Qualifying for Services

Disability Rights IOWA (DRI) is a private non-profit organization that is independent of state government, allowing DRI to focus on the rights of Iowans with disabilities. DRI provides legal and advocacy services to Iowans with disabilities. Although the needs of Iowans with disabilities can be unlimited, DRI funds are very limited. Therefore, DRI has to set guidelines to help decide whether we can provide legally based advocacy or representation. The following are the factors we consider for intake:

  • The individual must be a qualifying person with a disability, and he or she must have a disability rights issue (i.e. the problem or issue must arise from the individual’s disability);
  • DRI must have funding and staff available to properly advocate for the individual’s issues; and
  • The individual’s needs for legally based advocacy must fall within DRI’s Areas of Focus.

A summary of DRI’s Areas of Focus are set out by issue area in this section of the website. But when the following issues are presented, DRI will only provide information and referral services and will not accept cases regardless of the individual’s disability or his or her initial eligibility:

  • Divorce, child custody, and adoption;
  • Bankruptcy;
  • Estate planning (wills and trusts);
  • Criminal representation;
  • Civil mental health commitment, including appeals;
  • Child in Need of Care cases;
  • Tax law, corporate or business law, consumer law, debtor-creditor law;
  • Personal injury (other than injuries arising from abuse and/or neglect);
  • Malpractice;
  • Social security eligibility or appeals;
  • Worker’s compensation cases;
  • Civil litigation that does not relate to the legal or civil rights of an individual with a  disability;
  • Initiation of guardianship or conservatorship of a person; and
  • Cases involving inmates at state or federal correctional facilities (other than injuries arising from abuse and neglect, restraint/seclusion issues, or failure to provide reasonable accommodations).

DRI seeks to assist individuals with disabilities who have legal issues related to their disabilities. DRI also seeks to remedy systemic problems, and it is anticipated that, as DRI increases its efforts in effecting systemic remedies, the amounts and levels of resource commitment necessary to achieve systemic change will likely require a decrease in DRI’s provision of legal representation in individual cases.