State Policies

District of Columbia State Policies & Resources


The District of Columbia Rehabilitation Services Administration:

The DCRSA defines Self-Employment as the status of working for profit or fees in one's own profession, trade or business for a minimum of 10 hours per week, with goals to achieve economic self-sufficiency and independence (Source: Department of Labor). 

It is the policy of DCRSA that the Agency's primary role in assisting a person with a vocational goal of self-employment shall be to provide information and support during the assessment, planning, and business implementation phases. DCRSA shall not be a primary source of income or monetary support for the business.  

DCRSA self-employment standards include both assessment and required business plan components.  Additionally, the policy establishes specific criteria for business plan approval, initial monitoring,  and closure of self-employment cases.  

Assessment must identify: 

  • Nature and focus of the desired business
  • The feasibility of the business: a. The business' market; b. The business' expected expenses and income.
  • The person's preparation for operating the business which may include but not be limited to the following: a. The person's potential for self-employment; b. Determination of training required to prepare the person to open and operate the determined business; c. Assessment of how the person's disability may affect his or her ability to operate the business; and d. Determination of necessary supports or services the person may require to operate the business.

Necessary Business Plan Components:  

  • Describes the nature of the business and the income source;
  • Identifies funding sources other than DCRSA and projects income streams that are sufficient to maintain the business;
  • Provides a Five-Year Plan for the business that addresses: a. Five years of projected sales; b. The targeted clientele; c. The full range of services to be offered; and d. Sustainability of the business for a five-year period and in a down-turned market;
  • Identifies the specific items and costs for which the business is seeking funding from DCRSA and states the role the items are to play in the operation of the business and generation of business income; and
  • Is approved by the DDS Deputy Director for DCRSA.

Approval Criteria:  

  • Demonstrates that s/he or a support person possesses the basic knowledge and skills required to manage a business through either:
  • Successful completion of training as required in the person's IPE;
  • Successful completion of related courses; or
  • Past work experience or entrepreneurial experience;
  • Submits a business plan completed in accordance with§ 123.8, and approved by the DDS Deputy Director for DCRSA
  • Submits a request for funding; and
  • Provides documentation of any additional funding secured for the business

 Criteria for Successful Closure: 

  • The provision of services under the person's IPE has contributed to the achievement of the self-employment outcome.
  • The self-employment outcome is consistent with the person's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.
  • The self-employment outcome is in the most integrated setting possible, consistent with the person's informed choice.
  • The person has maintained the self-employment outcome for a period of at least 90 days.
  • The person has submitted a monthly report of income and expenses from the ·business during the 90 days of monitoring and case may be closed when the person is considered to be receiving competitive compensation if the average income is comparable to that of persons without disabilities in similar occupations or performing similar tasks who possess the same level of training, experience and skills.
  • The person and the VR Specialist consider the self-employment outcome to be satisfactory and agree that the person is performing well in conducting the business of self-employment.   


The following downloadable PDF contains statewide self-employment resources and links for people with disabilities.

Washington, D.C. Start-Up Resources (PDF)

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