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Business Enterprise Program (BEP) Eligibility
Under State and Federal law a Blind Person must be licensed to operate a vending facility in the BEP. The following is an explanation of the process. Licenses are issued only to persons who, as determined by the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, meet all of the following requirements:
- Are blind, as certified by a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist.
- Are not less than 18 years of age.
- Are certified by the Commission as qualified to operate a vending facility.
- Are citizens of the United States.
An applicant must qualify under all of these criteria to be eligible for managing a facility in this employment program.
The following paragraphs explain the requirements.
- CERTIFIED AS BLIND - This means that the applicant's certified eye report must show legal blindness. Any time an operator obtains corrective surgery or his/her vision improves through any other means, the operator will be required to submit a new eye exam. If the individual is no longer legally blind, his/her license will be revoked because he/she does not meet all of the above legislatively established criteria. (State Rule 393.105 and 393.106)
- AGE - Must be over 18 years old.
- Business Enterprise Program certification includes evaluation, successful completion of classroom training and on-the-job training.
- CITIZENSHIP - Must be a citizen of the U.S., self explanatory.
Questions concerning an operator's present or continued eligibility must be directed to the rehabilitation counselor or BEP Promotional Agent.
Eligibility for BEP Training
The Randolph-Sheppard Act specifically indicates that preference shall be given to individuals who are "in need of employment." For purposes of compliance with this statute an individual shall be determined "in need of employment," and eligible for Business Enterprise Program training and assignments when:
- An individual is unemployed,
- A person is earning less than or equal to 40 hours a week times the minimum wage,
- A person is employed in a Business Enterprise location, or
- Active rehabilitation clients whose vocational objective is placement in the Business Enterprise Program and whose name is placed on the Potential Operators List, and who takes employment while waiting to be placed in the Business Enterprise Program. In these situations the potential operator will remain on the Potential Operators List with full rights as a potential operator until one of the following occurs: Is awarded a Business Enterprise program location, or elects to have his/her name removed from the Potential Operators List. If a three-year period lapses, then the individual will be required to be retrained.
When an individual does not meet the requirements as determined by the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, or is not "in need of employment" the client will not be eligible for BEP training and/or placement.