Ohio State Policies & Resources
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (ODD)
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
Policy Summary on Self-Employment:
OOD has a specific five-step process with specific timelines to support individuals wanting to start their own business. Self-employment is defined by the agency as an individual or majority ownership of a business selling goods or services. The business must generate profit. Additionally, the business/career selected must match the individual’s strengths, abilities, interests, limitations and considered an informed choice. BVR cannot support self-employment if the person has been declared incompetent or has a court appointed legal guardian.
Step 1: The process begins with the VR Counselor or a VR Contractor providing information regarding the pros and cons of self-employment using the internal document “Exploration of Self-Employment.” Interested individuals then move to Step 2.
Step 2: The individual completes two documents, the “Self-Employment Readiness Questionnaire” and the “Personal Finances Worksheet”. The Self-Employment Readiness Questionnaire gathers information regarding the occupational area the individual has selected and their training or experience with that occupation; personal traits of the individual related to self-employment such as time management, customer service, sales and marketing; and personal credit and potential start-up requirements and resources. The Personal Finances Worksheet goes into more detail regarding the individual’s personal finances for a three-month period. These documents are to be completed independently by the individual. If no barriers are found after a review by the VR Counselor or VR Contractor, the process moves forward.
Step 3: During this step the individual must complete at least three informational interviews with businesses that provide same or similar goods or services. They are also asked for a copy of a credit check and perhaps, depending on the occupation, a background check. Both the individual and the VR Counselor or VR Contractor must agree to move forward.
Step 4: The individual works with an agency-approved Business Consultant to complete a feasibility study for the venture. The feasibility study must contain information regarding five basis elements: Business Description, Operational Analysis, Market Analysis, Financial Analysis and Summary and Recommendation. If this information shows that the venture is viable, the process moves forward. If a person is receiving SSI or SSDI the impact of self-employment on those benefits is discussed.
Step 5: In most cases a detailed business plan is required and the Business Consultant assists the individual to complete it. The agency has a Business Plan Development Guide which outlines the five components which must be addressed: Executive Summary, Business Description, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan and Financial Plan.
A meeting involving the individual and the VR Counselor or VR Contractor is held to discuss and either approve, deny or suggest modifications to the plan. If the business plan has a total business-related cost of $10,000 or more, it must also be approved by
the Area Manager.
Once the Plan is approved, the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is developed to outline the support/services and business start-up costs to be covered by OOD. The business support cannot exceed six months.
Case Closure for self-employment ventures must include wage determination. The hourly wage of a self-employed person is calculated by taking the Gross Business Income minus the Expenses, divided by the Actual Hours worked.
Ohio Policy Manual
80-VR-16-01 Self Employment
The following downloadable PDF contains statewide self-employment resources and links for people with disabilities.