group of people

Listing: Advocacy Groups for People with Disabilities

Media Type

Online Resource

Reviewed Date

Feb 26, 2024

This is a listing of local and national organizations that aim to empower individuals and influence political, economic, and social institutions with the goal of independent living for people with disabilities.


Access Living
Access Living is the Center for Independent Living (CIL) that serves the City of Chicago. They are a local, disability consumer controlled, cross disability, nonresidential, private nonprofit. They do systems advocacy at the local, state and national levels, and coordinate with a wide range of policymakers. Their mission is to ignite disability power and pride, provide critical services, and break down systemic barriers to create a stronger, more inclusive society.
Voice: 312-640-2100
TTY: 312-640-2102

ADAPT is a national grassroots community that organizes disability rights activists to engage in nonviolent direct action to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom.

American Association of People with Disabilities
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. As a national cross-disability rights organization, AAPD advocates for full civil rights for the over 60 million Americans with disabilities by promoting equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation.

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities
The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, headquartered in Washington DC, is the largest coalition of national organizations working together to advocate for federal public policy that ensures the self-determination, independence, empowerment, integration and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society.

The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, founded in 1979, is a leading national civil rights law and policy center directed by individuals with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities. The mission of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund is to advance the civil and human rights of people with disabilities through legal advocacy, training, education, and public policy and legislative development.

Disabled in Action
Based in New York, NY, Disabled in Action is a civil rights organization committed to ending discrimination against people with disabilities — all disabilities.  They fight to eliminate the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from enjoying full equality in American society. Founded in 1970, DIA is a democratic, not-for-profit, tax-exempt, membership organization.

Equip for Equality
Equip for Equality’s mission is to advance the human and civil rights of children and adults with disabilities in Illinois. To be served by Equip for Equality, you have to have a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Under the ADA, you have a disability if you have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
312-341-0022 | 800-537-2632 (Voice) | 800-610-2779 (TTY)

Greater National Advocates
Greater National Advocate's ( mission is to wake up the nation to the lifesaving benefits of Independent Patient Advocacy and provide patients and loved ones with immediate online access to a trusted network of qualified practitioners. We use fact‑based media to spread awareness and steer patients and their loved ones to where they can learn more about Independent Patient Advocacy and find the professional support they need.
120 W. Madison Suite 1108
Chicago, IL 60602

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. 
(800)526-7234 | (800) 232-9675

Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities
The Disability Resources Division provides Advocacy Services, which involves helping people with disabilities under the age of 60 resolve issues with other agencies.

Medicare Rights Center
The Medicare Rights Center works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.

Michigan Disability Rights Coalition
Michigan Disability Rights Coalition is a group of organizations and individuals that are dedicated to raising awareness and advocating for people with disabilities in the state of Michigan. MDRC cultivates disability pride and strengthens the disability movement by recognizing disability as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity while collaborating to dismantle all forms of oppression.

National Council on Disability
NCD is an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities.

National Council on Independent Living
NCIL advances independent living and the rights of people with disabilities through consumer-driven advocacy. NCIL efforts include: promoting social change, working to eliminate disability-based discrimination, and creating opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in the legislative process to effect change.

The National Disability Rights Network
The National Disability Rights Network’s goal is to give people with disabilities an equal opportunity to succeed in society. The site offers legal information and tips on how to be an effective advocate by providing fact sheets and court cases as examples as well as a list of common acronyms and terms to help clarify the legal jargon and abbreviations. The Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.
Voice: 202-408-9514
TDD/TTY: 202-408-9521

Rehabilitation International
Rehabilitation International is a global organization and network that empowers persons with disabilities and provides sustainable solutions toward achieving a more inclusive society. Rehabilitation International’s mission is to advance the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities across the world.
RespectAbility is a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, and that advances policies and practices that empower people with disabilities to have a better future. Their mission is to fight stigmas and advance opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.

This nonprofit organization advocates for equality for individuals with disabilities, and promotes social justice to create a community that is not segregated according to ability. The website offers information and resources, as well as updates on ongoing advocacy work, membership and conferences.

United Nations
This organization focuses on advocating for the “rights and dignity of persons with disabilities” on an international level. Here you’ll find updates on the latest international activity and statistics regarding disability. This is an excellent source for fact sheets on key issues in the worldwide disability community and resources on the UN Intergovernmental Process and UN System.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities funds state-level protection and advocacy programs:

  • State Councils on Developmental Disabilities - State Councils on Developmental Disabilities are federally funded, self-governing organizations charged with identifying the most pressing needs of people with developmental disabilities in their state or territory. Councils are committed to advancing public policy and systems change that help these individuals gain more control over their lives by working to address identified needs by conducting advocacy, systems change, and capacity building efforts that promote self-determination, integration, and inclusion.
  • State Protection and Advocacy Systems - Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As) work at the state level to protect individuals with disabilities by empowering them and advocating on their behalf. P&As provide legal support to traditionally unserved or underserved populations to help them navigate the legal system to achieve resolution and encourage systems change.

World Institute on Disability
The mission of the World Institute on Disability (WID) in communities and nations worldwide is to eliminate barriers to full social integration and increase employment, economic security and health care for persons with disabilities. WID creates innovative programs and tools; conducts research, public education, training and advocacy campaigns; and provides technical assistance.


This content is for informational purposes only and may not be comprehensive. Information contained does not imply an endorsement from Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, and does not replace the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.  See here  for further details.

© Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago)
Henry B. Betts LIFE Center – (312) 238-5433

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