19.1 Overview of Self-Employment Services

Self-employment:

  • means the customer solely owns, manages, and operates a business and is not considered an employee of another person, business, or organization;
  • exists when the service or product is actively marketed to other potential customers; and
  • includes home-based businesses and telecommuting businesses.

Self-employment allows for:

  • choice and control;
  • the use of natural skills and talents;
  • expanded work opportunities;
  • accumulation of wealth; and
  • independence and creative freedom.

Types of self-employment available to VRS customers include:

  • simple self-employment;
  • comprehensive self-employment; and
  • supported self-employment (SSE).

A customer's employment goal must match the customer's position held in the Business Plan. The customer's self-employment must be in a work environment that is:

  • integrated;
  • competitive*;
  • full-time or the most hours the customer can work; and
  • permanent, not temporary (seasonal).

In the case of an individual who is self-employed, yields an income that is comparable to the income received by other individuals without disabilities, who are self-employed in similar occupations or on similar tasks and who have similar training, experience, and skills.

*Based on 34 CFR §361.5(c)(9)(i)(C)

All services are based on and consistent with the customer's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choices. These services can include technical assistance and other consultation services to conduct market analyses, develop business plans, and otherwise provide resources, to the extent those resources are authorized to be provided through the statewide workforce development system, to eligible individuals who are pursuing self-employment or establishing a small business operation as an employment outcome.

This chapter includes the following services:

  • Technical Assistance for Customer Profile and Self-Employment Exploration
  • Technical Assistance for Concept Development and Feasibility Study
  • Technical Assistance for Business Plan Development
  • Supported Self-Employment (SSE) Staff Qualifications

All provider staff members must meet the following general standards of service provision:

  • maintain effective and professional relationships with customers, Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) staff members, and the community;
  • provide services as described in the VR Standards for Providers;
  • document customer-related and employment-related information and services as described in the VR Standards for Providers; and
  • maintain regular and effective verbal and written communication with VRS staff, employers, and customers.

VRS staff members are responsible for overseeing services provided to VRS customers. If the above general standards are not being met, the regional quality assurance specialist reviews staff concerns and may require that the employment services provider or CBTAC develop an action plan to address them. Continued failure to meet these general standards could result in adverse action against the provider.

Certified Business Technical Assistance Consultant (CBTAC)

A Certified Business Technical Assistance Consultant (CBTAC) must be certified by The Center for Social Capital.

Supported Self-Employment Endorsement

It is preferred that the CBTAC meets the qualifications outlined for a supported employment specialist in Chapter 18: Supported Employment Services, 18.1.11.4 Supported Employment Specialist, and must be certified by The Center for Social Capital as a CBTAC.

Job Skills Trainer

A job skills trainer must meet the qualifications outlined for a Job Skills Trainer in Chapter 17: Basic Employment Services, 17.2.2 Job Skills Trainer General Qualifications. It is a best practice for the Job Skills Trainer to work under the direction of the CBTAC.

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19.2 Self-Employment Exploration

19.2.1 Service Definition

Exploration activities include identifying the:

  • customer's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, skills, and preferences;
  • customer's education and work experience;
  • business ideas and potential businesses for the customer;
  • customer's circle of supports and/or potential business team members;
  • business tasks and who will perform these tasks;
  • business considerations for the customer; and
  • customer's potential need for outside services and supports (that is, extended supports).

19.2.2 Process and Procedure

A CBTAC receives a DARS1800, Self-Employment Referral Form and service authorization. The DARS1800 includes any documentation that will prepare the provider to better work with the customer, such as medical or psychological reports, case notes, vocational testing, or employment data collected by VR staff.

The CBTAC will assist the customer in completing the DARS1801, Customer Profile and Self-Employment Exploration.

If the CBTAC finds through the DARS1801 the customer would be better served through SSE services, the CBTAC must contact the VR counselor to discuss the need for SSE services. The VR counselor will review the DARS1801 and discuss with the CBTAC and customer prior to changing the service to SSE. The final decision is made by the VR counselor and the customer.

19.2.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The CBTAC documents in descriptive terms all the information required on the DARS1801, Customer Profile and Self-Employment Exploration demonstrating evidence that:

  • all required information required of the form was completed;
  • the self-employment business idea(s) was determined; and
  • the customer agrees with the business idea(s) recommended.

For payment, the VR counselor approves a completed, accurate, signed, and dated:

  • DARS1801, Customer Profile and Self-Employment Exploration; 
  • DARS1815, CBTAC Support Summary; and
  • an invoice.

This is an outcome-based service; VR will not pay unless all topics in the service description and service authorization were addressed to the customer's satisfaction and within a reasonable timeframe as determined by the customer's needs and abilities.

19.2.4 Fees

For more information, refer to 19.6 Self-Employment Fee Schedule.

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19.3 Self-Employment Concept Development and Feasibility Study

19.3.1 Service Definition

A Feasibility Study is an assessment, with research tools such as surveys or statistical analyses, regarding the likelihood of a business succeeding. The feasibility study is used to determine if the proposed self-employment business proposal is likely to succeed. The CBTAC, customer, and any identified support persons perform research for the business idea(s) identified in the DARS1801, Customer Profile and Self-Employment Exploration. The DARS1802, Concept Development and Feasibility Study contains elements of the feasibility study and must be thoroughly completed.

