The South Carolina Commission for the Blind is a state agency created to provide rehabilitation services, adjustment to blindness training, prevention of blindness, independent living services and various other services to blind and severely visually impaired citizens of South Carolina. These services are made available with state and Federal funding, and there is no charge to consumers for services.
Eligibility for most services is contingent upon meeting the legal definition of blindness: having a central visual acuity of 20/200 in the better eye with best corrective lens, or a visual field of 20 degrees or less. Individuals with a severe visual disability that will result in legal blindness also are eligible for services. Legal blindness must be verified by an acceptable eye examination. There are financial eligibility requirements for some services.
You may contact the South Carolina Commission for the Blind at (803) 898-8731 or toll free at (800) 922-2222 to speak with some pertaining to opening a case in your area.
A person is considered LEGALLY blind when the best corrected visual acuity is 20/200, or the person's visual field is 20 degrees or less. It is not true that all blind persons have absolutely no sight; in fact, most blind persons have some remaining vision. A person may be considered blind when he/she can no longer drive safely, has difficulty reading a newspaper, or cannot see objects to the side.
Visual acuity (VA) is acuteness or clearness of vision, especially form vision, which is dependent on the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye, the sensitivity of the nervous elements, and the interpretative faculty of the brain.
VA is a quantitative measure of the ability to identify black symbols on a white background at a standardized distance as the size of the symbols is varied. The VA represents the smallest size that can be reliably identified. VA is the most common clinical measurement of visual function. The well-known phrase "20-20 vision" refers to the distance in feet that objects separated by an angle of 1 arc minute can be distinguished as separate objects. The metric equivalent is 6-6 vision. Further detail is below.
I am not interested in pursuing a career but would like assistance getting around the house. Can SC Commission for the Blind help me?
The South Carolina Commission for the Blind offers adjustment which introduces adaptive methods of performing activities of daily living. These trainings may be provided in the home or here at the South Carolina Commission for the Blind.
I am attending the Ellen Beach Mack Rehabilitation Center for training. What items do I need to bring with me?
When attending the Ellen Beach Mack Rehabilitation Center, all individuals are asked to bring appropriated dress and toiletries. Linens and towels are provided by the agency. There is also a cafeteria and canteen available for purchases once an individual come to the agency for training.
Business Enterprise Program
The eligibility requirements for the Business Enterprise Program are as follows:
- Legally Blind
- 18 Years of Age or Older
- Legal Resident of the United States
- Legal Resident of South Carolina
- Ability to travel independently
- In need of employment
- Good Mathematical Skills
- Excellent Organizational Skills
- And Good Public Relations Skills
The Business Enterprise training program is a combination of classroom and on-the-job training. The training consists of eight (8) weeks of classroom training and eight (8) weeks of paid supervised on-the job training.
The eight (8) weeks classroom training covers the following: the Randolph-Sheppard Act, BEP State law and policy, merchandising, customer service, personnel supervision, DHEC rules and regulations, food safety, financial management and eight (8) weeks of paid supervised on-the-job training.
After becoming a Blind Licensed Vendor, one usually start with smaller facilities and advance to larger more profitable facilities as they gain more operating experience and as locations become available. There are many business opportunities with excellent earning potential. BEP assists newly licensed vendors in becoming independent business operators.
The preparation for training is a multi-step process:
- The VR Counselor pre-screens consumers who are potential trainees.
- Referrals are assessed for communication skills and proficiency with assistive technology. Applicants should possess a high school diploma or equivalent and be able to pass a spelling and vocabulary test administered as part of the screening process. Applicants must also type a minimum of twenty words per minute with ninety percent accuracy.
- Some employers prefer to interview candidates for training while other employers rely on the selections made by agency staff.
- Red Cross applicants are interviewed by personnel from the Red Cross location for which they will be training prior to acceptance into the program.
- Trainees must submit to drug screening along with a criminal background check prior to training.
The Telecommunications Training consists of eight (8) weeks classroom training and four (4) weeks of supervised on-the-job training.
In a fast paced environment, training programs are presented in phases which consist of classroom training with the manuals of the company for which the trainee will be working, hands-on role-playing activities with live computers and working with live calls in an intense work setting.
Class training simulates a business environment. Trainees are expected to demonstrate appropriate work behaviors such as strict adherence to schedules and a business casual dress code. Trainee performance is constantly evaluated, and remedial intervention is offered when skill deficits are observed.
Employers commit to placement before trainees are accepted into the program. If a trainee does not show potential for successful completion, the training is terminated. Part-time and full-time entry level salaries range from $15,000 to $26,000 annually, and most have additional earning potential in the form of performance-based incentive programs. Agency staff assists with relocation, orientation and mobility and technical assistance at time of entry into employment.