Existing Business Policy

Effective dates: June 2018 - July 2021

This policy is to be used to help DVR staff work with consumers whose goal is to maintain their existing business. Through this Existing Business Policy DVR can assist existing business owners with additional costs that are due to disability related factors and associated with operating their business.

As with any complex set of vocational rehabilitation services, please consult with your WDA team and supervision. Use the DVR Exception Process when applicable. DVR Exception Process Form

This policy is NOT designed for the following:

  • Starting a business
  • Expanding an existing business
  • Purchasing a business
  • Cash based businesses that do not comply with IRS regulations
  • Employees of a business
  • Existing businesses whose goal is to change their operation (e.g. dairy cow farming changing to goats).

The Self-Employment Toolkit for business startup should be used for creation of a business and changes to the operation.

The Application process, Eligibility process and Vocational Guidance and Counseling for all consumers, including existing business owners, should not vary from typical services. The individualized plan for employment (IPE) will require some additional steps. These steps are described in this policy.

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  • Inquire if they are the legal owner of a for profit business, filed taxes on that business for the past 3 years, and have received assistance from DVR on this business in the past. Inform them ownership and taxes will be verified during the profitability assessment process.
  • If consumer is not a legal owner of the business and or has not filed taxes on that business in the past 3 years, do not proceed with the Existing Business Policy.
    • 3 years of taxes is the industry standard for determining profitability. There may be individualized circumstances when more or less years of taxes could be considered. In these cases, the DVR Exception Process may be used. DVR Exception Process Form
  • Note: If not an existing business, refer to other DVR employment services (i.e., job placement, start your own business self employment toolkit, etc) and provide as appropriate.
  • If they have received assistance with this business you must review the previous case. If the goal was for the same self-employment business, review the consumers' current functional limitations and job duties in comparison to those of the prior case to determine if there are significant changes and/or new limitations. Document your findings and any supporting data in the case file, including the medical documentation that supports any significant increase of functional limitations.
  • If there are no significant changes and the consumer has already received services to address their disability related needs, inform the consumer they have already received assistance for their current vocational goal, functional limitations and duties and no further Existing Business services will be provided. Furnish a copy of their appeal rights and offer other DVR services as appropriate. Discuss other DVR employment services and provide as appropriate. Use the DVR Exception Process when applicable.
  • If they have received services related to the current vocational goal, but have new or significant changes in their limitations and/or duties, consult with supervision to request approval to provide services for the same existing business goal when determined appropriate. If approval is granted proceed with Step 2.
  • If they have never received DVR assistance related to their existing business or their prior file has been purged from the system, please continue with Step 2.
  • Complete the Existing Business Review Form – Discuss the business and job duties of all workers. Be detailed in completing each section of the form. This is completed with the consumer prior to the on-site meeting and can be done at the office or via phone.
  • Complete an authorization case note for the Profitability Assessment
    • The fee established for providing this services is:
      • $800 (code 021) for all business types payable to the statewide vendor facilitating this service. (See Tech Specs – attachment #1 below)
  • Send purchase order with the following referral information:
    • Existing Business review form
    • Consumer contact information

The profitability assessment is provided to verify (1) the consumer is a legal owner of the business (2) the business is profitable and (3) the consumer's hourly wage using income allocated to the consumer and average hours worked weekly (maximum of 40 hours used for full time) for each of the last 3 years, is at least minimum wage.

  • Perform Walk through of the Business – Review the consumer's job duties, barriers, hours worked per week and how their limitations are affecting them in the essential functions of their job duties.

    Complete a Functional Capacity Evaluation if DVR does not have medical documentation of the restrictions impacting the consumer's job duties.

    If there are multiple workers at the business, gather information related to the duties of others including part-time and seasonal workers if applicable.

    Update the Existing Business Review form to include any job duty changes and additions, note the condition of the business, and add any other details of what you learned on the walkthrough. Review the completed form with the consumer and collect the required signatures.

