State Policies

Virginia State Policies

Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI)

Policy Summary on Self-Employment:

According to the DBVI, a strong Business Plan is the foundation to a successful self-employment venture. Therefore, their policy has several junctures where such a business plan is developed and reviewed.  Originally developed by the individual, using a specific Business Plan Outline, the Plan is reviewed by the VR Counselor who presents it to the Regional Manager for another review and approval. If approved at this stage, the Plan is sent to the Director of Vocational Rehabilitation and Workforce Services to conduct their own review.  If the Director approves the Plan, a Self-Employment Enterprise (SEE) Screening Committee is formed. Chaired by the Director of Vocational Rehabilitation and Workforce Services, the purpose of this Committee is to thoroughly review the Business Plan for final approval or rejection.  At any point in this process additional information can be requested and multiple meetings held to ensure a more likely successful outcome.

The required Business Plan is a very detailed process to gather and analyze pertinent information related to the business venture.  For example, components must include the feasibility of the business; projected startup capital; a “blueprint” for the entire operation; a budget, time frame and strategic direction; potential problems and risk assessment; marketing opportunities, and reasons for being involved in the venture. 

Once the individual has been determined eligible and has expressed an interested in self-employment the IPE can be developed.  Once the Business Plan has been approved the IPE is amended to detail the agreed upon services and supports.

The individual is expected to provide financial investment in the business and be the majority funder of the venture unless they are receiving SSI/SSSDI. This financial investment can be made through in-kind contribution or acquired loans.  The SEE Screening Committee makes recommendations for funding through DBVI.  Goods and services received as part of the approved SEE Business Plan are not subject to DBVI’s cost participation policies. If the individual is being served by both DVRS and DBVI, the requirement of the individual being the majority funder is lifted.  Each Department determines their funding level and for what services and supports. 

A SEE case is considered a successful closure when the self-employment enterprise has operated for a minimum of 12 months, showing profit or DBVI services are no longer needed. 

Virginia DBVI Policy Manual (see Chapter 7.6: Self-Employment Enterprise (SEE)):