New Report: Unjustified Isolation, Unwarranted Assumptions

More than twenty six years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), far too many South Carolinians with intellectual and related disabilities still lack opportunities for real work.

Protection & Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. (P&A) has published a report “Unjustified Isolation, Unwarranted Assumptions: Why South Carolina’s System of Sheltered Employment Services Needs to Change.” During 2014-2015, P&A monitored ten work programs operated by local disabilities and special needs boards and private providers in South Carolina.  The facilities provide career preparation and employment services funded primarily through Medicaid waivers.  These segregated programs raise serious questions about the state’s compliance with the ADA’s mandate that individuals with disabilities receive services in the most integrated environment and Medicaid rules regarding home and community-based waiver services. Although these visits were more than two years ago, we are concerned that there have not been any significant changes to these work programs.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) is currently conducting evaluations of these work programs for compliance with the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Final Rule.  Since the deadline for compliance has been extended from 2019 to 2022, SCDHHS and service providers have much more time to develop plans for true integration. People with disabilities want to and can work in the community with appropriate supports and services. Changing the current segregated model will be difficult, but South Carolina must move to a community-based model focusing on each individual’s unique desires, abilities, and potential.

For more information please contact:

Amanda Hess, Esq.