Exiting high school is such an exciting time for young adults!


The South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) places a high priority on competitive, integrated employment, community involvement and creating a meaningful life for young adults as they begin adulthood. DDSN also understands that many young adults and their families may have questions. DDSN would love to support you on this journey and connect you to some resources that are available. There are several agencies, organizations, and resources that are here to support you on this journey whether you are looking for, employment, college programs, day programs, or social opportunities, all of which, we believe, lead to the most independent, rewarding life.


Are you currently eligible with DDSN?

If you are looking to receive DDSN services, you will need to complete the DDSN eligibility process. If you are not sure if you have a case with DDSN, it is very important to check eligibility. To start the process or check eligibility, click here.


Ready to be independent?

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The Department of Disabilities and Special Needs has three Home and Community based waivers. A waiver allows you to receive services in the community and is offered through Medicaid. A waiver is a funding source that covers over and above what regular Medicaid covers.

College/University Options in South Carolina

There are six college programs in South Carolina that offer 2- or 4-year certificate programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These programs embrace inclusion and individualization based on your interest and needs.

Contact these schools individually to find out more information about their programs and to sign up for open-house or a tour:

Charleston REACH

Carolina LIFE

Clemson LIFE

Winthrop LIFE

Pacer LIFE

Coastal Carolina LIFE

Clemson University offers a program called The Spectrum Program which provides individualized services beyond standard accommodations. The Spectrum Program is designed for individuals with disabilities who are interested in taking regular classes for their undergraduate degree, but still need support in achieving academic, social, and career and professional development success.

The Spectrum Program


Employment options

If you are interested in working independently the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD) might be able to support you and your needs. Vocational Rehabilitation (SCVRD), prepares and assists eligible South Carolinians with disabilities to achieve and maintain competitive employment in the community. After SCVRD has helped you secure and stabilize your employment, DDSN can provide long-term, ongoing support for you to maintain and grow in your employment.

Vocational Rehab

If you are currently eligible with DDSN and interested in working, you can fill out a VR referral and mail, email, or scan it to one of the Post-Secondary Transition Coordinators. The Transition Coordinators will send it to SCVRD directly. A VR counselor will connect with you to discuss your eligibility for the program and employment options. The VR referral also allows communication between you and SCVRD, DDSN, and your support system.


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There are many school districts that provide an opportunity for supported employment while learning job skills and gaining experience. These programs around the state are called Project Search. Project Search is an unpaid (some are going to be paid now) opportunity to learn job skills with similar peers, a teacher, and a job coach from SCVRD. Contact your school district to see if Project Search is available in your area.




Learning how to live independently

South Carolina has three independent, nonprofit organizations that promote independent living across the state. These Centers for Independent Living (CILs) offer five core services:

  • Information & Referral
  • Peer Support
  • Independent Living Skills Training
  • Advocacy
  • Youth Transition


Able SC, Walton Options, and AccessAbility are divided regionally. Look at the map below to learn which center for independent living serves your county!

South Carolina Centers for Independent Living Coverage Areas

Ability Button

Walton Options Button

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More Resources to become I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T

  • Medicaid: South Carolina’s Medicaid program, provides healthcare coverage and support services to eligible individuals, including those with disabilities.  

  • Supplemental Security Administration: SSA is a federal program that provides financial assistance to eligible individuals with disabilities, helping to meet their basic needs and improve their quality of life.  https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/

  • Palmetto ABLE Savings Program: Palmetto ABLE Savings program allows individuals with disabilities the opportunity to save and invest money while maintaining eligibility for important needs-based benefits.  https://treasurer.sc.gov/what-we-do/for-citizens/able-savings-program/

  • Family Connections: Family Connections is a support network providing resources, education, and connections to families of individuals with disabilities to foster understanding and navigate the journey.  https://www.familyconnectionsc.org/

  • Client Assistance Program: CAP is designed to assist individuals who receive or want to receive services from the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (VR), or the South Carolina Commission for the Blind (SCCB) understand their rights to services. CAP helps people with disabilities who want to get services from VR or SCCB

  • SNAP: SNAP provides food benefits to low-income families to supplement their grocery budget so they can afford the nutritious food essential to health and well-being

  • United Way: SC 211 provides information and referral services for all of South Carolina to those needing assistance with rent, electric bills, food pantries, shelters, legal aid, etc.

  • For more resources, click here.


Contact your local Post-Secondary Transition Coordinator if you have more questions!

Transition Coord Map