Maine State Policies & Resources
Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Maine Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Policy Summary on Self-Employment (ME VR and DBVI follow the same policy):
Maine DVR provides individuals with the goods and services they require to achieve an employment outcome that aligns with their needs and is consistent with their informed choice. It defines core services as those which are necessary to reach an appropriate employment outcome; these services must be of “sufficient quality” and are provided “as cost effectively as possible.” Resources and other supports related to self-employment are included among these core services.
VR offers support to individuals seeking self-employment as needed. This support includes assistance with the development of a business plan and with obtaining loans and other financial resources that will be used to establish a business. The individual must run the business and owns at least 51% of it.
All clients pursuing self-employment must attend a self-employment orientation and complete a comprehensive business plan. VR provides the individual with the technical assistance they need to complete the business plan. All business plans are reviewed by a VR-approved business consultant to assess the business’s viability. The VR Counselor decides whether to support the plan based on the consultant’s review.
VR provides $7,500 of start-up funding to businesses that are projected to generate “sufficient income” for the individual. Sufficient income is defined as the level of income at which the individual no longer relies on supplemental income from public sources (SSI, TANF, SSDI). To receive funding for a self-sufficient business, the client must have a good credit record and/or a positive debt history. Businesses that will not provide the individual with sufficient income can receive $2,500 in funding. Costs associated with self-employment-related training and the creation of a business plan do not count toward the funding limits. Exceptions to the funding limits may be granted if more money is needed to achieve the self-employment goal listed in the individual’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). VR does not fund non-profits or hobbies (i.e., activities done without the intent to make a profit).
Before receiving VR funding, the client is expected to contribute to their business venture through “cash, loans, grants, materials, or in-kind labor.” VR can assist the client with researching and acquiring these or similar resources. VR reserves the right to repossess equipment or tools purchased by the agency in support of the client’s self-employment goal if goal changes or is not reached.
Maine Policy Manual: https://casetext.com/regulation/maine-administrative-code/department-12-department-of-labor/division-152-bureau-of-rehabilitation-services/chapter-1-rules/section-152-1-9-vocational-rehabilitation-services.