PowerUP Micro-Enterprise

Adults with Autism and/or intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) are increasingly drawn to the idea of Customized Self-Employment by starting their own small business. The Power of the Dream offers a program called “Power UP ME” (ME stands for Micro-Enterprise) to help budding entrepreneurs and their support network establish a small business that meets their needs.

We educate individuals and their support network about Customized Self-Employment. The specific circumstances of each individual will be taken under consideration to create a business plan that is tailored to the individual’s strengths and needs.

Asset development for individuals with Autism/IDD is often not well understood. Many in this population are SSI (Supplemental Social Security Income) beneficiaries and bound by strict resource limits. Small business ownership / Customized Self-Employment falls under “Property Essential for Self-Support” rules, whereby some assets are excluded from these SSI limits.  This creates the potential for additional cash flow and improved financial security.

Individuals with Autism/IDD and their families are often concerned about increasing incomes beyond the strict limitations of the SSI eligibility rules and about loosing Medicaid eligibility. In fact, SSI allows some assets for the operation of certain micro businesses (1-5 employees) under the exclusion of “Property Essential for Self-Support”. The same is true for Medicaid eligibility, as states cannot adopt stricter income and resource rules than those applying to SSI. If your small business generates enough income that you no longer need SSI, but still need Medicaid coverage due to severity of disabilities, you may qualify for the Medicaid Buy-In program option under clause 1619b. We can refer you to Benefits Specialists who can help with specific individual questions.

The soon to be implemented ABLE accounts can also provide financial supports for micro-business owners with disabilities.

The Power of the Dream through its HANDmeUPs Thrift store, provides display and sales opportunities for individuals with Autism/IDD who own a micro-business. If you would like to display your art or products in the HANDmeUPs Thrift store, please contact: info@thepowerofthedream.org