Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

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A Program of the ATS


Self-employment may be a good option for some individuals with disability, particularly those who live in rural areas where jobs are often scarce. Benefits include the ability to set your own pace and schedule, reduction of transportation problems, and continued support from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), including health care, when income and assets are within these programs’ requirements.

Increasingly, traditional public service providers such as vocational rehabilitation (VR) professionals are implementing strategies and establishing partnerships with other public and private sector organizations to advance entrepreneurship among individuals with disabilities. For example:

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) program allows people with disabilities receiving SSI benefits to set aside money and resources to help achieve a particular work goal, including self-employment.

The Ticket-to-Work program connects SSI and SSDI beneficiaries with Employment Networks (EN) for training and other support services needed to achieve their employment goals, including self-employment.

More than 1,100 Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) offer free or low-cost counseling, training and technical assistance to individuals seeking to start their own business in communities across the nation.

The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), comprising more than 10,000 counselors at 389 offices nationwide, provides free small business start-up advice through one-on-one counseling, group workshops and online resources.

Local One-Stop Career Centers .funded through the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) assist people in training for and obtaining employment, including self-employment

There are a number of resources available to assist individuals with disabilities in exploring options for entrepreneurship:

Small Business and Self-Employment Service (SBSES)
1-800-526-7234 or 1-800-232-9675 (V/TTY)
SBSES is service from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy that provides advice and referrals to entrepreneurs with disabilities who are interested in starting their own business or exploring other self-employment options. The SBSES Web site includes links to other entrepreneurship sites, including the SBA and state VR programs.

Small Business Administration (SBA)
1-800-U-ASK-SBA (1-800-827-5722) (V); 1-704-344-6640 (TTY)
SBA sponsors a variety of programs and resources to assist entrepreneurs with disabilities start and grow their businesses, including the nationwide network of SBDCs that offer free or low-cost one-on-one counseling to help potential entrepreneurs with planning, financing, management, technology, government procurement and other business-related areas.

Social Security Administration
1-800-772-1213 (V); 1-800-325-0778 (TTY)
SSA provides information about disability cash benefit programs, employment support programs and where beneficiaries can get the services they need to successfully enter the workforce or self-employment