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The Center for Independent Living Western Wisconsin

Funding Resources






Below you will find information for funding resources in our service area.

The following links below are from CILWW’s resource folder. This list may not include all available resources. Should you have more questions or would like to request more information please contact us and we would be happy to further assist you.


What is WisLoan?
WisLoan is an alternative loan program to assist persons with disabilities who live in Wisconsin and wish to purchase assistive technology, adaptive equipment or make accessible modifications to their homes.

Who can apply?
* Applicant must have a disability or be purchasing assistive technology for a person with a disability.
* The loan must be for the acquisition of assistive technology or to make accessibility modifications to a home.
* Applicant must be a resident of Wisconsin.
* Applicant must be over 18 years old.

What can I borrow money for?
Assistive technology is defined as “any item, piece of equipment or device that enables an individual with a disability to improve his or her independence and quality of life.” Common items include: hearing aids, wheelchairs, modified vehicles, computers with modifications, environmental controls, alternative communication devices, ramps and home accessibility modifications. If you are not sure if the item you need qualifies under the program, please ask.

How much money can I borrow and at what interest rates and terms?
You can apply for the amount you need, but actual loan amounts will depend on the item purchased, the ability to repay and the loan fund capacity. The current interest rate is 6.5% Term lengths depend on amount of loan and item purchased.

What if my credit record is poor? 
The focus is on the ability to make the monthly payment to pay back this loan. The reasons for a poor credit record are taken into consideration.

How do I apply?
Staff at the Independent Living Centers throughout the state can answer your questions and take an application. Refer to the other side of this sheet to find the Independent Living Center that serves your area or contact Patti Kraemer at IndependenceFirst 414-226-8306 or pkraemer@independencefirst.org

WisLoan is a federally-funded project of the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education under P.L. 105-394, The Assistive Technology Act of 1998 Grant No. H224C010017. WisLoan is provided as a cooperative service of the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Bureau of Aging and Long Term Care Resources (DHFS, BALTCR), IndependenceFirst, and Marshall & Ilsley Bank.

You may request a WisLoan application from CILWW by calling 1-800-228-3287 voice / tty or by emailing us at cilww@cilww.com

Introductory paragraph needed

TEPP (Telecommunications Equipment Purchase Program)

Do you know someone with a disability who could use assistance in paying for specialized telephone equipment?

There is a program available to assist people with disabilities to pay for specialized telephones and telephone-related devices needed for accessibility. The program is called the Telecommunications Equipment Purchase Program (TEPP).

The funds are provided through the Wisconsin Public Service Commission and are one of several different programs paid for by the Wisconsin Universal Service Fund (USF).  Money collected from Wisconsin telephone service providers goes into the USF and these funds are made available for this program.

Any Wisconsin resident who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf with low vision, deaf-blind, has a speech impairment, or has a mobility impairment can apply for a specific voucher category (see below). There are no age or income limits. Once an application is accepted a voucher is issued to the individual in the following amounts:

Hard of hearing – $100
Deaf – $800
Deaf low vision – $2,500
Deaf blind – $7,200
Speech impaired – $1,600
Mobility impaired – $1,600

The voucher will come from Wipfli Young., a firm that handles the process. This voucher can then be given to the vendor to purchase the needed equipment. This program does require a $100 co-payment be made by the individual at the time of purchase. If a person is deaf or hard of hearing AND low income there are additional funds from the state TAP (Telecommunications Assistance Program) program to help with the co-payment.

A person with a disability is eligible for assistance from the TEPP program every three years and is responsible for the co-payment each time they access the fund. A person who is deaf or hard of hearing AND low income (guidelines are changed each year) is eligible for TAP every four years.

The TEPP program is designed to pay for SPECIALIZED telephone equipment that a person needs in order to ACCESS basic telephone services. It does not pay for “wants” such as an answering machine, caller id, call waiting, and those types of services. Your local independent living center ( Wisconsin Independent Living Centers) can assist a person in locating the equipment they could use to access the telephone.

For more program information you may contact the Public Service Commission at:


For an application you may contact the following numbers:
608-267-1479 tty
608-231-3305 voice
608-266-3957 fax


Or you can contact your local independent living center to meet with a staff person who can assist with completing the application and determining what equipment is needed for telephone access.

