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Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Small Business

The Small Business policy outlines the parameters for the provision of small business services to Vocational Rehabilitation Services consumers, including assessment services.

Relevant Laws, Rules, or Policies
Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34
Minnesota Administrative Rules, Chapter 3300
The Rehabilitation Act

Effective Date

Last Updated

Heather Farmer, Heather.Farmer@state.mn.us
Tel   612.414.9668
Fax  651.297.5159


Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services provides technical assistance and other consultation services as a means of achieving a small business career that provides competitive integrated employment consistent with an individual’s strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

For purposes of this chapter self-employment is considered to be a small business. Small business is an entity whereby an individual earns her/his livelihood directly from the sale of his/her goods or services rather than as the employee of another.

A self-employed individual works for him or herself and may work at home or at another work site, with or without on-going supports. Self-employment includes sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies or corporations.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services does not support businesses which are considered hobbies; that are not income-producing, nor business ventures that are speculative in nature or considered high-risk.

An agency Small Business Development Specialist must be consulted before including a proposal for a small business on an employment plan.

The process for developing a plan for self-employment is progressive and must start with an assessment of an individual’s capacity for self-employment.

When assessment activity has demonstrated that self-employment is a viable vocational option, the consumer must be referred to the appropriate small business development resources for assistance with further developing the business idea.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services’ financial contribution is for costs that are identified on an approved business plan and that are necessary for the start up or stabilization of the small business, up to the small business fee schedule. Comparable benefits must be considered and CFP applies.

Before the agency provides small business startup or stabilization costs, the individual must develop and submit to the agency a business plan. If, for disability related reasons, the person needs assistance in completing any assessment activities and/or developing and writing the business plan, reasonable supports will be provided.

The business plan must include the following:

  • A description of the business, including the product and/or service, the type of legal entity for the business, location and hours of the business;

  • Financial data, including sources of funding, capital equipment list, balance sheet, break even analysis, net and gross income projections, and cash flow projections;

  • A marketing analysis, including business competition, and a marketing plan;

  • A description of the technical and management expertise of the person or persons expected to manage and operate the business;

  • Zoning/licensing, taxation and insurance requirements;

  • An implementation schedule, including initial startup costs, or a stabilization schedule including stabilization costs;

  • A projection of possible risks and problems along with proposed strategies for addressing them.

A proposal for a Business plan with identified cumulative cost under the Authority for Local Purchase (ALP) level must be determined to have a reasonable chance for success by either the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Small Business Development Specialist or a state or nationally chartered lending institution or Micro-Enterprise program.

A proposal for a Business plan with identified cumulative cost over the Authority for Local Purchase (ALP) level must be determined to have a reasonable chance for success by a state or nationally chartered lending institution or Micro-Enterprise program. The lending institution or Micro-Enterprise program completing the review must be separate from anyone assisting the consumer with the development of the business plan.

Business startup or stabilization costs identified in the small business plan must be included in the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Employment Plan.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services will not fund any costs associated with the ongoing operation of a business.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services will not pay any costs of bankruptcy proceedings or costs because of the bankruptcy of a consumer's small business or self-employment.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Services contribution for startup or stabilization costs will be limited in accordance with the small business fee schedule specified in the Vocational Rehabilitation Rule that will be adjusted annually.

Costs associated with necessary rehabilitation technology, and its relevant training, required to accommodate the individual’s disability is not included in the small business fee schedule.

CFP applies to the provision of startup or stabilization costs.

There must be a search for comparable benefits unless the search would unreasonably interrupt or delay:

  • The progress of an eligible consumer toward achieving the employment outcome identified in his or her Employment Plan, or

  • An immediate job placement.

  • The provision of vocational rehabilitation services to any individual who is determined to be at extreme medical risk, based on medical evidence provided by an appropriate qualified medical professional.

The agency must not purchase a service when the consumer refuses or fails to make formal application for a comparable benefit to pay all or part of the cost of the service, or when the consumer refuses to accept a comparable benefit that is available to the consumer.

Through appropriate modes of communication, each consumer must be given the information necessary to make informed choices. Individuals with cognitive impairments or other disabilities who need help in exercising informed choice must be told that support services are available.

As appropriate, services can be obtained from either an in-state or out-of-state provider. If a consumer chooses an out-of-state provider at a higher cost than an in-state provider, if either provider would meet the individual’s rehabilitation needs, Vocational Rehabilitation Services is not responsible for those costs in excess of the cost of the in-state service.

Exceptions to the Small Business Policy may be requested from the Director of Vocational Rehabilitation Services or a designee when there are unique rehabilitation needs that cannot be met.

Alternate formats such as Braille, audio-visual and large print are available upon request.