Self-Employment: Options for People with Disabilities

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These days, an increasing number of people with disabilities are choosing to start their own businesses. The pandemic has forced everyone to think outside the box and realize that work can look a lot of different ways. For people with disabilities, self-employment has long been an appealing and viable option for its flexibility in hours, type of work, and location.

The number of people with disabilities who have joined the
workforce is at the highest measured level


Source: Phys.Org - Kessler Foundation, 2021
Employment for people with disabilities reaches historic levels

Self-Employment Rewards and Challenges

Owning a business is challenging but can also be extremely rewarding. A person who works for themselves gets to do something they love, work in an environment that is suited to them, make their own hours, and feel a sense of accomplishment that is unlike working for someone else. Instead of forcing a person into a certain role, business owners get to mold the role to fit their dreams and aspirations.

As for the challenging part, being responsible for all parts of a business including business planning and financing, marketing, and day-to-day operations can be overwhelming. Then add to it some of the complexity related to a person’s disability such as managing income and disability benefits.

These challenges do not need to be navigated alone. We plan to highlight a variety of resources to help people with disabilities interested in exploring or pursing self-employment.

Employed persons with a disability were more likely to
be self-employed than those with no disability.


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021
Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics

Taking Care of Business

There are many ways to go about building a business. Most new business owners need a little assistance getting their enterprise underway. The National Center on Self-Employment, Business Ownership, and Telecommuting was created to train vocational rehabilitation professionals so they can help entrepreneurs get their businesses started.

The center has developed and is providing training for VR counselors and professionals so they can provide valuable advice and direction to new business owners. Training and tools are available on their website, centeronselfemployment.org. Along with tools to get a business underway, the site also information on topics like ABLE accounts, and has answers to questions about working and disability benefits.

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