19.3.2 Process and Procedure

A CBTAC receives a DARS1800, Self-Employment Referral Form; DARS1801, Customer Profile and Self-Employment Exploration; or DARS1809, Supported Self-Employment Concept Development and DARS1810, Supported Self-Employment Feasibility Study, and service authorization. The DARS1800 includes any documentation that will prepare the provider to better work with the customer such as medical or psychological reports, case notes, vocational testing, or employment data collected by VR staff.

The CBTAC completes the DARS1802, Concept Development and Feasibility Study with the assistance of the customer and any outside supports available. The CBTAC assists the customer to:

  • develop a detailed concept;
  • gather necessary information to complete the feasibility study; and
  • determine if the business concept demonstrates the possibility of success for the business and the customer.

The CBTAC will recommend whether the self-employment being considered should be:

  • Simple Self-Employment;
  • Comprehensive Self-Employment; or
  • SSE.

The VR counselor will review the DARS1802 and approve what type of business plan will be required.

If the CBTAC determines the customer would be better served through SSE services, the CBTAC must contact the VR counselor to discuss the need for SSE services. The VR counselor will review the DARS1802, Concept Development and Feasibility Study, and discuss with the CBTAC and customer prior to changing the service to SSE. The final decision is made by the VR counselor and the customer.

If the feasibility study demonstrates the business is not going to produce income resulting in a level of support able to sustain the customer and solvency, then the VR counselor must advise the customer the self-employment as proposed will not be approved.

19.3.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The CBTAC documents in descriptive terms all the information required DARS1802, Concept Development and Feasibility Study, demonstrating evidence that:

  • all required information required on the form was completed;
  • a self-employment business concept has been determined;
  • results of the feasibility study state if the concept is likely to be successful or not; and
  • the customer agrees with the business concept and results of the feasibility study.

For payment for the Feasibility Study, the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

  • DARS1802, Concept Development and Feasibility Study, or DARS1809, Supported Self-Employment Concept Development; or DARS1810, Supported Self-Employment Feasibility Study (whichever is applicable);
  • DARS1815, CBTAC Support Summary; and
  • an invoice.

19.3.4 Fees

For more information, refer to 19.6 Self-Employment Fee Schedule.

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19.4 Self-Employment Business Plan Development

19.4.1 Service Definition

A business plan precisely defines the business, identifies its goals, and serves as the business's résumé. The business plan includes a:

  • business executive summary;
  • business description;
  • products and services;
  • market analysis;
  • marketing plan;
  • operations and legal considerations;
  • financials; and
  • extended services and supports.

The business plan provides specific and organized information about the company and how the business will repay borrowed money. A good business plan is a crucial part of any loan application, and helps the business owner:

  • allocate resources properly;
  • handle unforeseen complications; and
  • make good business decisions.

Note: The DARS1803, Simple Business Plan; DARS1804, Comprehensive Business Plan; and DARS1813, Supported Self-Employment Business Plan, are formatted to serve as both a business plan to be submitted to third parties and a report to the VR counselor.

19.4.2 Business Plans

There are different types of business plans required for self-employment. For the Texas Workforce Solutions – Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS) Self-Employment service, there are three types of business plans:

  • Simple Self-Employment business plan, which requires concise:
    • business executive summary;
    • business description;
    • products and services;
    • marketing analysis and plan;
    • operational and legal considerations;
    • financial plans;
    • extended business supports; and
    • appendices.
  • Comprehensive Self-Employment business plan, which requires detailed:
    • business executive summary;
    • business description;
    • products and services;
    • marketing analysis;
    • marketing plan;
    • operational and legal considerations;
    • financial plans;
    • extended business supports; and
    • appendices.

Supported Self Employment requires detailed information for the list below with additional information regarding the needed additional long-term supports and extended supports:

  • business executive summary;
  • business description;
  • products and services;
  • marketing analysis;
  • marketing plan;
  • operational and legal considerations;
  • financial plans;
  • extended business supports; and
  • appendices.

Refer to 19.5 Supported Self-Employment.

19.4.3 Process and Procedure

A CBTAC receives a DARS1800, Self-Employment Referral Form, and one or more of the following forms as applicable:

  • DARS1801, Customer Profile and Self-Employment Exploration;
  • DARS1802, Concept Development and Feasibility Study;
  • DARS1809, Supported Self-Employment Concept Development, or DARS1810, Supported Self-Employment Feasibility Study; and
  • service authorization.

The DARS1800 includes any documentation that will prepare the provider to better work with the customer, including medical or psychological reports, case notes, vocational testing, or employment data collected by VR staff.

After the VR counselor and customer determination, the case should continue to move forward in the process. The provider develops the business plan using the information obtained in the DARS1801 and DARS1802 or the DARS1612, DARS1808, DARS1809 and DARS1810, and a service authorization.

