resident of a county that offers the program.

The letters in the program Include, Respect, and I Self Direct correspond to Wisconsin residents who may be frail or have either physical or developmental disabilities, are able to choose their living, relationship, work, and participation with the community, and are able to manage their own support plan, which includes a budget and guideline of the program.

Information and eligibility for the program can be obtained at a local ADRC.

Family Care Partnership Program

The Family Care Partnership Program offers health and long term care in order to improve access and quality services, while actively seeking cheaper opportunities. Services are coordinated across several care setting with a team comprised of a physician, a nurse practitioner, and a social work or independent living coordinator.

The program combines the benefits of Medicaid and Medicare to provide one program, which helps to reduce costs that are related to duplication of services and helps to improve coordination and quality of services to those that are participating.

To be eligible for the programs offered under the Family Care Partnership, residents must be eligible for either Medicaid, Medicare, or both and meet the requirements for nursing home levels of care. Participation is completely volunteer based and residents can disenroll at any time.


The Community Options Program Waiver, or COPW, and the Community Integration Program, the CIP, are Medicaid waivers that help to assist individuals with impaired functional abilities. Both waivers are geared towards those older than 65, but are offered to those who are younger than 65 years of age as well and provide the ability for residents who need nursing home care to stay within their homes or at an assisted living community. Along with providing assistance for home care, these waivers also help provide services that continue to increase the individual’s independence and decrease their reliance on caregivers or Medicaid support.

Eligibility for both waivers include residents have a long term, chronic, or irreversible functional impairment and require assistance to perform daily living activities, like bathing, transferring, and grooming. The impairment cant be severe enough that the cost of nursing home care is less expensive. Financial requirements for the waiver are decided by the limits set by Medicaid within the state; for 2014, residents need to have a monthly income of up to $2,000 for the categorically needy program, while the medically needy program is based on the medical expenses and finances.

Some of the services covered by the waivers include adaptive technologies, adult day care, care management, assisted living, financial management services, home delivered meals, home modifications, relocation assistance, and transportation assistance. For more information, individuals and families can contact their local ADRC.

Wisconsin is one of five states that have a high residency of seniors and the state has recognized this by providing them with programs that can help with finding assistance and information in regards to long term care. With the help of the ADRCs, elderly residents are treated to friendly and helpful employees who can assist with everything that goes with finding out about the state’s programs, as well signing up for Medicaid and any other programs that can assist in either a transition for a senior or enable them to stay in their homes and keep their independence.

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Further Information

Aging and Disability Resource Centers Customer Page


Partnership Program Overview

Wisconsin Medicaid CIP and COPW Waivers

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– Article by Regina Woodard exclusively for Assisted Living Directory

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