State Policies

California State Policies & Resources


California Department of Rehabilitation (


The California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) works in partnership with consumers and other stakeholders to provide services and advocacy resulting in employment, independent living, and equality for individuals with disabilities. DOR administers the largest vocational rehabilitation (VR) program in the country. VR services are designed to help job seekers with disabilities obtain competitive employment in integrated work settings. DOR is a Federal Title I Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program funded in large part by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. (Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended 29 U.S.C., section 701 et seq.; Welfare & Institution Code, section 19000 et seq.; 34 Code of Federal Regulations, section 361 et seq.; California Code Regulations (CCR), title 9, section 7000 et seq.)

Self-Employment Setting

Many individuals with disabilities dream of owning their own business, and their dreams can become a reality with proper planning. DOR is committed to helping job seekers with disabilities achieve competitive integrated employment through entrepreneurship and small business ownership in a self-employment setting. A self-employment setting is an employment setting in which an eligible individual works in a chosen occupation, for profit or fee, in their own small business, with control and responsibility for decisions affecting the conduct of the business. (CCR, title 9, section 7024.9)

Services in a Self-Employment Setting

The concept of a "Self-Employment Setting" will allow the individual to choose a vocational goal/occupation such as graphic artist, barber, accountant, etc., as an employment outcome in a setting where the individual can work as self-employed instead of as an employee. An Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) will then be developed and implemented as soon as the vocational goal and the services necessary to assist the individual achieve that goal are identified. The proposed small business must:

Involve sole proprietorship and control and responsibility for decisions affecting the conduct of the business by the individual.

Enable the individual to meet ongoing living expenses and be intended to become a majority source of income for the individual.

Comply with relevant state, federal, and local laws and regulations (no illegal ventures).

Be consistent with their primary employment factors, i.e., unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

DOR offers technical assistance and other consultation services to conduct market analyses, develop business plans, and otherwise provide resources to eligible individuals who are pursuing an occupation where the individual can be self-employed or establish a small business operation as an employment outcome. (CCR, title 9, section 7149(s))

DOR Regulations - CA Department of Rehabilitation


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

California Start-Up Resources (PDF)

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