The CBTAC assists the customer in developing the business plan using the DARS1803, Simple Business Plan; DARS1804, Comprehensive Business Plan; or DARS1813, Supported Self-Employment Business Plan, as approved by the VRC and any other required approvals.

19.4.4 Outcomes Required for Payment

The CBTAC documents in descriptive terms all the information required on the DARS1803, Simple Business Plan; DARS1804, Comprehensive Business Plan; or DARS1813, Supported Self-Employment Business Plan, demonstrating evidence that:

  • all required information required on the form was completed;
  • a self-employment business plan has been completed; and
  • the customer agrees with the business plan.

For payment for the business plan, within five business days of receipt, the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

  • DARS1803, Simple Business Plan;
  • DARS1804 Comprehensive Business Plan; or
  • DARS1813, Supported Self-Employment Business Plan;
  • DARS1805, Self-Employment Financial Projections Spreadsheet;
  • DARS1815, CBTAC Support Summary; and
  • an invoice.

Note: Payment of the DARS1803, DARS1804, or DARS1813 does not mean all necessary approvals of the proposed business plan have been obtained or the plan is approved to move forward in the VR process.

19.4.5 Fees

For more information, refer to 19.6 Self-Employment Fee Schedule.

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19.5 Supported Self-Employment

19.5.1 Service Description

SSE is like self-employment but incorporates many of the concepts in supported employment service, including the provision of ongoing supports throughout the VR case and transitioning to extended services and supports, not funded by VRS, after case closure. Supports may include:

  • long-term job coaching supports;
  • ongoing case management;
  • peer supports, natural supports, family supports; or
  • ongoing paid professional services for the business.

SSE businesses are typically small and require a team approach to planning and support. A business team assists in:

  • exploration;
  • feasibility determination;
  • development of the business plan; and
  • business launch including:
    • identifying the customer's long-term support needs; and
    • implementing the customer's long-term supports.

SSE services are provided by the CBTAC, who helps the customer (the potential business owner) with SSE by:

  • providing technical assistance, including:
    • a SSE assessment;
    • concept development;
    • feasibility study; and
    • Supported Self-Employment Business Plan and financial development;
  • completing an SSE services plan;
  • assisting with business start-up;
  • assisting in business monitoring and maintenance; and
  • ensuring business stability (as defined in the IPE) by verifying all necessary long-term and extended supports are in place and working.

VRS purchases SSE services only from Employment Service Providers (ESPs) who have been certified as a CBTAC by The Center for Social Capital.

Customers determined by a VR counselor to be appropriate for SSE services are customers:

  • who are eligible for VR services;
  • who have a most significant disability and will need extended services and supports to maintain the self-employment outcome once VRS closes the case;
  • for whom SSE has been identified as the appropriate employment outcome by the customer and the VR counselor;
  • who require considerable help to develop an individualized, profitable, and sustainable business;
  • who can maintain a self-employment outcome with necessary supports in place; and
  • for whom another person, organization, or other resource agrees to provide the extended services and supports after VR-funded services are complete.

If the CBTAC finds through the DARS1801 or DARS1802 the customer would be better served through SSE services, the CBTAC must contact the VR counselor to discuss the need for SSE services.

19.5.2 Supported Self-Employment Assessment

19.5.2.1 Service Description

If a customer has expressed interest in self-employment and requires additional support, discovery is conducted by a CBTAC after a supported employment specialist has completed a DARS1612, Supported Employment Assessment (SEA). While there is no set standard for how much time a provider spends with a customer during discovery, research suggests that providers should spend as many as 20 hours on the discovery process observing the customer's abilities, challenges, and resources, as well as collecting information from professional and nonprofessional supports in the customer's life to make an informed decision. The discovery process includes:

  • exploring options related to self-employment outcomes;
  • identifying interests, capabilities, and preferences;
  • identifying ongoing support needs; and
  • identifying extended services and supports required for business success.

19.5.2.2 Process and Procedure

The employment service provider receives the DARS1800, Self-Employment Referral Form. The referral form includes any documentation that will prepare the CBTAC to better work with the customer, such as medical or psychological reports, case notes, vocational testing, employment history, functional capacity exams, business ideas, business plan, and benefits planning reports from community work incentive coordinators that are collected by VR staff.

The CBTAC begins the process by completing the DARS1808, Supported Self-Employment Assessment (SSEA).

The discovery process assists the provider in gathering the information necessary to answer all questions on the DARS1808, Supported Self-Employment Assessment (SSEA). The report must clearly describe the customer and the customer's business idea(s).

VRS recommends the person-centered planning process be used when collecting information for the SSEA.

The discovery process completed by the CBTAC includes:

  • an interview with the customer;
  • development of the person-centered plan;
  • interviews with members of the customer's circle of support and discussions with any extended services providers the customer will use (see Long Term Supports and Services Quick Reference Guide for additional information);
  • observing the customer's work skills, life skills, and behaviors at home and in the community, and touring current or potential work environments with the customer;
  • identifying and observing vocational interests, preferences, or themes;
  • collecting personal, school, and employer reference information;
  • assessing the customer's learning styles and needs for adaptive technology, accommodations, and on-site supports;
  • assessing and identifying the customer's strengths, challenges, and transferable skills exploring the customer's interests, capabilities, preferences, motivations, learning styles, challenges, ongoing support needs, and resources;
  • employment conditions related to the customer's preferences, resources, and support needs to achieve and maintain employment outcomes (including self-employment outcomes);
  • the customer's need for Extended Services and supports at or away from the job site to ensure competitive integrated employment success;
  • informational interviews and work skills observation completed by the customer; and
  • an assessment summary.

