Georgia State Policies & Resources
Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency
Self-Employment Policy Summary:
GVRA may authorize services for a client to meet entry level requirements for an approved self-employment business. Self-employment is a viable business venture initiated and operated by the client where that individual performs, supervises or sub-contracts the product or service to be produced. The business must be wholly owned by the VR client. Self-employment shall be consistent with the consumer’s strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, and interests.
GVRA may support two levels of self-employment businesses, one level with support up to $3,000 and the second level with support over $3,000 and up to $10,000. The client is required to provide a minimum of 25% of the total start-up funding needed to launch the business. The client contribution can be in-kind or financial. A brief business plan is required for clients requesting up to $3,000 and a comprehensive business plan is required for clients requesting between $3,000 and $10,000.
GVRA has a two-phase assessment that is designed to assist the counselor to determine if self-employment is an appropriate job match as well as look at the client’s needs, strengths, related factors and proposed services.
Phase I of the assessment includes both the client and the counseling reviewing the individual’s capabilities and potential for operating a business. Access to Phase II is reliant upon Phase I completion. These “entrepreneurial” tests can be administered either via the internet or paper form and consist of the following:
- Self-Employment Entrepreneurial Career Assessment Form (available through the Georgia Career Information System)
- Entrepreneur Risk Assessment Quiz: Starting Your Own Business (available through the Small Business Development Centers.
Phase II consists of the client’s completion of information on the feasibility of his/her business, as well as monthly personal and living expenses. They consist of the following;
- Business Feasibility Worksheet: The purpose of this worksheet is for the client to provide and clarify business plan details to the counselor and/or regional Self-Employment Review Team. The 25% client contribution shall be identified at this time; and
- Monthly Personal and Living Expenses Worksheet: The purpose of this worksheet is to determine how much income the client must have in order to pay his/her routine personal and living expenses.
The counselor may also complete other assessments as appropriate. The counselor may consider the following when assessing if self-employment is a viable employment goal: the individual’s ability to sustain themself in the occupation, the work required, the likelihood of success, the available support from approved providers, the individual’s qualifications and/or training and the likelihood of their success in required training, transferable skills; and the local economy. Findings from preliminary labor market may also be considered.
The counselor shall determine whether or not to support the client in self-employment based on the following;
- Comprehensive Needs Assessment Findings
- Written Business Plan containing all necessary elements
- Provider feedback and Business Critique
- Regional Self-Employment Review Team recommendations.
If the individual is approved for self-employment the following Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) requirements shall be followed:
Self-employment is not an employment goal itself, but a method of achieving Competitive Integrated Employment. The IPE may contain several phases, depending on the needs of the client:
- IPE or IPE Amendment may be written only after Business Plan is approved by VR counselor
- Should encompass a plan to provide supports, technical assistance, and resources necessary to launch, develop, and/or sustain the business
- Must include a clear statement of the role & responsibilities of the client, nature and extent of VR support and participation (including financial support)
- Include a clear criteria for measuring progress
- Employment goal shall be consistent with the approved business plan
Self-employment case closure has two options. The case may be closed in competitive integrated employment (CIE) if the client is averaging a business profit or salary over a 90 day period at a rate equal to or above minimum wage. This is the anticipated outcome to be reached; or the case may still be closed in Competitive Integrated Employment if the client is averaging a business profit or salary over a 90 day period at a rate less than minimum wage. In these cases, the VR counselor shall ensure that the client’s work is progressing satisfactorily, and closure is warranted.
Georgia VR may not fund businesses that are speculative in nature, such as investment real estate, non-profits, hobbies, refinancing of existing debt or business that may violate community morality.
Georgia VR shall not authorize the following services (please see policy link expanded definitions and examples):
- Purchase of any type of motorized vehicle
- Payment of deposits and continuation of payments for any utilities associated with self employment
The following downloadable PDF contains statewide self-employment resources and links for people with disabilities.