Established in 1977 as the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system for the State of South Carolina, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. (P&A) is mandated by State and Federal law to protect the rights of people with disabilities in South Carolina by enabling individuals to advocate for themselves, by speaking on their behalf when they have been discriminated against or denied a service to which they are entitled, and by promoting policies and services which respect their choices.
P&A is a private, non-profit South Carolina corporation governed by a volunteer board of directors. As required by Federal law, P&A is independent of all agencies that provide treatment or other services to people with disabilities.
This topic provides a variety of information about Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. (P&A). You may read the topic sequentially or jump to specific sections by following the links below.
· P&A Services
· P&A Teams
· P&A Programs
o Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PAIDD)
o Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI)
o Protection and Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR)
o Protection and Advocacy for [Individuals in Need of] Assistive Technology (PAAT)
o Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS)
o Protection and Advocacy for Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI)
o Protection and Advocacy for Voter Access (PAVA)
o State Appropriation
· Contacting P&A
· Additional Information
· See Also
P&A advocates provide brief, written, or oral information about callers' problems and suggest ways to resolve the problems, including information about additional resources.
This service is provided under P&A's annually-established priorities. Callers only become clients if they have met case selection criteria set annually by P&A.
P&A efforts often result in changing laws, regulations, policies, practices or organizational structures to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve greater independence, productivity and inclusion within the community and the workforce.
P&A identifies disability communities that are in need of receiving self-advocacy training, education and outreach. Advocates conduct consumer focus groups, make presentations, and meet with community leaders as established in annual priorities.
P&A provides services to individuals with any type of disability throughout the entire state of South Carolina. P&A adopts priorities for the services it provides on a yearly basis. Since demands for assistance exceed resources, these priority areas direct activities.
P&A's activities are divided into teams that work to protect the rights of people with disabilities. These teams are listed below with a short description of each.
This team focuses on assisting individuals with disabilities who choose to move from institutions to their own homes in the community; and on preventing unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities who are currently living in the community. This team also focuses on ensuring that people with disabilities have access to goods, services, places, and employment equal to that enjoyed by people without disabilities.
This team focuses on preventing abuse and neglect of people with disabilities residing in facilities.
This team focuses on children with disabilities who have been suspended for six or more days this year or have been expelled; or who are not receiving assistive technology equipment at school; or who are facing institutionalization at Department of Juvenile Justice because of charges at school.
This team receives telephone calls and responds to problems or issues presented by callers. This team of professional advocates provides advice, mails information and may make referrals to appropriate agencies or organizations. The I&R team refers callers who meet certain eligibility criteria for possible case representation to the Issue teams described above.
This team provides information about P&A's role in the community to rural and minority persons with disabilities.
In South Carolina, P&A is responsible for implementing a number of different Protection and Advocacy programs authorized under Federal statutes. These programs, along with links to more detailed information, are described in the sections below.
The PAIDD program was established in 1977 by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. With PAIDD funding, P&A can serve individuals who have a federally defined developmental disability and have been abused, neglected, or discriminated against because of their disability or denied a service to which they are entitled. PAIDD is authorized in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, 42 USC 15001, PL 106-402.
More information about the Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PAIDD) program in South Carolina is available online at:
In 1986, the PAIMI program was established at P&A. The purpose of this act is to protect individuals with mental illness from abuse and neglect in institutions. In 2001, this mandate was expanded to include individuals with a mental illness living in the community. PAIMI is authorized in the Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act, 42 USC 10801, PL 106-310.
More information about the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program in South Carolina is available online at:
In 1991, the PAIR program was established at P&A. The purpose of this act is to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities who are not covered under PAIDD or PAIMI. PAIR is authorized in the Rehabilitation Act, 29USC 794e, PL 106-402.
More information about the Protection and Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR) program in South Carolina is available online at:
In 1994, P&A established the PAAT program through the Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities of 1987 (PAAT). The purpose of this act is to provide advocacy services to people with disabilities who are denied funding for assistive technology devices and services. PAAT is authorized in the Assistive Technology Act, 29 USC 3011, 3012, PL 105-394.