  • Complete a case note describing the walk-through and any other relevant information. Attach the updated Existing Business Review form to the case file.
  • Review the Profitability Assessment Report with the consumer and the provider. This can be done in person or via phone. Profitability Assessment approval/denial and explanation of the DVR Exception Process or appeal rights to be made by the counselor and case noted.
  • To move forward with the accommodations assessment,without an approved exception, all of the following criteria must be met:
    • Consumer is an owner
    • Business shows profit for each of the prior three years
    • Consumer earned minimum wage from the business for the hours worked (up to 40 hours/week) in each of the prior three years
  • If any of the criteria above is not met, do not proceed with the accommodations assessment. Explain denial of services in a supportive manner including thorough detail of why. Counsel on other vocational options and DVR services as appropriate and provide appeal rights. If the consumer or vendor reports any variances to take into consideration please discuss with management on how to proceed. The DVR Exception Process can be utilized.
  • Choose correct plan type and list goal starting with "Self-employment – "
  • Develop IPE for the following services:
    • Vocational guidance and counseling
    • Rehabilitation Technology Assessment – After an approved Profitability Assessment
    • Other services as necessary. (Assessments, Training, etc.)
  • Review and Sign Fiscal Responsibilities Agreement Form
  • Discuss vendor options with consumer and send a referral to the agreed upon provider (Easter Seals FARM Program, IL center, Stout, private consultant, etc.) The consumer may choose to complete additional research on provider options.
  • Send provider the following information:
    1. Consumer and counselor contact information
    2. Counselor's walk-through findings on the Existing Business Review Form (refer to step 1)
    3. Documentation of functional limitations (to include restrictions when relevant)
  • Provider meets consumer at the business to assess overall health/stability of the business and determine what accommodations are required for the essential functions of the job duties listed in the counselor's walk-through visit findings.
  • Accommodations Report is provided to DVR counselor via email and sent by the provider to the scan unit for attachment to the file.
  • VRC reviews the report and recommendations to ensure services are reasonable, necessary and appropriate:
    • Ensure all accommodations are addressing disability issues documented in the file. (If the disability and limitations were not documented initially, acquire documentation from the consumer if possible or assist in gathering that information as appropriate.)
    • Counselor must consult with supervisor if any accommodation exceeds $5,000.
    • Contact provider with any questions or clarification needed prior to meeting with consumer.
    • Discuss findings with consumer and describe how the fee schedule and policy may affect DVR authorized purchases.
  • Hold review meeting at a DVR office with assessment provider, counselor, and consumer.
  • Review and discuss the recommendations, including the three written quotes and vendor selection when applicable.
  • Review Fee Schedule, Discuss Any Required Consumer Share and review Fiscal Responsibilities Form.
    • DVR Fee Schedule allows DVR to support up to $10,000 for accommodations/assistive technology only. Anything over this amount requires an approved DVR Exception.
  • Amend the IPE to include purchase of assistive technology as necessary and appropriate. (Agreement on purchase of assistive technology may not be determined at this meeting if further research, review and/or additional meetings are necessary to finalize the services and costs of recommendations to be provided.)

Policy Language

An accommodation for the purpose of this policy is a change or adjustment to a job (including reassignment of duties), work space (i.e., an ergonomic chair or workstation) or use of an item necessary to perform a job (i.e., steps on a tractor). An accommodation is further defined as a disability related item or service required by the worker not typically required by others doing the same job and necessary due to a limitation caused by the disability.

DVR does not purchase, provide maintenance, repair or replace equipment customary for the size and scope of the business. These are considered standard expenses and the cost of doing business. The business owner should plan for these in order to maintain their business. (This clarifies that we don’t replace broken down equipment or do standard maintenance).

If an item cannot be adapted or modified and a new item or piece of equipment is recommended for purchase with the adaption or modification, DVR will only be responsible for the adaption or modification portion and the business owner will be responsible for the remainder. The business owner can trade in equipment to assist with defraying costs.

The DVR Exception Process can be utilized for any provisions in this policy when applicable.

  • Amend the IPE to include purchasing specifics.
  • Document the consumer share agreed to in the responsibilities section.
  • Follow all DVR policy and purchasing requirements and verify the goods/services are listed in the IPE.
  • Complete the authorization with accommodation justification, attach the estimates and send out the POs for the accommodation goods/services.
  • The 90 day clock does not begin until all services DVR has agreed to provide have been delivered. When to start the 90 day clock should be mutually agreed upon.
  • During the follow-along period, it is critical that DVR staff and the consumer remain in contact and have frequent updates on the progress of the case. DVR staff should continue to provide guidance and counseling and other supports as necessary and appropriate.
  • DVR staff should ensure all items and services purchased for the consumer were received, the consumer was satisfied with the services and case note the results in the case file.
  • Complete the closure page and federal requirements according to DVR Policy.
    • The closure criteria is the same as it is for all rehabilitation closures (90 days of at least minimum wage at the level agreed upon - full time, half time, etc.), stable on the job, etc, with the exception of using adjusted gross (per WIOA for small businesses).
    • The consumer's business must have generated at least minimum wage times the number of hours per week that has been agreed upon in the IPE (10 hours, 20 hours, full time - calculated up to 40 hours) for each of the three consecutive months in follow along.
  • Wages must be reported for the RSA 911 in the 2nd and 4th quarter after the consumer exits the program. Include discussion of post-employment/future needs regarding wage verification in your vocational guidance and counseling with consumer at closure. Wages may be determined as follows:
    • Documentation of the consumers self-reported wages
    • The most recent years taxes