State Policies

Rhode Island State Policies

Rhode Island Office of Rehabilitation Services

Policy Summary on Self-Employment:

The Rhode Island Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS) policy states that self-employment services are services that maximize the client’s work, earnings, and financial independence. For self-employment cases, ORS completes a thorough analysis of the individual’s strengths, resources, concerns, abilities, capabilities, and interests that will contribute to the start-up, management, and success of the business.  The VR counselor’s role is to provide guidance, counseling, and informed choice throughout the assessment of the feasibility of a self-employment goal, planning, and implementation process with the client. A business plan may be required.

The policy contains a description of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) requirements, which can include a determination of the client’s financial need and the agency’s financial participation in the business venture. The IPE includes the goods and services that the agency may provide for self-employment The ORS self-employment funding limit is $10,000, and the agency may provide up to six months of initial stocks and supplies. ORS self-employment policy does provide for a program participant to request an Administrative Waiver.  ORS funding and support are not available for speculative businesses, non-profits, hobby businesses, or businesses that rely on pyramid sales, are unprofitable in nature, or are unlawful. Additionally, the policy states that self-employment is not: an alternative employment path for an individual’s difficulty with supervision or co-workers; a way of avoiding issues with a positive Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) or criminal background; or to be utilized to finance existing debt.

ORS self-employment closure requirements state that the person must have run the business for at least six months. In addition, the client must have worked 90 days in the business and earned an income comparable to people without disabilities with a similar skill set.

Rhode Island Policy Manual: https://ors.ri.gov/Regulations.eff%25206.19.18.html

Select “Vocational Rehabilitation Program” and see section 1.17.15: Self-Employment Services