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South Carolina Disability Law

Disability Rights in South Carolina

If you are a resident of South Carolina and are a person with a disability, learning about state-specific resources to support people with disabilities is an important way to you advocate for yourself. If you are a friend, family member, or caregiver of a person with disabilities in South Carolina, there are organizations to help you in supporting your loved one by addressing the unique needs associated with different disabilities.

Olmstead is the most important U.S. Supreme Court decision for people with disabilities.  The 1999 Supreme Court decision was based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Many people with disabilities in South Carolina live in an institutional setting or are at risk of being institutionalized. In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Olmstead v. L.C., ruling that the ADA prohibits unnecessary segregation in such settings. People with disabilities have a right to live and receive services in a community-based setting — providing them independence and opportunities to fully participate in their communities.


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Presently South Carolina does not have an Olmstead plan, which the Olmstead ruling defines the responsibility of each state to develop an Olmstead plan. Respective requirements for an Olmstead plan are outlined by The United States Justice Department (DOJ). It must be a working plan with concrete and reliable commitments for delivering individuals with disabilities opportunities to live, work and be served in integrated settings.


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South Carolina Disability Rights

The Disability Rights South Carolina (DRSC) is the designated Protection and Advocacy System for South Carolina serving people with disabilities. This private state-wide nonprofit provides resources, training, and education to help disabled individuals understand their disability rights. The DRSC also monitors community facilities that serve people with disabilities, working to improve laws, regulations, policies, or practices to prevent abuse or neglect of those with disabilities. They work hard to enable disabled individuals to gain more independence and full inclusion in the workplace and within the local community.

Recently a press conference was co-hosted by the DRSC in partnership with the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH), to discuss and release a new report. The IMPH is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to collectively inform policy to improve health and health care in South Carolina.

The report named Opportunities for South Carolina to Strengthen Home and Community-Based Services for People with Disabilities, includes how the Olmstead ruling has been affecting South Carolinians as well as goes on to explain occasions for state and local entities to plan and collaborate to improve the lives of people with disabilities across the state.

“This report presents the state of South Carolina with an opportunity to plan, collaborate and execute actions that will improve the lives of people with disabilities across the Palmetto State,” says Beth Franco, executive director of DRSC. “We want people with disabilities to be able to join the workforce, pursue an education, volunteer and participate in the community free from unnecessary limitations.”


What The Report Means to South Carolinians

The report includes conversations with state agencies, community organizations and South Carolinians with disabilities, disclosing numerous of barriers to Olmstead compliance, including the following:

  • Health care workforce crisis
  • Waiting lists for Medicaid waivers
  • Employment opportunities for people with disabilities
  • Accessible Housing
  • Accessible Transportation
  • Assistive technology

“South Carolina can expand on the work it has already done to become a leader in strengthening home and community-based services,” says Maya Pack, executive director of IMPH. “The recommendations in this report can be a key step in improving the lives of people with disabilities in our communities and beyond.”

The DRSC and IMPH created this report to prevent violations of the Olmstead ruling and the risk of litigation that is occurring in other states. Currently there are 53 Olmstead-related cases in Circuit Courts of Appeal across the country. Many local agencies have worked hard to improve the lives of South Carolinians.

The specific recommendations for South Carolina to move forward with an Olmstead plan include:

  • Assigning an Olmstead compliance coordinator and Olmstead implementation council
  • Developing a South Carolina Olmstead plan
  • Distributing South Carolina Olmstead plan responsibilities
  • Implementing an accountability and evaluation process

The report was also generated to inform policies and practices that protect and enhance the lives of people with disabilities in the state of South Carolina today and in the future.

Lowery Law Group is your legal support in South Carolina. We provide assistance to those with disabilities. Whether their rights have been violated or denied a service or claim due to their disability, Lowery Law is there to help you through the complicated Social Security Disability process.


Contact Lowery Law Group at info@lowerylegal.com or call (843) 991-0733. There is no fee for a free consultation regarding your claim. Lowery Law Group is experienced in handling cases in South Carolina as well as Georgia.