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Caregiver Crisis Coalition of Wisconsin

2023-2025 State Budget Recommendations

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The Joint Finance Committee of the State Legislature will take action on the State Budget in June. Ask your legislators to include these Caregiver Crisis Coalition priorities in the budget


  1.  25% increase in caregiver rates for Family Care, IRIS, and the Children’s Long Term Support Program to raise the current average direct care worker wages of $13.53/hour

  2. 39% increase in Medicaid Personal Care (MAPC) reimbursement rate (currently @ $20.32/hour) to ensure the rate reflects the true cost of providing care

  3.  Sustain the 5% Family Care rate increases implemented in the 2021-23 biennium

  4. $200,000 increase in funds allocated to Lifespan Respite Program for Children and Adults to reduce the number of people who currently cannot obtain respite services

Your life experience makes the caregiver crisis real for legislators. They need to hear how serious the impact of the worker shortage is on your life and on people you know.

Action Steps to Take NOW!

  • Call your State Senator and State Representative (switchboard 1-800-362-9472) or send them an email with your caregiver shortage story

  • Type your address in “Who are my State Legislators?” box ( and click “Find Your Legislator” to get your legislators’ emails and phone numbers

  • Ask your legislators: “Are you committed to covering the true cost of care with a living wage for caregivers?”

  • Write a Letter to the Editor for your local newspaper about the caregiver crisis – we know that legislators read them

  • Share this action alert with your networks and on social media. Ask your colleagues, friends and family to take the Action Steps above

The Crisis is Now. A 2023 Survival Coalition Survey found:

  • 62% of people receiving long-term care are worried they will not be able to stay in their home or live independently and 45% are worried they will be forced into a nursing home

  • 78% of families spend most of their time on caregiving and 50% decreased their hours at work or had to quit their jobs

  • 66% of direct care workers can’t pay their rent, transportation and other routine bills and 63% don’t have basic benefits (healthcare, paid time off, retirement, etc.)

Questions? Contact: Patti Becker or Lynn Breedlove


In the recent years, it has become clear that the biggest threat to the lives of older adults and people with disabilities in Wisconsin who need long-term care services is the Caregiver Crisis: an increasingly acute shortage of caregivers in every sector of the long-term care system. This crisis is impacting every community in Wisconsin, but it is particularly severe in many rural areas.


The Caregiver Crisis Coalition is calling on the state legislature to take serious action now in this state budget to reverse the ominous trend which is putting more Wisconsin residents at risk every year. Unless the landscape for caregivers improves substantially in the 2023-2025 biennium, it is virtually certain that negative trends (i.e. shortage of caregivers, quality of caregivers, etc), will continue to grow.

Compelling Evidence that the Caregiver Crisis is Getting Worse


Powerful Caregiver Stories


“The viability of the care system rests on elderly parents providing home care with no pay”


Susan, the mother of an adult with a developmental disability in south central Wisconsin, says when there are staff shortages “the viability of the care system rests on elderly parents providing home care with no pay”. “What will happen when my husband and I are no longer able to do that?” “There’s a lack of a safety net in Wisconsin for those needing support.” “I am determined to see caregiving become a profession that can provide a reasonable standard of living, including health care and retirement benefits.”

Tom, an 82-year-old man living in Southeast Wisconsin, had a dream of living the rest of his life in his own home. That is no longer his reality. 


As the neuropathy in Tom’s legs progressed and he began to experience memory loss, he needed more assistance with transfers, toileting and meal preparation. He was unable to increase his  home care hours sufficiently to maintain his health and safety in his home. And on some days, there was no worker available to provide the hours of care in his service plan. As he said to his friends, “This is a nightmare.” After one more bad fall, he had to move into a nursing home and sell his house. Sadly, he has given up hope of returning to the community.

“I’m my son’s primary caregiver and I had a stroke. I don’t know what will happen to my son if I can no longer care for him. Who will love him? Who will fight for him?”


Hannah, the mother of a young man with autism and epilepsy in southeast Wisconsin, says, “My son needs 1-on-1 care. His IRIS budget has enough funding to pay for it, but he has had ZERO services or supports until recently” (because no workers were available). “I need to know that my son will have the opportunity to lead a full life whether I am beside him or not.”

Dementia Families Need a Tax Break


Alice, the wife of a man with Alzheimer’s in the Fox Valley, says “We moved to our dream home near Minocqua to enjoy the life we worked hard to experience.” When his disease progressed, “our doctor saw what caregiving was doing to me”. The doctor told me that in our rural area, “there is no support for you and your husband here”. So we had to move into town. But even there, “the disease doesn’t get better; it doesn’t let up, it won’t go away; it WILL continue to wear families down until CHANGES are made. We are RIGHT here and we need assistance. One thing that the government could do is provide tax breaks to dementia families.”

Caregiver Crisis Coalition Proposals for the 2023-25 State Budget

1. A 25% Increase in Family Care capitation rates, with a commensurate increase in IRIS rates.

2. Increase Medicaid Personal Care (MAPC) rates to cover the actual costs incurred by MAPC provider agencies (benefits children and adults).

3. Create a Family Caregiver Tax Credit (benefits children and adults).
Eliminate Income Cliffs for Childcare Assistance.

4. Expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (benefits children and adults). 

5. Increase Funding for Respite Services (Benefits for Children and Adults).

6. Medicaid Expansion (Benefits for Children and Adults). 

Legislators Need to Hear from You!

Click on the link above to read the full Caregiver Crisis Coalition of Wisconsin’s Budget Proposal. Once complete, follow the steps to advocate to your legislators!

Download our Legislator Alert Message form:

The Legislator Alert Message form is an easy way for you to share your story with your local legislator. You can download the fillable form, complete your personal message, and save the completed form. Feel free to reference any of the points mentioned in the Caregiver Crisis Coalition Budget Proposal. Personal stories are also very powerful! After your message is complete you can send your message to your legislator as an email attachment. Or you can print your message, and mail it in a regular envelope to your legislator.

How to find your Legislator: 

Go the the Wisconsin State Legislature website and enter your address under "Who Are My Legislators." 

Accessing the Media

The media is a great resource to help spread your message far and wide! Click on the links below for tips on writing a press release, submitting a letter to an editor and so much more! 

How to Submit a Letter to the Editor

How to Submit an Op-Ed

Writing a Press Advisory

Writing a Press Release

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