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Iowa disability benefit programs.

Several organization and government agencies (listed below) in Iowa work to help the disabled. Any programs administered are in addition to support that people can find from local charities, federal government benefits, or regional non-profits. The disabled with a low income can also of course apply for other government cash assistance or benefits such as LIHEAP or food stamps.

The different agencies will work with individuals, their families, and care givers to get them the support and aid they need. Maybe the leading organization is the Iowa Office of Persons with Disabilities (phone (888) 219-0471), and they can serve as a great place for information or referrals. They also run many of their own programs.

The Office and in particular the Division of Persons with Disabilities works to enhance self-sufficiency and employment. The staff from the center reduce barriers to finding and holding a job. Clients can get assessment and guidance, information, access to training, referrals and negotiation services. They also oversee the federal government mandated Client Assistance Program (CAP).

Some of the partner agencies include the Department for the Blind, the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and there are also several locations for people to go to for independent living and rehabilitation agencies. Some of the programs administered, as well as the process involved, is listed below.

Awareness and Educational seminars are coordinated by staff. Topics include Americans with Disabilities Act; Awareness/Sensitivity/Diversity training; and details of the government Rehabilitation Act. All classes, training, and other advice is free.

Referrals, technical assistance, and the amount of information disbursed is significant. The disabled and others can get details on low income housing, financial aid, employment, transportation assistance, education, programs and services. The private and public sector may get assistance with compliance with various state of Iowa and federal regulations.




The Office also coordinates Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities. This is offered for both students of high school and college. Participants will Develop leadership skills; get information on government benefits; learn about other available resources; and get details on employment and Self-sufficiency.

This can lead to employment opportunities, more knowledge, referrals to specialists and case managers, and increased education. A number of other benefits will also occur from these sessions.

The Client Assistance Program will ensure that the disabled are treated fairly and have access to all the benefits they need. So it will ensure that organizations such as the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Independent Living Programs, and the Department for the Blind are set up in the state. CAP will also help Iowa residents understand the regulations, law and procedures of those agencies.

To learn more on these benefits, get referrals, and ensure your rights are met, try contacting the Iowa Office of Persons with Disabilities (phone (888) 219-0471).

The Iowa Department of Human Services oversees the financial assistance programs for low income, disabled residents. They are wide ranging and very often depend on federal government grants and funding. Some of the main resources are as follows.

  • Energy bill assistance from LIHEAP, with a focus on paying heating bills.
  • Medical and dental care is available from Medicaid and community clinics.
  • SNAP food stamps provide free food.
  • Information on SSDI disability applications.
  • Several other financial aid programs and other benefits are available. Call your local DHS office for details.

The Legal Center for Special Education coordinates legal aid (for free or low cost) and advocacy for parents of a child with a disability. The main office is in Des Moines and can be reached at (515) 309-0033.





Other Iowa agencies that are disability programs

Iowa Program for Assistive Technology (IPAT)
Center for Disabilities and Development, The University of Iowa
Address is 100 Hawkins Drive, South 295
Iowa City, IA 52242-1011
Phone number - (319) 353-8777
The non-profit IPAT works with service providers, family members, and state of Iowa and local agencies/organizations to promote assistive technology. It helps with employment, education, health care, community living and recreation, and phone telecommunications.

Iowa Department for the Blind
411 3rd Street SE, Suite 700
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
Phone: (319) 365-9111
Assists the severely visually impaired and blind. Assistance and benefits coordinated will help them live independently and work competitively. Programs include vocational rehabilitation services, business enterprises program, independent living rehabilitation services, and education.

On With Life, Inc.
Ankeny Office, 715 SW Ankeny Road
Ankeny, Iowa 50023
Call (800) 728-0645
Assists and runs programs for those with a brain injury or some type of life altering condition. Medical care, case management, information on Medicaid, and more support is offered.

Centers for Independent Living (CILs)
Black Hawk Center for Independent Living
Main office is 312 Jefferson Street
Waterloo, IA 50701
Toll-free number is (888) 291-7754

The ARC of Iowa
State Headquarters
Main address is 715 East Locust
Des Moines, IA 50309
Call (515) 283-2358

Deaf Services Commission of Iowa (DSCI)
Iowa Department of Human Rights, 2nd Floor, Lucas State Office Building
Location is 321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
(515) 281-3164

Dental Care for Persons with Disabilities
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
100 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1011
Phone: (319) 356-1513
Free dental assistance is available from Dental Care for Persons with Disabilities, which is run in partnership with the University of Iowa as well as the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and other government organizations.

Programs for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities: Ages Birth Through 3
Department of Education, Grimes State Office Building, 3rd Floor
Des Moines, IA 50310-0146
For information on services, call 1-888-425-4371.





Iowa Commission of Persons with Disabilities
Address - 321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: (515) 242-6119
Deals with employment issues. Clients can get referral, assessment, information, cash benefits to pay for employment expenses, guidance, and job training.

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services
510 East 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0240
Phone - 515-281-4211

Division of Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS), Adult Mental Health and Disability Services Bureau, Iowa Department of Human Services
Hoover State Office Building
Location of the center is 1305 E. Walnut
Des Moines, IA 50319-0114
(515) 281-5126

Iowa Respite and Crisis Care Coalition
3821 71st Street, Suite A
Urbandale, IA 50322
Phone: (515) 309-0858
The agency and its staff work to provide temporary relief to caregivers or parents of individuals with a disability. The Respite Care can be provided to individuals of any age, whether children, seniors, or adults. Get referrals to benefits available to the community, family support, and other aid.

By Jon McNamara

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