State Policies

Florida State Policies

Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Policy Summary on Self-Employment:                                                                                                                                                                                        
Florida VR policy includes both self-employment and supported self-employment. Individuals receiving supported self-employment must receive both the long-term and short-term supports needed to prepare for self-employment. No formal assessments are required, but a referral meeting to assist the customer explore the option of self-employment may be held. A vocational evaluation is not needed to determine the customer’s capacity for self-employment; however, Discovery during the Business Concept Development is a structured and encouraged process with the goal of identifying the individual’s skills, interests, potential contributions, and support needs.                                  

Florida employs Certified Business and Technical Assistance Consultants (CBTACs) to prepare customers for self-employment and to perform the management tasks associated with self-employment. VR customers who do not require additional support are not mandated to work with a CBTAC. The CBTAC is responsible for helping the customer develop a required business plan, and a detailed feasibility study must be held to determine the viability of the business plan. The feasibility study includes a business and test marketing plan, and formal feasibility studies may be conducted in some cases. The self-employment business must also meet the definition of Competitive Integrated Employment. Also, a benefits analysis must be conducted for customers who are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The following chart displays the CBTAC payment system since 2014, which remains in place for 2021.

Initial Self-Employment Exploration Meeting(s)* (please note previously titled Initial Meeting)$300
Business Concept Development$1750
Market Research and Benefits Analysis$600
Business Financials and Marketing Plans$1750
Business Plan Development$600
Completed Business Plan$2000

The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) requirements mandate the creation of a financially viable business plan. The individual must directly contribute to the operation of a business service, development of a product, or perform a core function of the business. It must be carried out through sole proprietorship, partnerships, or for profit corporations.  VR funding is considered and may become available once the business plan is complete. Florida policy does not specify funding limits or match requirements, although financial participation is considered for all services, as well as the SSI Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS) program. Additional contribution by family members or the individual and other funding sources are encouraged. VR’s funding support normally extends only to start-up costs necessary to establish a new business or to help stabilize a small business in which reasons related to the individual’s disability requires changes to the product, services, or methods of operation.  If additional services are needed, the IPE must be amended. FL VR will not fund speculative businesses, businesses organized as hobbies, non-profits, the refinancing of existing debt, an existing business expansion, or illegal or franchise businesses.  

Florida VR funds implementation hours, which allow the CBTAC to help the business owner after the business plan has been developed but before the business has launched, at $39/hour. VR will also fund occupational licenses, tools, equipment, initial stocks and supplies if included in the business plan, over $500 requires area approval.

Case closure requirements consist of 90 days of profitable business operation for self-employment and 150 days for supported self-employment. One indication of business profitability is that the customer no longer needs SSI or SSDI.

Florida Policy Manual:

Florida Self-Employment and Supported Self-Employment Best Practices and Informational Guide: