State Policies

Connecticut State Policies

State of Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services

Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS)

Policy Summary on Self-Employment:

Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) supports individuals to achieve an employment outcome of small business ownership. The process begins by determining whether the person has the strengths, abilities and resources necessary to be successful in the business venture and whether self-employment is consistent with the person’s unique priorities, concerns, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. If the BRS Counselor determines that the individual can be successful and small business ownership is consistent, the individual is, in most cases, referred to the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CSBDC).

The individual must complete a Business Plan with the assistance Connecticut Small Business Development Center (or similar entity) - though BRS may provide technical assistance to help in the writing of the Plan- indicating that the CSBDC Counselor believes the venture to be economically viable.  The Business Plan must be completed and approved by the BRS Regional Director prior to developing the Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) and providing services. The BRS Regional Director or his/her designee determines that there is clear and convincing evidence that the business is likely to be successful within a reasonable period of time.

BRS may fund start-up costs such as business consultants, bookkeeping assistance, marketing, initial stocks, insurance permits, rent, utilities, telephone and postage. BRS can also provide technical assistance and other consultations services to conduct market analysis and develop business plans.

BRS has two levels of funding for business ventures:

 

Criteria

BRS funding limit

Consumer Contribution

Expectation of net income above Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Substantial Gainful Activity after two years (SGA)

$10,000.

No less than 10% of BRS contribution

No expectation of net income above SSA’s SGA amount

$5,000.00

No less than 10% of BRS contribution

 

These limits do not include costs of training, vehicle or work site modifications due to the person’s disability.

The consumer contribution can be cash, materials or in-kind labor. This requirement can be waived by the BRS Director or his/her designee if it is determined that such a contribution would cause an undue hardship or without such an exception the individual would not achieve his/her employment outcome.

A small business ownership case can be closed at the typical 90-day requirement, but BRS recognizes that small businesses often need to be open longer to ensure stability and success.

https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/AgingandDisability/BRS/Policy-Manual---Rev-July-2018.pdf


Department of Rehabilitation (DORS) 

Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB) 

Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VR) 

Policy Summary on Self-Employment:

The purpose of the Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB) Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VR) is to provide services to assist eligible individuals to achieve employment outcomes consistent with their unique strengths, resources, abilities, concerns, interests, priorities, and ensuring informed choice.  BESB provides technical assistance, consultation services, and other resources to help individuals who are interested in pursuing self-employment, telecommuting or establishing a small business. 

When the Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) is developed or amended with the goal of self-employment or business ownership, a Business Plan must be developed.  The Plan must detail all the licenses, tools, equipment, stock (including livestock), supplies and services needed to operate the business. It must also include a line item for liability insurance. Once developed, the Plan is submitted to a Connecticut Small Business Development Center, Chamber of Commerce or SCORE for an economic viability assessment of the venture. Once completed, the Plan along with the assessment report, is submitted to the VR Business Advisory Committee for review.  

The VR Business Advisory Committee is a three-member panel consisting of current and/or past members of the State Rehabilitation Council who served in the appointment categories of business, industry, labor or in the category of a recipient of services if they currently operate their own business.  The Business Plan must be approved unanimously by the Committee.  If not, the client is given written directions on changes needed to make the Plan acceptable.  The revised Plan must be re-submitted within six months. 

BESB has an equity contribution requirement for all self-employment ventures as outlined in the table below. In addition to these contribution requirements, there are also stipulations regarding how much of the funds can be spent on business equipment as well as rent and/or utilities. For new businesses, funding requests for adaptive technology are not subject to equity matching requirement. 
 

Funding Needed As Noted in Approved Business Plan 

Client Contributes 

VR Contributes 

Allowable In-Kind Contribution 

Up to $10,000   

10%   

90%   

100% 

$10,001 to $20,000   

15%   

85%   

100% 

$20,001 to

25%   

75%   

50% 

$50,000   

   

over $50,000   

35%   

65%   

50% 

BESB will not purchase or lease a building, purchase motor vehicles, or support businesses whose primary focus is on controlled or regulated products or services. Additionally, all Connecticut purchasing regulations, policies and procedures must be followed.  The client must maintain an ongoing physical presence at the business location and allow Bureau staff access to business records and onsite follow-up during the first six months of operation. 

The client is considered successful when they are earning income that is comparable to income earned by other individuals who are not considered disabled but in similar occupations, doing similar tasks, or have similar training, experience and skills. 

https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/AgingandDisability/documents/BESB/VR-Policy-Manual-January-2019-PDF-version.pdf?la=en 


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