Best practice indicates the discovery process can take up to 20 hours per customer. However, providers must be aware that this process is an individualized one designed to achieve the customer's stated outcome and, therefore, timeframes may vary on an individual basis.

Completing the DARS1808, Supported Self-Employment Assessment (SEA)

When completing the DARS1808, Supported Self-Employment Assessment (SEA), the supported employment specialist will incorporate information:

  • obtained during the discovery process;
  • provided by VRS that relates to benefits planning; and
  • gathered regarding the customer's cognitive and physical abilities.

The DARS1808, SSEA, must include all information required on the form, including:

  • information necessary to proceed to business concept development;
  • support needs that family, friends, and professionals provide to help the customer maintain a high-quality life at home and in the community (for example, financial assistance, assistive technology, room and board, supervision for safety, and transportation); and
  • extended services and support needs that may be necessary for a successful employment outcome, including self-employment.

Holding an SSEA Review Meeting

The SSEA review meeting is held after the discovery process and the DARS1808, SSEA, has been completed. The SSEA review meeting is held to determine whether a supported self-employment outcome for the customer will be further explored and confirm the proposed business idea(s) need to be studied, and to identify the next steps that must take place.

The SSEA review meeting must include the:

  • VR counselor;
  • CBTAC; and
  • customer and customer representatives, as appropriate, and the customer's circle of support.

The SSEA meeting must: 

  • be led by the VR counselor and CBTAC;
  • review the SSEA for accuracy and completeness; and
  • help determine whether to complete:
    • DARS1809, Supported Self-Employment Concept Development;
    • DARS1810, Supported Self-Employment Feasibility Study;
    • DARS1813, Supported Self-Employment Business Plan; and/or
    • DARS1805, Financial Projection Spreadsheet.

19.5.2.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

On the DARS1808, SSEA, the CBTAC must clearly identify:

  • the customer's interests, assets, and abilities in work and non-work areas that were explored, identified, and appropriately summarized;
  • one or more appropriate business ideas;
  • information that supports how the business ideas for the customer were gained; and
  • specific support needs and/or interventions the customer may require to start and maintain a business.

Payment for SSEA is made:

  • after the supported self-employment assessment review meeting, has been held; and
  • after the VR counselor receives and approves:
    • a complete, accurate, and signed DARS1808, Supported Self-Employment Assessment; and
    • an invoice.

The DARS1808, Supported Self-Employment Assessment must be completed electronically. VRS can contact the customer and/or the customer's circle of supports to verify that information on the form is correct.

The DARS1808 must be signed by the CBTAC who completed the discovery process with the customer and documented the information on the form.

19.5.2.4 Fees

For more information, refer to 19.6 Self-Employment Fee Schedule.

19.5.3 Benchmark 1: Supported Self-Employment Services Plan

19.5.3.1 Service Description

The Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) is completed after the SEA, SSEA, Concept Development and Feasibility Study, business plan, and financials are completed and received all required approvals.

The SSESP identifies:

  • members of the SSESP team;
  • the customer's preferences and interests;
  • the customer's assets and abilities;
  • negotiable and nonnegotiable employment conditions;
  • potential extended services and supports needed by the customer;
  • potential business idea for a small business;
  • potential products or services to be provided by the small business;
  • potential business team members; and
  • potential resources to be used to study the small business ideas for feasibility.

SSESP Team Members

Members of the customer's SSESP team must include, at a minimum

  • the customer;
  • the customer's designated representative, if any;
  • the CBTAC; and
  • the VR counselor.

The team may include other significant people invited by the customer and who may potentially help achieve a successful supported self-employment outcome or be a provider of extended services and supports for the customer after VR case closure. Significant individuals may include:

  • parents;
  • teachers;
  • case managers;
  • neighbors;
  • counselors;
  • siblings;
  • friends;
  • business owners; and
  • church members.

The SSESP team maintains ongoing communication throughout the process to ensure the SSE outcomes are achieved. SSESP team members may become members of the business team for the customer.

The SSESP team members can help:

  • identify possible business ideas;
  • identify or provide extended services and supports to ensure self-employment success; and
  • motivate the customer.

19.5.3.2 Process and Procedure

Benchmark 1 is met by attending the SSESP meeting and by completing the DARS1811, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and Benchmark Report, printing and signing the DARS1811 at the meeting.

The VR counselor. or designated VRS staff member assists with completing the DARS1811 on a computer during the meeting to ensure all input is captured correctly on the DARS1811, SSESP and Benchmark Report. The VR counselor and CBTAC ensure group discussions include recommendations and strategies outlined in the SSEA. The SSESP meeting typically is one to two hours long and is facilitated by the CBTAC and lead by the customer. The SSESP meeting must be held face-to-face to allow all parties to actively participate in the discussion. The CBTAC will not bring a completed SSESP form to the meeting or complete the form after the conclusion of the meeting.

