Understanding IRIS

Understanding the IRIS Program

Self-directed long-term care Medicaid waiver for eligible Wisconsin residents

Understanding the IRIS program in WisconsinThe IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct) program in Wisconsin allows you to direct your own services and support. IRIS recognizes that you are the decision-maker in your life, including determining your daily activities and the types of support or assistance you need to meet your long-term care needs under an established budget. Since 2008, Wisconsin’s IRIS program has built upon the belief that every person, regardless of age or ability, has the right to lead a meaningful life. Goals of the IRIS program in Wisconsin include:

  • Having a home to call your own
  • Remaining safe and healthy
  • Earning money or pursuing a fulfilling retirement
  • Being actively involved in your community
  • Maintaining or building beneficial, long-standing relationships
  • Having access to and control over your transportation

Live the way you choose

IRIS is a self-directed long-term care option for older adults and adults with developmental or physical disabilities. It’s being rolled out county by county in the state of Wisconsin to residents determined financially eligible for Medicaid and functionally in need of a nursing home or an intermediate-care facility. Both IRIS and managed care options are available in all counties. Both programs are available through your local Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC).

Self-directing your long-term care services and support offers you a way to have control. In IRIS, you are given control over a budget that’s based on your individual needs. Participants in the IRIS program decide on the needed services, support and goods within this budget. As an IRIS participant, you will schedule services, select service providers and support and select the settings for services with the help of an IRIS consultant agency – like Connections.

Helping you build your individual services and support plan

If you choose IRIS, you won’t be alone. Your IRIS consultant will help you develop an Individual Services and Support Plan within a predetermined budget. Your plan will need to follow the guidelines of allowable support and services to meet your functional, employment and social long-term care needs. Then – together with your IRIS consultant – you will manage these goods and services to meet your long-term care needs and to remain in the community.

For more information about the IRIS program, please contact:

Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Division of Medicaid Services
IRIS Program
1 West Wilson, P.O. Box 309
Madison, WI 53707-0309

Call toll-free: 1-888-515-IRIS (4747) | Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

For information on how to apply for the IRIS program, contact your local ADRC to see if you may be eligible.

Learn more about Connections

For more information on Connections, call 1-844-520-1712 or email connections@lsswis.org.




     An IRIS Consultant Agency by Lutheran Social Services. 

     Call toll-free: 844-520-1712


6737 W Washington Street, Suite 2275
West Allis, WI 53214

1904 Winnebago St
Madison, Wisconsin 53704

120 S. Barstow St.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin 54701

© 2018 Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan