Massachusetts State Policies
Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB)
Policy Summary on Self-Employment:
The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) supports eligible individuals to establish small business enterprises. MCB expects the business to be managed by the consumer and to provide full-time gainful employment leading to economic self-sufficiency. Additionally, the business must meet all relevant local, state, and federal laws and regulations and be a for-profit business.
Services and supports provided by MCB include providing business equipment, initial inventory or merchandise for resale, initial supplies for normal business operation, initial advertising, lease for rental fees for no more than six months and insurance fees for no more than one year.
Both the consumer and the feasibility of the business are evaluated to determine potential success. The VR Counselor evaluates such factors as the consumer’s skills as related to the desired profession and their temperament, financial and managerial skills, impact of disability, previous work history and experience, credit history and the ability to pass a criminal records check.
The VR counselor reviews the business plan to assess the feasibility of the venture. Feasibility assessments are conducted primarily through a review of the business plan. Consumers are required to consult with SCORE prior to submitting the plan and to secure a written evaluation of feasibility from their SCORE consultant. If the VR counselor determines that the business plan is complete, it is then presented to the Regional Director for review and approval. If the Regional Director approves the plan, it is forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner. The Deputy Commissioner convenes a Small Business Enterprises Committee to formally review the plan. The VR Counselor, the VR Supervisor, Regional Director, and Deputy Commissioners are members of this Committee. Others may be added as deemed appropriate e.g., members of the business or banking communities. The consumer presents the business plan to the committee. The Deputy Commissioner, with the advice of the other committee members, makes the final decision on whether MCB will support the venture.
The business plan must include a description of the business, including market, competition, location and a description of the finances of the business including sources and applications of funding, a list of initial capital requirements, the consumer’s credit history, a personal financial statement and personal and/or business references.
If MCB investment is less than $1500, a formal business/self-employment plan is not required. If a cost of one item of vocational rehabilitation equipment (Assistive Technology or other equipment) is $5000 or more, the proposed expenditure must be referred in writing to the Deputy Commissioner. Specific information is required in this request. It is intended that the consumer will contribute financially to the venture.
The case is closed when follow-up for at least 90 days show the business is self-sustaining and the income generated meet the standards for competitive integrated employment and no additional VR services will be needed in the immediate future.