You may also contact us directly if you have further questions about telephone equipment at 715-233-1070 or Toll-Free 1-800-228-3287 voice / tty or cilww@cilww.com.


What is Telework?
The Wisconsin Telework Program is a statewide, alternative loan program that allows Wisconsin residents with disabilities to purchase computers and other equipment needed to work from home or from other remote sites away from the office, such as work on the road or at a telework center. 


What can I purchase with a Telework loan?
Loan funds can be used to purchase equipment, training to use equipment, extended warranties, and cost of maintenance and repairs. This may include, but is not limited to :
Computers, printers and software
Scanners, fax and office machines
Tools and equipment
Telecommunication devices
Office furniture
Home modifications to create accessible home office
Assistive technology that enables an individual with a disability to work at home

Are there conditions for approval of Telework loans?
A telework loan will generally be considered favorable if the equipment to be purchased with the loan will assist you to do at least one of the following:
Begin telework for an employer when you were previously unemployed
Increase income in an existing job through telework
Remain employed at your current level, and prevent job loss or a reduction in earnings, through telework
Begin working at home to accommodate your disability
Initiate or expand home based self-employment with an approved business plan

How much can I borrow and at what interest rate and terms?
You can apply for the amount you need, but actual loan amounts will depend on the item purchased and your ability to repay the loan. The interest rate is 2% points above prime. For example, if the prime rate is 4.75%, the interest rate for a Telework loan would be 6.75%. Term lengths depend on the amount of the loan and the item purchased.

What if my credit bad?
If you have bad credit, including bankruptcy, your application will still be considered. The focus is on your ability to make the monthly payments to pay back the loan.

How do I apply?
Staff at the Center for Independent Living of Western Wisconsin can answer your questions and take applications. Call: (715) 233-1070 or 800-228-3287.
The program is made possible through a grant from Rehabilitative Services Administration and authorized by section 303(b) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended and implemented by subsequent program regulation 34 CFR Part 373. The Department of Workforce Development – Division of Rehabilitation received the grant and provides programmatic and fiscal oversight. IndependenceFirst, a community based and consumer-controlled Independent Living Center based in Milwaukee, administers the program in partnership with M & I Marshall & Ilsley Bank and seven Independent Living Centers.

Examples of Telework Loans

Lawn Care/Snow Removal Business (Options) – Individual with multiple sclerosis was approved for $4,610 in telework loan funds to purchase a Sportsman 4-wheeler with plow and trailer to expand his seasonal lawn care business by doing snow removal. This individual paid off his loan within one month and reapplied for another loan in the amount of $1,470 to purchase a computer for his business. He has paid the second loan off as well.

Computer Repair and Technical Consulting Business (IF) – Individual with a mental health disability was approved for $15,500 in telework loan funds to purchase a vehicle needed for her computer business. She was also approved for a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) through SSA so she is able to pay her telework loan with monies from her PASS.

Stained Glass Business (MILC) – Individual who had a stroke was approved for $23,000 in telework loan funds to purchase equipment needed to produce specialty stained glass windows. One piece of equipment was a glass cutter to assist him because he has limited use of one of his arms due to the stroke.

Mortgage Broker (IF) – Individual with a mental health disability was approved for $3,000 in telework loan funds to purchase office equipment needed to work out of her home.

Holistic Health Care Provider (MILC) – Individual with back injury was approved for $7,000 in telework loan funds to purchase furnishings, equipment and a vehicle to start his own alternative holistic health care business in which he incorporates Native American beliefs. Some of the services he provides include: Reiki, Lakota Rain Drop Therapy and spiritual counseling.

Cleaning Business (Options) – Individual with a mental health disability and a learning disability was approved for $3,000 in telework loan funds to purchase a vehicle needed to transport equipment and supplies for her cleaning business.

IRS Customer Service (IF) – Individual with rheumatoid arthritis was approved for $1,330 in telework loan funds to purchase office equipment needed to work out of her home.

Stained Glass Studio (Options) – Individual with a brain disorder and damage was approved for $25,000 in telework loan funds to purchase equipment and build a stained glass studio in her basement. This individual rents out studio space because there are places for people to take stained glass classes but there are no studios for people to continue making stain glass once they complete classes.