Nebraska State Policies & Resources
Nebraska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Policy Summary on Self-Employment
Nebraska’s Self-Employment Definition is “Generate excess cash flow from profitable operations by providing specific goods, products or billable services and earn income directly from one’s own trade or profession.”
Nebraska’s policy states that the intent of self-employment is to maximize the individual’s potential based on disability and to become self-sufficient.
The Nebraska policy includes supported self-employment as a career option and has the same requirements as self-employment. Clients must apply personal resources to fund their business start-up expenses. In addition, the client must have at least 51% ownership of the business.
Clients who express an interest in self-employment are referred to the Self-Employment VR Specialist who will explore the advantages and disadvantages of self-employment with them. Clients complete a Self-Employment Questionnaire with or without assistance and may then be referred to a DD provider for Supported Self-Employment and/or a VR evaluator to assess bookkeeping and business skills. The policy notes that the evaluator should not be making determinations of the feasibility of Self-Employment based on the results of the evaluation.
Clients are required to develop and submit a written self-employment business plan. In most cases, they will be working with a business consultant. The business plan requirements include the creation of standard business plan that includes financial data, a general business description, a target market, and a general industry description.
A private consultant who has the required expertise and an agreement with the agency will conduct a feasibility assessment that includes evaluating whether sufficient general market demand for the product or service exists, as well as whether the client has the social, technical, and managerial skills needed to operate the business. The feasibility assessment involves the creation of a SWOT analysis and a general business description and target market analysis. If the feasibility assessment is negative, then the client will be offered the chance to review the potential problems with the business plan. If the assessment is positive, then the client will be authorized to complete a business plan. The self-employment consultation will also include conducting a market analysis, developing a business plan, and providing guidance to help the client secure funding resources outside of VR.
To fund their businesses, clients must first apply personal and/or family resources and all financing available through grants or loans to the required business start-up expenses. VR program assistance for remaining essential business start-up expenses is potentially available up the limit per Rule 72- ($6,000.) Expenses related to starting a new business are not to exceed six months.
The individual must provide monthly financial information as requested by the Nebraska VR Self-Employment Program Specialist. The closure requirements are that the client has earned a viable income for three months that allows the individual to become financially stable and has met the target monthly net financial requirements in the business plan.
Nebraska VR Self-Employment funds will not be used for the development of the following business models:
- Multi-level Marketing - Ponzi/Pyramid schemes, door to door where you first purchase the product then attempt to resell at a profit.
- Speculative ventures – Investment ventures such as purchasing items with the hope they will increase in value and can be resold for profit, stock market investments etc.
- Illegal or “under the table” business – Any illegal ventures or anything where you are not paying taxes on income earned. All income must be reported to all appropriate entities in order for us to support a Self-Employment plan.
- Real Estate- Purchasing of real estate for the purpose of flipping or renting
- Passive Ownership – (Business investment, no active management)
- Commission based sales
- Hobbies (non-income producing)
- Dealers of rare coins and stamps
- Pornographic or illicit business
- E-bay/Online Buy/Sell/Trade or Resellers-Buying/acquiring random items and reselling them at a profit.
- Serial plaintiffs (Litigation)
- Gambling Activities
- Churches and organizations promoting religious objectives
- Non-profit or charitable organizations
The Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Policy Summary on Self-Employment:
The Nebraska policy for the blind and visually impaired includes an assessment of the individual’s potential to succeed in self-employment. The assessment identifies the recipient’s strong and weak characteristics and necessary disability-related accommodations, and highlights training or education that might need to be pursued. The client must present a comprehensive business plan. The plan must include a full description of enterprise objectives, client qualifications for the work, other participants in the enterprise, a full financial plan including investment necessary to bring the business to opening day and who will pay for those investments, a full cash flow forecast for the first 2 years and a justification as to why NCBVI should support the enterprise.
Training, personal assistance, and technology services are available to recipients with the goal of Self Employment. Services that may be provided when necessary to achieve an employment outcome of self-employment or establishing a small business operation are defined in policy, federal regulation, and in specified cases under the Randolph-Sheppard Act and its policy and regulations. VR uses a guideline of $20,000 for funding support.
Nebraska Administrative Code (see Section 008. Self Employment and Establishing a Small Business Operation): https://www.nebraska.gov/rules-and-regs/regsearch/Rules/Commission_for_the_Blind_and_Visually_Impaired/Title-192/Chapter-1.pdf