What issues can Disability Rights IOWA help me with?
Disability Rights IOWA concentrates on many issues encountered by individuals with disabilities and mental illness. The issues that we focus on can be found under Current Priorities. Please look through the Current Priorities as well as the subsections of those priorities found under What We Do. If you aren’t sure your issue fits into any of the categories, feel free to call or email us using the contacts on the Contact Us or Contact Information pages. 


How do I ask for help from Disability Rights IOWA?
Users can request help from Disability Rights IOWA with a request form found on our website. Click on the Let Us Help button on the homepage, or click “Let Us Help” under the Contact Us tab. Once you fill out the form with your information and submit your request, we will review your request form and contact you within a few days. Users can also request help by calling 515-278-2502 and asking for the Intake Specialist.


What happens when I get a call back after requesting one with the Let Us Help form or when I call Disability Rights IOWA’s 800 number?
Our Intake Specialist will call you and ask questions about your situation so our Senior Staff Attorney can determine if Disability Rights IOWA can take your case based on the factors stated under the question “What does Disability Rights IOWA consider for taking a case?” Our funding partners also require us to ask questions about your demographics, like educational level and ethnicity.


How long does intake processing take?
After you give our Intake Specialist information about your issue, it may take 3-5 business days for our Senior Staff Attorney to process your request and for us to call you back.


What does Disability Rights IOWA consider for taking a case?
We consider whether or not:

  • You are a qualifying person with a disability or your issue is disability-related;
  • Your issue meets one of our priorities;
  • We can provide you with information and referrals when your issue doesn’t meet one of our priorities;
  • We have the resources and staff to help;
  • There are any other agencies that would be able to provide more help or quicker help.


What limitations might affect my intake?
If your issue is not identified in our priorities, we cannot provide advocacy unless it is an issue we can help with by providing basic information and/or a referral.


What happens when Disability Rights IOWA cannot help with my issue?
Our Intake Specialist will call you back and explain why we cannot help. We will provide you with additional information and resources to help with your issue instead.


What happens when Disability Rights IOWA can help with my issue?
The Senior Staff Attorney will assign the appropriate advocate or attorney to your case. That advocate or attorney will give you a call to discuss your issue further.


What will my Disability Rights IOWA advocate or attorney do for me?
There are two levels of services we offer, depending on your issue: Information and Referral or Legal Representation.

  • Information and Referral includes one or two phone calls with our staff, information about resources and referrals, and tips and tools for self-advocacy. 
  • Legal Representation means DRI will provide representation through an attorney or advocate supervised by an attorney. If DRI agrees to represent you, DRI will send you an agreement which describes the scope of DRI’s representation of you. You will need to sign this agreement and return it to DRI before DRI can start representing you.


How are you funded?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration fund Disability Rights IOWA. Our protection and advocacy services are specifically funded through several different federal programs:
 PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PATBI, and PAVA. To continue funding from these sources, DRI’s Board of Directors must develop and approve priority lists every year with input from the public to determine which cases we will advocate for and what funds will be used for.


Is Disability Rights IOWA a government agency?
No, DRI is not a state or federal government agency. DRI is a 501c(3) private non-profit corporation which receives federal funding.


When was Disability Rights IOWA established?
Our organization was established in 1984 as part of the nationwide network of Protection and Advocacy Systems.


Why was your organization created?
In 1975, the Protection and Advocacy System was created in response to news about abuse and neglect in New York’s Willowbrook State School. The school was a state-funded institute for people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. People discovered the institute was abusing residents, leaving them without medical attention, and neglecting programs to help them manage their disabilities. You can learn more about the institution in this
broadcast by Geraldo Rivera. After this discovery, Congress created the Protection and Advocacy System in every state and territory.


What issues are not applicable for help from Disability Rights IOWA?
DRI will consider taking cases if

  • you are a qualifying person with a disability and your issue is related to disability rights;
  • your issue that requires legally based advocacy is included in one of our priorities; and
  • we have the staff and budget to properly assist you.

We can’t accept cases and will only provide information and referral for the following issues:

  • 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;
  • Cases involving inmates at state or federal correctional facilities (other than injuries arising from abuse and neglect, issues of restraint or seclusion, or failure to provide reasonable accommodations).


Can I view Disability Rights IOWA’s most recent IRS 990’s and financial statements?
Yes, Disability Rights IOWA can provide 990’s and financial statements upon request. Please call or email us your request at any of the contacts on our Contact Information page or request the documents using the message form on our Contact Us page.


What do I do if I can’t access something on the website?
Disability Rights IOWA strives to provide equal accessibility to all of its visitors. We have tried to design our website to fulfill this goal, but if you encounter any difficulties with the website due to an accessibility issue, please contact us through email (info@DRIowa.org), one of the phone numbers listed on our Contact Information page, or the message form on our Contact Us page. Unfortunately, we have no control over the accessibility of the pages we link to that are outside of our website. Please resolve these issues by contacting the webmaster of the inaccessible site.


Was your question not answered here?
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