The forms must be:

  • completed electronically;
  • completed before any SSE services are provided to the customer;
  • team-developed with the customer's participation in identifying the required information on the form, with or without assistance from team members; and
  • printed by VR staff, upon completion.

Signatures are gathered at the end of the meeting for submission of benchmark paperwork. As needed, update the DARS1811 (changes in employment conditions or job tasks) prior to the achievement of any benchmark.

19.5.3.3 Outcomes for Payment

The customer, VR counselor, and CBTAC, along with other invited individuals, have completed the SSESP1 meeting and the DARS1811 is complete and demonstrates evidence that:

  • all information required on the form was completed;
  • a self-employment business concept(s) has been identified; and
  • the customer agrees with the SSESP.

For payment of Benchmark 1, the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

  • DARS1811, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and Benchmark Report; and
  • an invoice.

19.5.3.4 Fees

For more information, refer to 19.6 Self-Employment Fee Schedule.

19.5.4 Benchmark 2: Supported Self-Employment Start-Up

19.5.4.1 Service Description

The customer achieves Benchmark 2 when:

  • the customer starts work consistent with the requirements of the DARS1811, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and Benchmark Report:
    • the business idea is identified and approved on the DARS1813, Supported Self-Employment Business Plan;
    • 100 percent the nonnegotiable conditions are met; and
    • at least 50 percent or more negotiable conditions are met.
  • The customer has been working in the open business for five days. Do not start the count of days until the DARS1811 and DARS1813 are submitted and are determined by the VR counselor to be accurate.

To achieve Benchmark 2, the CBTAC must have a minimum of two contacts with the customer to monitor customer and business progress and performance during the benchmark and must:

  • complete the DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary (SSESS);
  • collect all signatures from the customer and as appropriate, the customer's legally authorized representative on the DARS1814; and
  • receive approval from the VR counselor.

19.5.4.2 Process and Procedure

The CBTAC must collect all information needed to complete an accurate DARS1814, SSESS through interviews and observations with the customer and their circle of support.

To achieve Benchmark 2, the CBTAC submits the DARS1811, which is used as the guide and plan for providing services to the customer, and must assist the customer as applicable in activities related to starting a business, including:

  • training or consulting in work-related tasks or behaviors such as support for initial advertising, marketing, sales, all licenses, registrations, accounting initiated, and monthly reporting to VRS of net profit or loss;
  • training or consulting with paid or natural supports (accountants, employees, etc.), who will be supporting the customer either short-term or long-term in managing the business; and
  • transportation training.

At least two business team meetings must be held each month before and during the completion of this benchmark.

Required Documentation

Services provided and hours worked must be documented on the DARS1814, SSESS. Information documented on the DARS1814 must include:

  • verification that the customer has been operating the business as scheduled for five days;
  • verification that the customer has a business that meets all nonnegotiable employment conditions and meets 50 percent or more of the negotiable employment conditions;
  • verification that the provider interacted with the customer at or away from the business in accordance with the support plan defined in the DARS1811, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and Benchmark Report;
  • a description of how specific support needs identified in the DARS1811, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and Benchmark Report are being addressed;
  • an explanation how emerging support needs are being met;
  • a signature by the customer (or customer's legally authorized representative) and the CBTAC; and
  • the DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet.

The information included in the DARS1814, SSESS documentation must be unique and individualized for the customer. VRS may contact the customer, customer's legally authorized representative (if any), or circle of support to verify the SSESP and the SSESS information is accurate.

The DARS1811, SSESP must be updated to be accurate through a new SSESP meeting (see the policy in 19.5.3 Benchmark 1: Supported Self-Employment Services Plan) before any count of days of employment can begin. If the VR counselor and customer or the customer's legally authorized representative do not choose to make changes to the original SSESP, the customer does not achieve all (100 percent) nonnegotiable conditions, and at least 50 percent of the negotiable conditions listed on the DARS1811, SSESP, the business start-up will not be accepted by VRS.

19.5.4.3 Outcomes for Payment

The CBTAC has completed the DARS1814 demonstrating evidence that:

  • all required information required on the form was completed;
  • the customer has successfully been employed for five working days in a business described on the DARS1811, SSESP.
  • the employment conditions and other criteria on the DARS1811 have been met; and
  • the customer agrees with the DARS1814.

Payment for Benchmark 2 is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

  • DARS1811, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and Benchmark Report
  • DARS1814 Supported Self-Employment Support Summary (SSESS);
  • DARS1806 Financial Actual Spreadsheet; and
  • invoice.

19.5.4.4 Fees

For more information, refer to 19.6 Self-Employment Fee Schedule.

19.5.5 Benchmark 3: Supported Self-Employment Maintenance

19.5.5.1 Service Description

The customer achieves Benchmark 3, Self-Employment Maintenance, when:

  • the customer is self-employed in a business listed on the most recent DARS1811, SSESP;
  • the customer has run a business for 112 calendar days;
  • the customer worked full-time or as much time as possible, during the reporting period
  • 100 percent non-negotiables are met; and
  • at least 50 percent negotiables are met.

