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Advancing the Human & Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois


Cases We Handle

The following is a non-exhaustive list of individual cases we may handle at Equip for Equality.  For a complete description of the Equip for Equality’s case priorities, including our systemic work and special initiatives that are not listed here, please read Equip for Equality’s current Priorities Plan.

Case acceptance guidelines

All cases need to meet the following general case acceptance guidelines:

  1. The issue is related to disability;
  2. The case has merit;
  3. There is a definable client case objective;
  4. The client is willing to participate actively and cooperate in the case resolution process, as appropriate;
  5. The client would not likely prevail without assistance from Equip for Equality;
  6. An unfavorable outcome would have a significant negative impact on the individual or the disability community;
  7. There are few or no appropriate referrals, and
  8. Equip for Equality has sufficient resources to devote to the matter.


Below are the types of issues we handle, including some examples of each type:

Abuse Investigations

In general, we handle cases that involve personal safety, basic Health and fundamental liberties, for example:

  • Violations of an individual’s fundamental rights, including the right to be safe and free from abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation
  • Misuse of physical holds, mechanical and chemical restraints, including forced medications, and seclusion
  • Inadequate discharge planning  and transitions from residential care facilities.
  • Investigations into deaths or serious injuries resulting from the use of physical holds, mechanical or chemical restraints or seclusion in all settings
  • Investigations of deaths which illustrate a systemic failure to ensure the personal safety and well-being of persons served
  • Failure to provide adequate and individualized supports and services in residential care settings resulting in serious harm
  • Improper restrictions of fundamental individual rights

Access Barriers (including Communication Access)

We help eliminate barriers to physical buildings, programs, services and communications, such as:

  • Access to Public Accommodations (including educational institutions)
  • Access to Facilities, Goods and Services
  • Access to Government Services and programs (including voting, educational institutions, etc.)

Community Integration

  • Help with living or maintain living in the most integrated community setting
  • Involuntary discharges from community settings including CILAs (Community Integrated Living Arrangements)
  • Home services denials and reduction in hours by the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Rehabilitation Services or by the Illinois Department on Aging

Employment Discrimination based on disability

  • Adverse action due to disability
  • Failure to hire, termination, or demotion
  • Discrimination based on association with a person with a disability
  • Reasonable accommodation requests
  • Disability/Medical-related inquiries on application or at job
  • Personality testing
  • Retaliation, harassment, hostile work environments

Healthcare: Access to Assistive Technology

We help get funding for assistive technology equipment and services through:

– Medicaid
– Medicare- Illinois Department of Human Services – Division of Rehabilitation Services (DHS-DRS)
– Private insurance
– A PASS administered by the Social Security Administration
– Other funding sources


  • In Cook County – Limited to cases involving service animals, emotional support animals or assistive technology
  • In all other Illinois counties – Limited to cases where (1) people are not receiving reasonable accommodations related to disability, or (2) are unable to fully enjoy the property or are at risk of eviction because of disability discrimination.

Self-Determination and Personal Decision Making

  • Prevention and termination of guardianship
  • Assistance with understanding the rights of individuals with disabilities who have guardians (e.g. marriage, voting, medical decisions, etc.)
  • Requests to limit the role of a guardian in decision making
  • Advance directives and change in Social Security representative payee (In these issues, we will provide self-advocacy assistance and referrals, but we will not prepare the actual documents or provide legal representation.)

Special Education

  • Assistive Technology
  • Eligibility for Special Education Services
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meetings- We may attend IEP meetings for cases that are within our priorities or that have issues that can be handled by our Special Projects.  For more information about one of our specific Special Projects, click on the links below:

Charter schools
Juvenile Justice
Spanish Speaking Families

  • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) – cases where the student is not in the student’s LRE or is being removed from the student’s LRE for virtually the entire school day will be given priority over other LRE cases.  In most cases, the LRE will be a setting with non-disabled peers; but for those with communication needs or other unique needs, the LRE may be a setting that provides educational interaction with teachers and peers in another setting.
  • Restraint, Seclusion and Abuse
  • Service Issues – We only provide self advocacy assistance for service issues, unless pro bono attorneys are available to provide additional assistance.
  • Suspension and Expulsion
  • Transition Services and Plans


We typically only provide extended assistance for transportation cases, unless the case involves systemic issues.  We do not handle personal injury cases involving transportation companies or issues.


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Last updated: December 04, 2023

This website is made possible by funding support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, both the Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of Equip for Equality and do not necessarily represent the official view of any of these agencies.

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