Priority Overview

To best use limited resources, Congress requires that each protection and advocacy agency gathers advice from people with disabilities to establish "priorities."  These priorities make up DRW's work. The process for giving input so that DRW can develop its priorities is described below.

Public Input

We live by the principle “Nothing About Us Without Us."  We welcome comments from everyone; but at the end of day our Board must be convinced DRW is taking direction from the people DRW serves. Go to the "Provide Feedback" page to learn about the ways to provide input.

Scope of Each Priority 

People are sometimes confused by DRW priorities. They will look at the list of priority titles, find their issue, and think that means DRW will automatically file a lawsuit on their behalf.  It is more complicated than that.  DRW uses a range of advocacy tools and strategies to address disability-related issues. Learn more about how DRW crafts the scope of its work in its priority areas.

Case Acceptance

In addition to having a client who meets the eligibility requirements and has an issue within DRW priorities, a potential case must go through a case acceptance process where a broad range of factors are considered. Learn more about DRW's case acceptance process.

Priority Funding 

DRW has multiple funding sources. The number of priorities, how they are chosen, and how much money the funder provides varies with each funding source. The important thing to remember is that not all priorities are available under each funding source and the funding level available for a given priority will vary with each funding source. For DRW to provide advocacy services there must be a match between an individual’s eligibility for a funding source and the priorities under that fund. Also funding from the appropriate fund must be available. Additionally, DRW will look at the potential legal and factual support for the case. These are factors considered in the case acceptance process. See the funding sources for DRW's priorities.  To the extent lobbying work is done under any priority, it is accomplished with private donations, and not federal dollars. 

Current Priorities

DRW is now in a multi-year plan that runs from 2016 to 2020.  See the current priorities.


DRW accommodates people with disabilities, and people who don’t speak or read English, in our priority setting process. Requests should be made by emailing [email protected] or calling 800-562-2702. DRW uses a Language Line to speak to people in languages other than English.