To complete Benchmark 3, the CBTAC must have a minimum of two contacts per month with the customer to monitor the customer's performance and business progress. The CBTAC provides necessary assistance and supports during the first 112 calendar days from the day the business opens.

On- and off–job-site supports are provided to help the customer adjust to the demands of running the business. These supports are reduced as the customer's skills and Extended Services and supports are established.

19.5.5.2 Process and Procedure

To achieve Benchmark 3, the CBTAC completes the:

  • DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary report that must:
    • verify the customer has been running the business for 112 calendar days;
    • verify the customer has maintained a business that meets all nonnegotiable employment conditions and meets 50 percent or more of the negotiable employment conditions;
    • describe the customer's abilities, challenges, and support needs related to maintaining the business;
    • describe all training and supports the CBTAC, other natural supports, and Extended Services providers delivered to the customer or instructed others to provide to assist the customer;
    • verify the provider interacted with the customer at or away from the business in accordance with the support plan defined in the DARS1811, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and Benchmark Report;
    • describe how specific support needs identified in the DARS1811, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and Benchmark Report, are being addressed;
    • explain how emerging support needs are being met;
    • be signed by the customer (or customer's legally authorized representative) and the CBTAC; and
    • meet the established quality criteria; and
  • DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet.

The CBTAC must assist the customer, as applicable, in activities related to running and maintaining a business, including:

  • training or consulting in work-related tasks or behaviors such as support for initial advertising, marketing, sales, all licenses, registrations, accounting initiated, and monthly reporting to VRS of net profit or loss to ensure business success;
  • training or consulting with paid or natural supports (accountants, employees, etc.) who will be supporting the customer either short-term or long-term in managing the business;
  • transportation training;
  • problem resolution related to employees or support systems necessary to run the business effectively and efficiently; and
  • setting up interventions and services to address the customer's individual needs for extended services and supports necessary to sustain the business once VRS has closed the case.

At least two business team meetings must be held each month during the completion of this benchmark.

19.5.5.3 Outcomes for Payment

Supported Self-Employment Business Maintenance is complete when:

  • the customer has maintained a self-employment outcome that:
    • meets all nonnegotiable employment conditions; and
    • meets 50 percent of negotiable employment conditions;
  • the business has been operating and open for 112 calendar days;
  • the customer has received intensive on- and off–job-site supports, including setting up intervention and services to address long-term extended support needs to help the customer adjust to the demands of running a business as outlined in the Business Plan;
  • the CBTAC has had at least two contacts per month with the customer;
  • the following documentation has been completed electronically by the CBTAC, signed by the appropriate parties, and approved by the VR counselor:
    • DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary;
    • DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet; and
  • the customer agrees with the DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary.

The information documented in the DARS1814 and the DARS1806 must be unique and individualized for the customer. VRS may contact the customer or customer's legally authorized representative to verify that the DARS1814 and DARS1806 information is accurate.

Payment for Benchmark 3 is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed and dated:

  • DARS1811, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and Benchmark Report
  • DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary (SSESS);
  • DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet; and
  • invoice.

19.5.5.4 Fees

For more information, refer to 19.6 Self-Employment Fee Schedule.

19.5.6 Benchmark 4: Supported Self-Employment Stability

19.5.6.1 Service Description

The customer achieves Benchmark 4 when the:

  • customer maintains a business for at least 168 calendar days;
  • business meets 100 percent nonnegotiable conditions as identified on the DARS1811, SSESP;
  • business meets at least 50 percent or more of the negotiable conditions on the DARS1811, SSESP;
  • customer is performing the duties outlined in the business plan;
  • extended services and supports identified on the DARS1811 or that have emerged for the customer are in place:
    • customer's long-term supports and services (LTSS); or
    • alternate funding, agencies, or individuals that have been established to provide all extended services for the customer;
  • customer's business meets the stability criteria as described in the IPE;
  • customer, CBTAC, and any team members attend a Self-Employment Stability meeting with the VR counselor and all agree the business is stable. Extended Service providers are invited to attend, but their attendance is not mandatory;
  • customer's wage calculates to be equal to or greater than minimum wage as calculated on the DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet, for at least one month; and
  • customer's business has ending cash equal to or greater than one month of operating expenses as calculated on the DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet.

The Extended Services (long-term supports) identified on the DARS1811, SSESP, must be in place and working before the VR counselor can determine the customer and business are stable.

