State Policies

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 Self-Employment 
80-VR-16-01 Self Employment


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

Ohio State Specific Self-Employment Resources (PDF)

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