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Benefits available for SSD entrepreneurs

Starting up a new business can be incredibly difficult, regardless of an entrepreneur's experience level or financial backing. Many businesses fail because of inadequate funding, but others falter because of poor business plans, bad management and overly optimistic sales projection. Would-be business owners who receive Social Security Disability benefits have an even more difficult time starting and maintaining a business because of their special needs. But a successful venture could maybe help a person get off the benefits.

People with disabilities must consider different insurance options when starting a new business. They also sometimes require special accommodations. Further, many people with disabilities do not have the assets required to start a business.

People with disabilities are more likely than the general public to be self-employed, according to recent census statistics. The traditional challenges faced by business operators can become overwhelming for a person with disabilities if they do not receive support.

That's why a variety of programs have sprung up to assist disabled individuals with launching their businesses. Many states offer loan guarantee programs that allow people with disabilities to more easily borrow through traditional lending institutions.

Florida has implemented one of the most successful programs, called the Central Florida Disability Chamber of Commerce. The program is designed to help disabled people develop business plans and secure funding. The organization helps people put together their business plans, develop financial projections, analyze Social Security benefits and identify funding sources.

In addition, the Department of Veterans' Affairs operates the Center for Veterans Enterprise, a group dedicated to assisting veterans in starting and growing businesses. The group links prospective business owners with resources from the Small Business Administration and the National Association of State Directors of Veterans' Affairs.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Help for entrepreneurs with disabilities," Elliot Raphaelson, April 17, 2012

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