19.5.6.2 Process and Procedure

The CBTAC must:

  • continue to provide on- and off job-site supports until extended services, long-term supports are being provided by "natural supports" or Extended Service providers, before Self-Employment Stability can be achieved.
  • monitor the Extended Services and Supports as outlined in the DARS1811, SSESP, to verify the supports are effective and ensure the customer can maintain successful long-term self-employment;
  • complete the DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary, in positive, clear, and descriptive English. Details in the report should describe the customer so someone reading the report has a "clear picture" of the customer's support needs, abilities, and challenges related to establishing and maintaining the business and must:
    • verify that the customer has been running the business for 168 calendar days;
    • verify that the business meets all nonnegotiable employment conditions and meets 50 percent or more of the negotiable employment conditions;
    • verify that the provider interacted with the customer at or away from the business in accordance with the support plan defined in DARS1811, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and Benchmark Report;
    • describe how specific support needs identified in the DARS1811, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and Benchmark Report, were addressed;
    • explain how the extended services and supports are working without any intervention from the CBTAC; and
    • be signed by the customer (or customer's legally authorized representative) and the CBTAC; and
  • complete the DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet, that must verify the following, for the business to be considered stable:
    • The business has ending cash equal to or greater than one month of operating expenses; and
    • The customer's wage calculates to be equal to or greater than minimum wage.

The VR counselor makes the final decision in determining the Stability Status. A case is considered "Stable" once the Self-Employment Stability date is established through a Supported Self-Employment Stability meeting.

19.5.6.3 Outcomes for Payment

The customer must maintain self-employment a minimum of 168 calendar days consistent with the requirements documented in the DARS1811, SSESP, including meeting:

  • 100 percent of nonnegotiable; and
  • at least 50 percent of negotiable conditions.

The CBTAC must:

  • have a minimum of two contacts per month with the customer during the Self-Employment Stability period to monitor the customer's Extended Services, "Natural Supports," and business status; and
  • monitor Extended Service providers to ensure the customer maintains the self-employment with the supports, training, and accommodations listed in the DARS1811.

The CBTAC cannot provide the long-term support needs, training needs, and/or accommodations unless funding from a source other than VRS is secured.

The CBTAC submits a fully complete (on computer), accurate, signed, and dated DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary (SSESS), and gathers all handwritten signatures.

The completed DARS1814 describes the customer's employment, training supports, and accommodations. The form must document the customer has:

  • maintained a self-employment outcome that:
    • met all nonnegotiable employment conditions;
    • met at least 50 percent or more of negotiable employment conditions;
    • resulted in an ending cash equal to or greater than one month of operating expenses as calculated on the DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet; and
    • resulted in a wage that calculates to be equal to or greater than minimum wage as calculated on the DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet;
  • a business that has been operating and open for at least 168 calendar days;
  • received intensive on- and off–job-site supports, including setting up intervention and services to address supports to help the customer adjust to the demands of running a business as outlined in the DARS1812, Business Plan Support Summary Report; and
  • signed the following documentation completed by the CBTAC:
    • DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary; and
    • DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet.

For payment of Benchmark 4, the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

  • DARS1811, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP) and Benchmark Report
  • DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary (SSESS);
  • DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet; and
  • an invoice.

19.5.6.4 Fees

For more information, refer to 19.6 Self-Employment Fee Schedule.

19.5.7 Benchmark 5: Supported Self-Employment Service Closure

19.5.7.1 Service Description

The customer achieves Benchmark 5 when the:

  • customer maintains the business for at least 90 days from the established stability date from benchmark 4;
  • CBTAC has not provided any services other than monitoring since the established stability date from benchmark 4;
  • business meets 100 percent nonnegotiable conditions as identified on the DARS1811, SESSP;
  • business meets at least 50 percent or more of the negotiable conditions on the DARS1811, SSESP;
  • customer is performing the duties outlines in the business plan;
  • extended services and supports identified on the DARS1811 or that have emerged for the customer are in place and working, including:
    • the customer's long-term supports and services (LTSS); or
    • alternate funding, agencies, or people that have been established to provide all extended services for the customer;
  • customer's business meets the employment criteria as described in the IPE;
  • customer, CBTAC, and any team members attend a Self-Employment Stability meeting with the VR counselor and all agree the business is stable (extended service providers are invited to attend, but their attendance is not mandatory);
  • the customer's wage is equal to or greater than minimum wage as calculated on the DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet, for at least one month;
  • the customer's business must has ending cash equal to or greater than one month of operating expenses as calculated on the DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet; and
  • the business has ending cash equal to or greater than three months (does not have to be consecutive months) of operating expenses for the business for 90 days after stability.

The Extended Services (long-term supports) identified on the DARS1811 must be in place and working before the VR counselor can determine the customer and business is stable.

19.5.7.2 Process and Procedure

The CBTAC must:

  • monitor the Extended Services and Supports as outlined in the DARS1811, SSESP, to verify the supports are effective and ensure the customer can maintain successful long-term self-employment;
  • complete the DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary, in positive, clear, and descriptive English. Details in the report should describe the customer so someone reading the report has a "clear picture" of the customer's support needs, abilities, and challenges related to establishing and maintaining the business. The report must:
    • verify the customer has been running the business without any supports from the CBTAC for at least 90 days from the established stability date;
    • verify the business meets all nonnegotiable employment conditions and meets 50 percent or more of the negotiable employment conditions;
    • verify the CBTAC met with the customer at or away from the business at least two times per month;
    • describe how specific support needs identified in the DARS1808, Supported Self-Employment Services Plan (SSESP), were addressed;
    • explain how the extended services and supports are working without any intervention from the CBTAC; and
    • be signed by the customer (or customer's legally authorized representative) and the CBTAC; and
  • complete the DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet, that must verify the following, for the business to be considered stable:
    • the business has ending cash equal to or greater than one month of operating expenses; and
    • the customer's wage calculates to be equal to or greater than minimum wage.