More information about the Protection and Advocacy for [Individuals in Need of] Assistive Technology (PAAT) program in South Carolina is available online at:
In 2001, the PABSS program was established at P&A. PABSS provides statewide training about beneficiaries' rights under the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (TWWIIA) (42 USC 1320b-20, PL 106-170) and about appropriate support services from agencies and employers. P&A provides individual representation to recipients of Social Security benefits who face barriers to their return to work.
More information about the Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) program in South Carolina is available online at:
In 2002, the PATBI program was established at P&A. This program was created as part of the reauthorization of the TBI program in the Children's Health Act of 2000. It provides funding to P&A to advocate on behalf of individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury for services to meet their unique needs. PATBI is authorized in the Children's Health Act of 2000, 42 USC 300d-53, PL 106-310.
More information about the Protection and Advocacy for Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI) program in South Carolina is available online at:
In 2003, the PAVA program was established at P&A. The goals of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 include making access to the electoral process equal for all Americans. The act includes specific provisions for people with disabilities. It also includes funding to P&As to ensure participation by individuals with disabilities in all parts of the electoral process--registering to vote, accessing polling places, and casting a vote. PAVA is authorized in the Help America Vote Act of 2002, 42 USC 15461-62, PL 107-252.
More information about the Protection and Advocacy for Voter Access (PAVA) program in South Carolina is available online at:
P&A supports many activities with its appropriation from the SC General Assembly. P&A uses the state money to fund the Minority Rural Outreach Program (MROP), which functions through the Outreach Team at P&A, and to serve clients with special education problems who are not eligible under federal funding streams.
More information about programs supported by the State Appropriation in South Carolina is available online at:
The Federal laws creating the programs above, in addition to State legislation, make P&A responsible for serving all persons in South Carolina with substantial disabilities, not just those with developmental disabilities.
A person with a disability living anywhere in South Carolina who feels that he or she has been discriminated against because of the disability, or that he or she has been denied a service to which he or she is entitled, can call the P&A toll free number to speak with a P&A advocate. Voice and TTY service is available during business hours, and a voicemail messaging system operates 24 hours a day.
Call the P&A Help Line at:
1-866-ASK-PAPD (1-866-275-7273) [Toll-free from South Carolina]
(803) 782-0639 [Local for Columbia, SC or out of state]
The advocate will immediately provide the caller with information and resources that will better equip the caller for self-advocacy. Individual case representation may only be provided to those people whose situations meet annually established case priorities. Due to limited resources, funding sources require that every year P&A set priorities to determine the cases that will be accepted.
Protection & Advocacy for People with Disabilities
3710 Landmark Drive, Suite 208
Columbia, SC 29204
P&A has 4 offices located throughout the state of South Carolina. Visit the office closest to you. A link below each listing leads to a map and directions to each office.
3710 Landmark Drive, Suite 208
Columbia, SC 29204
Low Country Office
1569 Sam Rittenberg Blvd.
Charleston, SC 29407
Pee Dee Office
2215 W. Palmetto Street
Florence, SC 29501
1 Chick Springs Rd., Suite 101-A
Greenville, SC 29069
See the Protection and Advocacy Systems - Overview topic for an extensive general explanation of what the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems are, how they work, and what services they provide.
A separate topic explains the Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) Program.
A wide variety of Reports, Newsletters, Brochures, Guides, and Fact Sheets covering many topics of interest to people with disabilities in South Carolina is available on the P&A News and Resources page online at:
Advocacy Services - Overview
Advocacy Services - Client Advocacy Program (DMH)
Advocacy Services - Adult Protective Services (DSS)
Advocacy Services - Client Assistance Program - South Carolina
Protection and Advocacy Systems - Overview
Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) Program
Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act)
State Councils on Developmental Disabilities
University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD)
Information for this topic was drawn from:
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