Oregon State Policies & Resources
Oregon Department of Human Services
Vocational Rehabilitation VR
Policy Summary on Self-Employment:
Oregon VR recognizes that self-employment can be a viable option for many individuals with disabilities. The agency divides self-employment participants into two categories: Comprehensive Self Employment for individuals who plan for a small business requiring moderate resources, and Microenterprise (maximum of $3,000 in startup costs) for individuals who plan for a very small business requiring limited start-up resources. Both options are available for individuals who require supported self-employment; supported services targeted for individuals with the most significant disabilities who, because of their disability, need intensive supported employment and extended services in order to perform and sustain self-employment. Often their teams include additional team members such as family members, friends and paid agency staff. In these instances, the team may participate in all stages of the supported self-employment process.
Oregon VR sees self-employment and supported self-employment as methods to achieve an employment goal, not the goal itself. If it is determined that self-employment or supported self-employment is the method of choice, the Counselor works with the person to determine the feasibility of the business and the supports and services needed to be successful. Only those determined feasible are supported. This is done through the IPE.
Services may be provided to individuals requiring VR services, who are facing a disability related barrier to starting a new business or to individuals who need assistance with disability related accommodations to maintain an existing business.
VR will support a variety of business ventures, but may not support:
- Businesses organized as hobbies that periodically produce income;
- Enterprises which are speculative in nature or prohibited by federal law;
- Nonprofit businesses or;
- Multilevel marketing or “pyramid” schemes.
- According to the Federal Trade Commission a pyramid scheme is defined as “an organization in which members obtain monetary benefits primarily from the recruitment of new members rather than selling goods and/or services to the public.”
Considerations for funding will be based on many factors including:
- Financial Needs Test which is based on adjusted gross income less than 250% of the federal poverty guideline, based on family size and;
- The individual must have sufficient income available to maintain their basic living needs while pursuing a business venture and,
- Although OVRS does not require that an individual utilize loan funds as a comparable benefit, a business plan may require loan funding or additional funding sources other than OVRS (e.g., family, friends) in order to be considered viable.
Oregon Department of Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation Services Rule 582-070-0042
Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB)
Policy Summary on Self-Employment:
The Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) includes self-employment on their list of employment options/outcomes. Additionally, Oregon law 346.110 says that the Commission shall maintain a program of vocational rehabilitation services. One objective of the program is to establish small business enterprises in which Oregonians who experience vision loss can work and thrive.
Oregon Commission for the Blind (see Division 10)
The following downloadable PDF contains statewide self-employment resources and links for people with disabilities.
Oregon Self-Employment Resources (PDF)