19.5.7.3 Outcomes for Payment

The customer must maintain self-employment a minimum of 90 calendar days after stability with the requirements documented in the DARS1811, SSESP, including meeting:

  • 100 percent of nonnegotiable conditions; and
  • at least 50 percent of negotiable conditions.

The CBTAC must:

  • have a minimum of two contacts per month with the customer during the Self-Employment Stability period to monitor the customer's Extended Services, "Natural Supports" and business status; and
  • monitor Extended Service providers to ensure the customer maintains the self-employment with the supports, training, and accommodations listed in the DARS1811.

The CBTAC cannot provide the long-term support needs, training needs, and/or accommodations unless funding from a source other than VRS is secured.

The CBTAC submits a fully complete (on computer), accurate, signed, and dated DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary (SSESS), and gathers all handwritten signatures.

The completed DARS1814 describes the customer's employment, training supports, and accommodations. The form must document the customer has:

  • maintained a self-employment outcome that:
    • met all nonnegotiable employment conditions;
    • met at least 50 percent or more of negotiable employment conditions;
    • has ending cash equal to or greater than three months (does not have to be consecutive months) of operating expenses for the business for 90 days after stability as calculated on the DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet; and
  • provides the customer a wage calculated to be equal to or greater than minimum wage for three months within a twelve-month period after stability as calculated on the DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet;
  • a business that has been operating and open for at least 258 calendar days;
  • received intensive on- and off–job-site supports, including setting up intervention and services to address supports to help the customer adjust to the demands of running a business as outlined in the DARS1812, Business Plan Support Summary Report; and
  • signed the following documentation completed by the CBTAC:
    • DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary; and
    • DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet.

For payment of Benchmark 5, the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:       

  • DARS1814, Supported Self-Employment Support Summary (SSESS);
  • DARS1806, Financial Actual Spreadsheet; and
  • invoice.

19.5.7.4 Fees

For more information, refer to 19.6 Self-Employment Fee Schedule.

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19.6 Self-Employment Fee Schedule

Self-Employment Service Unit Rate Comments
Customer Profile & Self-Employment Exploration $262.50  
Concept Development - Only – Simple $187.50 May be purchased if not also purchasing Feasibility Study
Concept Development - Only – Comprehensive $262.50 May be purchased if not also purchasing Feasibility Study
Concept Development - Only - Supported $125.00 Only purchased after completion of Supported Self-Employment Assessment
Feasibility Study – Only – Simple $450.00 May be purchased if not also purchasing Concept Development
Feasibility Study – Only – Comprehensive $787.50 May be purchased if not also purchasing Concept Development
Feasibility Study – Only – Supported $1,125.00 Only purchased after completion of Supported Self-Employment Concept Development
Concept Development & Feasibility Study – Simple $637.50 If one of these services has already been purchased, a reduction in rate will be applied by reducing the payment for the service already billed
Concept Development & Feasibility Study - Comprehensive $1,050.00 If one of these services has already been purchased, a reduction in rate will be applied by reducing the payment for the service already billed
Business Plan Review – Only – Simple $187.50 May be purchased if not purchasing Business Plan
Business Plan Review – Only – Comprehensive $262.50 May be purchased if not purchasing Business Plan
Business Plan - Simple $750.00 If this service is chosen after payment for a business plan review, a reduction in rate will be applied by reducing the payment for the plan review already billed
Business Plan – Comprehensive $1,125.00 If this service is chosen after payment for a business plan review, a reduction in rate will be applied by reducing the payment for the plan review already billed
Business Plan – Supported $1,312.50 If this service is chosen after payment for a business plan review, a reduction in rate will be applied by reducing the payment for the plan review already billed
Financials – Simple $262.50 Paid only once
Financials – Comprehensive $450.00 Paid only once
Financials – Supported $450.00 Paid only once
Supported Self-Employment Assessment $750.00 Not paid until after the VR counselor, the customer and CBTAC have met to discuss results and determine if moving forward with Supported Self-Employment Services
Benchmark 1: Supported Self-Employment Services Plan $125.00 Benchmark paid only once, even if multiple SSESP Meetings occur
Benchmark 2: Supported Self-Employment Business Start-Up $1,650.00 Business must be operating for at least 5 days prior to achievement of Benchmark
Benchmark 3: Supported Self-Employment Business Maintenance $825.00 Business must be operating for at least 112 days prior to achievement of Benchmark
Benchmark 4: Supported Self-Employment Business Stability $825.00
  • Stability Meeting must take place with TWS-VRC to established Stability Date prior to payment of Benchmark
  • Stability must meet or exceed stability established in IPE
  • Business must be operating for 168 days
Benchmark 5: Supported Self-Employment Service Closure $2,475.00
  • Business must be operating 90 after Stability with no support or assistance from the CBTAC
  • Any supports needed must be provided by Extended Service Provider(s)

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