State Policies

Missouri State Policies

Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation  

Policy Summary on Self-Employment:

Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation defines self-employment as “a business in which the client performs, supervises or subcontracts the major part of the product or service to be produced” and identifies that self-employment is a vocational option that may be considered in the wide array of employment options available and as part of a client’s informed choice. Unless the client has a background in business or business education, it is highly recommended that he/she participate in business development workshops or training through the local Small Business Development Center, University Extension Center or other appropriate, reputable source prior to considering a self-employment goal. Additionally, when pursuing self-employment, clients should plan to acquire skills he/she may need to support the business plan (e.g., accounting or marketing classes, training, seminars, etc.) to increase the likelihood of success. 

In Missouri, the assessment phase is designed to help the client and the VR counselor to determine together if the client is suitable for self-employment and includes evaluating the client’s skills, talents, and abilities related to self-employment.  This phase documents the client’s capacity for self-employment and includes an analysis of the client’s credit history. The client must complete a detailed business plan that includes a marketing plan, a financial plan, and a study of the industry and competitors.  

The feasibility requirements focus on the client’s capacity for self-employment rather than the feasibility of the business plan. The client must create a business plan prior to approval of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).  The IPE must include a schedule of contacts for the client that the VR agency approves.   

Missouri VR may contribute up to $10,000 toward the purchase of required business equipment, supplies, rent (up to 6 months), or other start-up costs identified in an approved business plan for self-employment.   limit is $10,000, and VR supervisor approval is required for all cases in which the agency is requested to contribute more than $10,000. The funding limits are organized according to a tiered structure.  

  • Start-up costs of $1- $5,000: VR contribution up to 100% 
  • Start-up costs of $5001- $10,000: Maximum VR contribution of $7,500 (VR funding possible for the initial $5,000 plus up to 50% of the remaining costs) 
  • Start-up costs of $10,000- $20,000: Maximum VR contribution of $10,000 (VR funding possible for the initial $5,000; up to 50% of the next $5,000; and up to 25% of the remaining costs)  

The client is required to secure funding for any costs not covered by VR and to contribute to the business either monetarily or in-kind (e.g., a personal vehicle contributed to the business; tools/equipment already owned, PASS, sweat equity, etc.). VR funds may not be used to purchase the following: real property, defined as land, including land improvements, structures and appurtenances thereto, excluding moveable machinery or equipment; or automobile, truck, van, airplane, boat, other powered vehicle, or trailer that requires title and/or licensing by the state. Additionally, to receive VR funding, the self-employment business must comply with all applicable federal, state, local regulations and statutory requirements. 

Successful closure of self-employment cases occurs when earnings comparable to an average minimum wage for a period of 90 days can be demonstrated. There will be fluctuation so a weekly or monthly formula may be needed. Missouri VR uses the following formula to calculate average minimum wage: Money coming in – normal business expenses necessary to produce the product/service (raw material costs) ÷ 40 hours per week or less. 

Missouri Policy Manual: https://dese.mo.gov/adult-learning-rehabilitation-services/vocational-rehabilitation/client-services-guide-csg  CSG 1000