Office of Executive Policy and Programs (OEPP)

Client Assistance Program

WRITTEN NOTICE OF PROPOSED REDESIGNATION OF SOUTH CAROLINA CLIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM TO PROTECTION AND ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, INC

Federal law requires that a state or territory, under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, must establish a Client Assistance Program to assist individuals who apply for or receive vocational rehabilitation or independent living services under the Act, 29 U.S.C. Section 732.

The purpose of the Client Assistance Program is to advise and inform clients, client applicants, and other individuals with disabilities of all the available services and benefits under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and of the services and benefits available to them under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition, the Client Assistance Program may assist and advocate for clients and client applicants in relation to projects, programs, and services provided under the Rehabilitation Act. In providing assistance and advocacy under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act, the Client Assistance Program may provide assistance and advocacy with respect to services that are directly related to employment for the client or client applicant.

The South Carolina Client Assistance Program was created to satisfy the federal mandate. The Client Assistance Program advocates for clients with disabilities in South Carolina who are seeking or receiving services through the Vocational Rehabilitation Department, Commission for the Blind, and all Independent Living Programs and projects funded under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The Client Assistance Program advises clients of their rights and responsibilities in the process of obtaining rehabilitation services funded under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The Client Assistance Program explains specific rehabilitation services and benefits available to an individual with a disability. The Client Assistance Program helps clients with the appeal process when requested if a client disagrees with the rehabilitation services being provided or are denied services. The Client Assistance Program refers clients to other agencies (public or private) when a client may not be eligible for rehabilitation services. The Client Assistance Program identifies problem areas in the delivery of rehabilitation services to clients with a disability and suggests methods and means of making systemic changes. Finally, the Client Assistance Program assists clients with questions regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title I.

The Client Assistance Program currently resides in the S.C. Department of Administration’s (Admin) Office of Executive Policy and Programs. The Office of Executive Policy and Programs administers programs that were statutorily assigned to Admin with the Restructuring Act of 2014. These programs serve the residents of South Carolina by providing a wide variety of essential services. Admin’s Division of Administration Services, which includes Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology, forms the basis for administrative support for the Client Assistance Program as well as the other programs in OEPP located within the Wade Hampton and Edgar Brown buildings on the Capital Complex in Columbia, South Carolina.  While the Restructuring Act of 2014 transferred OEPP to Admin, the Act also recognized that the various offices and programs within the OEPP would be more appropriately administered by entities other than Admin and therefore directed Admin to report to the General Assembly concerning the appropriate placement of those offices and programs.  After a review, Admin reported to the General Assembly and recommended that the administration of the Client Assistance Program should be transferred to Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc.    

The General Assembly concurred with the Department of Administration's recommendation with regard to the Client Assistance Program and passed Act 52 of 2017 codifying such.  The Governor signed into law Act 52 of 2017 on May 19, 2017.  Act 52 specifically provides that Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. shall administer the Client Assistance Program, as established pursuant to 29 U.S.C. Section 732.   Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. provides a variety of services to include information and referrals, training, abuse and neglect investigation, legal representation, and advocacy for change.  Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc.’s Mission is “[p]rotecting and advancing disability rights” while its Vision is that, “[i]n SC, individuals with disabilities will be fully integrated into the community with control over their own lives; be free from abuse, neglect and exploitation; and have equal access to services.”   Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc.’s mission, values and services align appropriately with the purpose of the Client Assistance Program and will result in an improvement of those services.

The movement of the Client Assistance Program from the Office of Executive Policy and Programs to the Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. as a result of Act 52 of 2017 necessitates a redesignation of the Client Assistance Program as outlined by federal law. The Governor has determined there exists good cause to redesignate the Client Assistance Program to the Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc., and with this letter provides notice to Admin’s Office of Executive Policy and Programs as the existing administrator of the Client Assistance Program, the South Carolina  Vocational Rehabilitation Department (State Agency of Vocational Rehabilitation), the Commission for the Blind, the Statewide Independent Living Council and the Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. as required under federal law of the redesignation of the Client Assistance Program to Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc.

Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. has at least 30 days from receipt of the notice of proposed redesignation to respond to the Governor and that the response must be in writing.

The estimated effective date of the proposed redesignation is August 25, 2017.

The public hearing has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. EST, on July 24, 2017, at the state office of the Vocational Rehabilitation Department, 1410 Boston Ave., West Columbia, SC 29171. Public comment on this redesignation will be accepted on or before the public hearing. The hearing will also be available to the public via video conference in the main conference room at the following locations:

Aiken
855 York St. N.E.
Aiken, South Carolina 29801

Beaufort
747 Robert Smalls Parkway
Beaufort, South Carolina 29902

Conway
3009 Fourth Avenue
Conway, South Carolina 29526

Moncks Corner
2954 South Live Oak Drive
Moncks Corner, South Carolina 29461

Rock Hill
1020 Heckle Blvd.
Rock Hill, South Carolina 29730

Florence
1947 West Darlington Street
Florence, South Carolina 29501

Greenville
105 Parkins Mill Road
Greenville, South Carolina 29607

Orangeburg
1661 Joe S. Jeffords Highway S.E.
Orangeburg, South Carolina 29115

Persons wishing to comment upon the proposed action of the Governor’s Office may appear at the scheduled public hearing. Persons wishing to address their comments, data, views, or arguments, in written or oral form, may also do so via phone/fax, email, or direct mail routed to:

CAP Redesignation
1205 Pendleton Street, Room 471
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
E-mail: cap@admin.sc.gov
Telephone: 803.734.0535
TTY: 803.734.1147
Fax: 803.734.0546

Written or oral submissions must be received by the Client Assistance Program on or before August 7, 2017. Copies of this notice will also be mailed to members of the public upon request.

Notice: People with disabilities who require special accommodations or assistance at the hearing should notify Pam Brown, Office of Executive Policy and Programs, in writing at 1205 Pendleton St., Room 471, Columbia, SC 29201, or call 803.734.3176 or fax to 803.734.0546.

To access the Client Assistance Program click here.