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Agencies for Disabilities

 AGENCIES THAT PROCESS DISABILITY RIGHTS COMPLAINTS

There are several different federal, state, and local entities you can contact regarding a civil rights disability issue in South Carolina.  This is not a comprehensive list of all governmental civil rights agencies, but the entities described here cover a wide spectrum of disability rights topics. 

Each of agencies described here have robust websites, with much useful information, including:

  • Statutes and regulations enforced;
  • How to file complaint, charges;
  • Contacts;
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s);
  • Technical assistance (if available); and
  • Brochures. 

CIVIL RIGHTS PROGRAM, U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, SOUTH CAROLINA

Main webpage: https://www.justice.gov/usao/district/sc  

Civil Rights program webpages: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sc/civil-rights

The U.S. States Attorney’s Office has offices in Columbia, Greenville, Florence, and Charleston.  The Office represents the interests of the United States in civil, criminal, and appellate litigation.  The Civil Rights program includes two AUSA’s (Assistant U.S. Attorneys), one for civil and one for criminal civil rights matters.  These two AUSA’s coordinate DOJ Federal Civil Rights in South Carolina.

Contact – Civil Matters

U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of South Carolina
Civil Rights Program
55 Beattie Place, Suite 700
Greenville, SC 29601
(864) 282-2100
Email: usasc.civilrights@usdoj.gov

Contact – Criminal Civil Rights Matters

U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of South Carolina
Criminal Civil Rights Coordinator
1441 Main Street, Suite 500
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 929-3000
Email: usasc.civilrights@usdoj.gov

 

 CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION, U.S. DEP’T OF JUSTICE (DOJ)

Website: https://www.justice.gov/crt

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, which was created in 1957 by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society.  The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status, and national origin.  The Division has sections that enforce different disability rights laws.  Here are some:

Criminal Section

Website:  https://www.justice.gov/crt/criminal-section

This section enforces several different federal criminal civil rights laws, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act Of 2009.  In pertinent part, this federal hate crime statute applies to certain conduct motivated by the disability of any person.

DRS or Disability Rights Section

Website:  https://www.justice.gov/crt/disability-rights-section

DRS works to achieve equal opportunity for people with disabilities in the United States by implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

EOS or Educational Opportunities Section

Website: https://www.justice.gov/crt/educational-opportunities-section

In pertinent part here, EOS is responsible for enforcing the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability by recipients of federal funds).

Housing or Civil Enforcement (HCE)

Website:  https://www.justice.gov/crt/housing-and-civil-enforcement-section

HCE enforces in part, the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination by direct providers of housing, such as landlords and real estate companies as well as other entities, such as municipalities, banks or other lending institutions and homeowners insurance companies whose discriminatory practices make housing unavailable to persons because of disability (in addition to other categories).

Special Litigation (SPL)

Website:  https://www.justice.gov/crt/special-litigation-section

In pertinent part here, SPL protects the rights of people in institutions run by state or local governments, and in private facilities receiving public money.  The goal is to ensure that people are safe, receive adequate care, and have access to that care in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.

 

 CRCL DHS, OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES, U.S. DEP’T OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Website: https://www.dhs.gov/office-civil-rights-and-civil-liberties

CRCL supports the DHS mission to secure the nation while preserving individual liberty, fairness, and equality under the law.  CRCL integrates civil rights and civil liberties into all of DHS activities.  In pertinent part, CRCL investigates and resolves civil rights and civil liberties complaints filed by the public regarding DHS policies or activities.  This includes a wide variety of alleged civil rights violations, including: discrimination complaints base on disability and disability accommodation complaints under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Filing a Civil Rights Complaint with CRCL DHS:

https://www.dhs.gov/file-civil-rights-complaint

 DOL-VETS, VETERANS’ EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING SERVICE, U.S. DEP’T OF LABOR

Website: https://www.dol.gov/vets/

VETS serve America's veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful careers, providing employment resources and expertise, and protecting their employment rights.  This includes Compliance Assistance with:

(1) USERRA;
(2) Veterans Preference; and
(3) Federal Contractor Reporting. 

VETS Contacts Atlanta Region, including South Carolina: https://www.dol.gov/vets/aboutvets/regionaloffices/atlanta.htm#sc 

DSS OCR, OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS FOR THE S.C. DEP’T OF SOCIAL SERVICES

Website:  https://dss.sc.gov/about/agency-overview/

DSS is a cabinet agency with the State Director appointed by the Governor of South Carolina with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Department has offices in each county and regional offices for adoptions, intensive foster care and clinical services, and child support enforcement.  DSS’s mission is to serve South Carolina by promoting the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and vulnerable adults, helping individuals achieve stability and strengthening families. One of the major programs administered by SCDSS is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Complaints regarding SNAP may be addressed either to SCDSS or directly to the United States Department of Agriculture as noted in the website listed below.

DSS OCR Contact:

DSS Office of Civil Rights
SC Department of Social Services

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1520
Columbia, SC 29202
Tel #: (800) 311-7220 or (803) 898-8080 or TTY: (800) 311-7219
Website:  https://dss.sc.gov/about/nondiscrimination/  

ED OCR or the U.S. DEP’T OF EDUCATION OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

Main Webpage: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html

The mission of ED OCR is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.

How to File a Discrimination Complaint with ED OCR: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html?src=rt 

HHS OCR or the U.S. DEP’T OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

Main Webpage: https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/index.html

OCR enforces federal civil rights laws which prohibit discrimination in the delivery of health and human services based on race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, and the exercise of conscience, and also enforces the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rules.

Filing Civil Rights Complaint with HHS OCRhttps://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/filing-a-complaint/index.html

HUD OR U.S. DEP’T OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

Main Webpage:  https://www.hud.gov/

HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.  HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination, and transform the way HUD does business.

HUD Columbia Field Office:  https://www.hud.gov/states/south_carolina/offices#columbia

HUD’s Title VIII Fair Housing Complaint Process: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/online-complaint

OASCR OR OFFICE OF ASS’T SEC. OF CIVIL RIGHTS, U.S. DEP’T OF AGRICULTURE

Main webpage:  https://www.ascr.usda.gov/about-oascr#mission

OASCR's mission is to provide leadership and direction for the fair and equitable treatment of all USDA customers and employees while ensuring the delivery of quality programs and enforcement of civil rights.  OASCR ensures compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies for USDA customers and employees regardless of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and expression), religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, political beliefs, parental status, protected genetic information, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program.  (Not all bases apply to all programs.)

SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program :https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap

SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities.  SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net.  The Food and Nutrition Service works with State agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and can access benefits. SNAP is administered locally by the SC Department of Social Services ( SCDSS)  and discrimination complaints may be filed with USDA or may be filed with the SCDSS as stated in their website:  https://dss.sc.gov/assistance-programs/snap/non-discrimination-statement-for-snap/.

Filing a Program Discrimination Complaint as a USDA Customer: 

USDA prohibits discrimination against its customers, including but not limited to the SNAP program.

https://www.ascr.usda.gov/filing-program-discrimination-complaint-usda-customer

SCHAC OR SOUTH CAROLINA HUMAN AFFAIRS COMMISSION

Main webpage:  https://schac.sc.gov/

The Mission of the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission is to eliminate and prevent unlawful discrimination in: employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, and disability; housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability; and public accommodations on the basis of race, color, national origin, and religion.

Filing a Complaint with the SCHAC: https://schac.sc.gov/filing-complaint  

 

Updated September 6, 2022