Document Type



University of Montana Rural Institute

Publication Date



Economics | Labor Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


In 1991-92, the Research and Training Center on Rural Rehabilitation (RTC: Rural) evaluated 45 state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies’ policies and procedures regarding self-employment for people with disabilities. Based on this analysis, researchers developed and broadly disseminated a model VR self-employment policy (Arnold & Seekins, 1994) and were successful in their efforts to have self-employment included as an employment outcome in the 1998 Reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act. In 2002, RTC: Rural investigated state policies again to see how they had changed and what trends had developed over the intervening decade. Researchers requested a copy of state self-employment policies and procedures from each of 82 departments of Vocational Rehabilitation in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Although our original study excluded visual services agencies, the current study included them, plus general VR and combined VR/visual services agencies. Fifty-four state agencies responded for a 65.9% response rate. Two researchers conducted independent reviews of the policies and procedures and compared them to RTC: Rural’s recommended model policy. They evaluated the changes in states’ self-employment policies and procedures to determine whether the states had adopted the model policy. Researchers found that VR agencies are now more open to self-employment outcomes. As self-employment for people with disabilities became more accepted over the past 10 years, several VR agencies revised their self-employment policies and procedures.


employment and vocational rehabilitation, self-employment, self-employment policy, rural, disability


© 2003 RTC:Rural.

Granting Agency

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research


This report was prepared by RTC:Rural. grant #H133B70017-05 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Dept. of Education.

Project Number