Pre-Employment and Transition Services

Introduction

Pre-employment and transition services help people with disabilities prepare for and get employment. DRSC envisions a society where all people, regardless of the type or severity of disability, are productive members of society with opportunities for competitive, integrated employment.

What We Do

  • Provide information and referral services for disability-related pre-employment and transition issues.
  • Provide assistance and self-advocacy training to people with disabilities to assist them in addressing their pre-employment issues.
  • Provide advocacy and legal assistance to protect the rights of people with disabilities.
  • Provide education, training, and outreach to the community about disability related employment rights.

When We Can Help

Pre-Employment 

  • You have been turned down for vocational rehabilitation services by South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD) or South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB). You need help communicating with your vocational rehabilitation Counselor or other employment service provider.
  • You need a better employment plan from SCVRD and SCCB to help you go to work.
  • You have concerns about the employment preparation services you are receiving through your Medicaid waiver.
  • You do not get “informed choice” in selecting your providers, services, or work goals.
  • You have been denied services you need to obtain, maintain, or advance in employment.

School to Work Transition

  • Not being aware of transition services
  • Inadequate transition planning
  • Not on a high school diploma track
  • Outside agencies not being involved

Post Secondary Education  

  • Not getting adequate and timely support for training, technical or community schools, or colleges and universities.
  • Not getting accommodations or assistive technology needed for your program of study.
  • Physical accessibility concerns.

Barriers to Work

  • Social Security disability beneficiaries concerned with employment networks.
  • Social Security disability beneficiaries are not aware of work incentives that can help them work.
  • When other things create barriers to going back to work such as inaccessible public transportation, assistive technology, etc.

Vocational Rehabilitation in South Carolina

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) provides goods and services to help people with disabilities get jobs and support themselves. Depending on your needs, VR can help you prepare for work, find a job, keep your job, get your job back, earn higher pay or get promotions in your job or otherwise advance in employment. In South Carolina, the VR program is handled by two separate state agencies The South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD) and the South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB).

  • The first step in getting VR services is contacting your local VR office. See contact info below. You do not need a referral to receive services. You will be assigned a counselor who will work with you to complete your application and request information from your current care providers, which will be reviewed to determine if you are eligible for services.
  • To be eligible for VR services, you must have physical or mental health disability, which makes it difficult for you to work, and you want to and are able to work.
  • High school and transition students who are looking to join the workforce or for part-time job experiences may be eligible.
  • SSI and SSDI recipients are presumed eligible and are considered to have a disability.
  • Unless there is an interim determination of eligibility for provisional VR services, the decision on eligibility must be made within 60 days.

  • Evaluations and tests
  • Counseling and guidance
  • Work training (including college, technical schools, on-the-job training, etc.)
  • Assistive technology services and devices to include; certain types of software, augmentative communication devices, etc.
  • Interpreter services (if you are deaf or hard of hearing)
  • Orientation and mobility training (if you have a visual disability)
  • Supported employment (job coaches and other supports on a job)
  • Transportation (to get to services)
  • Personal assistance services (on- or off-the-job)
  • Occupational licenses, tools and equipment
  • Other goods and services to reach a work goal

  • Once you are found eligible for services, your VR Counselor will work with you to develop a plan for rehabilitation services.  This plan is called an “Individualized Plan for Employment” (IPE). You have the right to receive information from VR that will help you make decisions about your plan for employment. This includes the right to know:
    • What goods and services are available to you
    • How to access the goods and services
    • How long you can receive the goods and services
  • People with disabilities (and their representatives) are full partners in the development and achievement of the IPE. A VR Counselor’s role is to assist you with making meaningful and informed choices throughout your time in the VR program. If you disagree with a decision made by your Counselor, you may appeal the decision and seek help from the Client Assistance Program (CAP). Once you have all the information you need, it is your right to decide on your employment goal, what goods and services you need to achieve your goal, the settings where you will receive services, and the providers who will provide your services.
  • If you do not know what type of job you want, VR can do an assessment to determine your strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities and interests.
  •  VR consumers who are qualified should be encouraged to pursue advanced training in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, computer science, medicine, law, business or other careers that are competitive in our modern economy.  The IPE is reviewed at least once a year and may be amended at any time

  • Keep asking questions until you are sure you have enough information to make good decisions about your job goal, services, providers of services, and location of services.
  • Be sure your job goal matches your abilities, desire, interest, and priorities.
  • Ask about the success of any outside providers you are considering for your services.
  • You have the right to change your IPE or refuse to sign it if you don’t agree with the employment plan.
  • If there are delays in communicating with your Counselor or in receiving IPE services contact your Counselor’s supervisor or Disability Rights South Carolina which is the Client Assistance Program (CAP) for South Carolina.
  • When you arrange an appointment at VR, state the reason so the Counselor or other VR staff will be prepared for your visit.
  • At the end of any visit with your Counselor or other VR staff know what both you and they must do next.

If you are dissatisfied with any decision VR has made in your case, such as an eligibility decision, a decision that you cannot benefit from VR services, or a decision not to provide a service to you, there are several ways you can have the decision reconsidered.   You can contact DRSC which is the Client Assistance Program (CAP) for South Carolina to help you navigate this process.

South Carolina Commission for the Blind

Phone: 888-335-5951

South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department

Phone: 800-832-7526

Words to Know

ADA is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.

Any device, software, or equipment that helps to increase or maintain the ability of persons with disabilities function in daily living.

Any service that directly assists a person with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

Consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential private non-profit agencies that are designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities, and that provides an array of independent living services.

A federally funded and designated program to advise, assist and advocate for individuals who receive or want to receive services from the South Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (SCVRD) or The South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB) or the Centers for Independent Living (CILS).

The federal agency responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and related conditions, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

Entities that enter into an agreement with the Social Security Administration (Social Security) to either provide or coordinate the delivery of services to Social Security disability beneficiaries.

The term outlined by IDEA to define the written document that states the individualized goals, objectives and services for a student receiving special education.

A written plan outlining a participant’s vocational goal and the services to be provided to reach that goal.

Any change to the application or hiring process, to the job, to the way the job is done, to policies, or to the work environment that allows a person with a disability who is qualified for the job to perform the essential functions of that job and enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.  Accommodations may be considered “reasonable” if they do not create an undue hardship or a direct threat.

A state agency in charge of vocational rehabilitation in South Carolina.

A state agency in charge of vocational rehabilitation in South Carolina.

A set of activities as listed in the IEP that facilitate the student’s movement to postsecondary options; may include vocational assessment, career exploration, and vocational education.

Services which help people who have disabilities prepare for, find, keep, or advance in a job.

DRSC University Webinar

Transition 101: The Role of Vocational Rehabilitation in the Transition Process

SC Employment First Initiative Act

Employment First means that employment in the community should be the first and preferred option for people with disabilities. This bill was signed by the Governor McMaster in May 2022. It established an Employment First task force for South Carolina, addressing how to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

A diverse group of people with and without disabilities in the SC Governor's office, surrounding the desk while Henry McMaster signs the joint resolution. Image one is a wide shot where everyone is looking to the camera and smiling while Governor McMaster signs