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Special Provisions - FAQs

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)


What is the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP)?

The Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) gives you an opportunity to start a business and create your own job while receiving UI benefits.  If accepted into the SEAP, you will work full-time at starting your own business and you will not be required to look for other work.

Before starting your business, you must participate in an SEAP orientation, apply for the program, and be approved for it. During the orientation, you will:

  • Learn what the SEAP requires 
  • Learn about the risks and responsibilities that come with starting a business

Before you participate in an orientation, here are some things about the SEAP to consider:

  • SEAP requires that you have enough time available to complete all necessary forms and training. Therefore, you must be eligible for at least 13 more weeks of UI benefits to participate in the program at the time that you are accepted into the program.
  • You must decide exactly what type of business you want to start before you apply to the SEAP.The program does not allow time to explore business ideas -- only to develop an existing idea.
  • The SEAP requires you to take at least 20 hours of entrepreneurial training.Contact local organizations such as the Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE), the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or the Small Business Administration (SBA) to locate entrepreneurial workshops in your area. More information about these organizations will be provided during the SEAP orientation.
  • You must find and meet with a business counselor of your choice at least twice and submit benchmark forms to the Department of Labor that we provide to show the progress of your start-up activities. You can contact local organizations such as the Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to find a business counselor. These organizations provide free one-on-one counseling to individuals interested in starting a business. You can also use a qualified expert in the type of business you intend to start. The Department of Labor does not provide business counselors.
  • If you are accepted into the SEAP, you will only be eligible for up to a combined total of 26 weeks of UI and SEAP benefits during your benefit year.
  • Skills you already have should match those needed to operate the business type you choose.
  • The SEAP does not provide start-up funds for your business.
  • Once accepted into the program, you will not be able to use the Tel-Service phone system or the Web to claim weekly SEAP benefits. You must submit a paper certification coupon (provided) every week.

For more information about program eligibility, see our Eligibility for the Self-Employment Assistance Program fact sheet.

If you are interested in this program, contact the SEAP Coordinator for your region (listed below) or call 1-888-4-NYSDOL (1-888-469-7365) to be connected to a SEAP Coordinator.

RegionCountySEAP CoordinatorE-mail address
North Country Clinton, Franklin, Essex, Hamilton

Meaghan Lamica
St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis Lisa Arquitt
Capital Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Warren, Washington, Columbia, Greene Andrea Howard
Mid-Hudson Rockland, Putnam, Westchester Sandra Bandes
Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan, Orange Howard Schertzer
New York City New York, Kings, Queens, Richmond, Bronx Makie Sanchez
Long Island Nassau Elisa Long
Suffolk Beth Chalmers
Mohawk Valley Oneida, Herkimer, Madison Mike Clark
Fulton, Schoharie, Montgomery Darlene Slater
Southern Tier Delaware, Chenango, Broome, Tioga, Tompkins, Schuyler, Chemung, Otsego, Steuben Greg Nagle
Central Oswego, Onondaga, Cortland, Cayuga David Schultz
Finger Lakes Wayne, Seneca, Yates, Ontario, Genesee, Wyoming, Orleans, Livingston, Monroe Thomas Frisk
Western Niagara, Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany Michael Farkas

Before you can start or operate your own business while collecting UI benefits, you must:

  • Comply with program requirements
  • Receive written acceptance into the SEAP program


What is Trade Adjustment Assistance?  (TAA)

If you lost your job directly or indirectly because of foreign trade, you may be eligible for TAA.

This assistance may include:

  • Additional weekly benefits under Trade Readjustments Allowances;
  • Paid training;
  • Job search assistance;
  • Relocation allowances

To be eligible for these benefits, the United States Department of Labor must certify that foreign trade was an important reason that you lost your job. Your employer, the New York State Department of Labor, your union or you and two other affected employees must file a petition to get this certification. You can get a petition form from your local Career Center or online at The petition must be filed with the United States Department of Labor within one year of the date you lost your job.

Important: You must meet certain deadlines to qualify for some of these benefits.  Contact your local Career Center for information about the services you may be able to get under this program. To find your closest Career Center, go to or call the Department of Labor Contact Center at 1-888-4-NYSDOL (1-888-469-7365).

Details on TAA.


Are you attending or interested in a school or training program?

A provision in the UI Law (the 599 Program) allows UI claimants to receive benefits while they attend a training course or program.  The training, however, must be approved by the Department of Labor.

Once we approve training under this provision, UI claimants:

  • Are excused from the requirement to look for work
  • May qualify for more weeks of benefits when there are funds

If you told us that you attend (or have been accepted to) a training program when you filed your claim, the Labor Department will contact you. We will review your course or program. Then we will tell you if it is approved or not.

If you delay in notifying us about training acceptance or attendance, it may reduce the benefits you can collect. If you fail to disclose attendance in training while receiving benefits, it may result in penalties and loss of future benefits.

If you want to attend training, contact your local New York State Career Center promptly to qualify for the highest benefit allowed under this program. Trained counselors at the Career Center can help you with your training needs and guide you to approvable training programs. Ask about the 599 Training Program.

If we cannot approve your training, you may be eligible to collect UI benefits while in training -- as long as you are able to seek and accept employment.

Details on the 599 Program.


Who is a dislocated worker?

A "dislocated worker" is someone who lost their job due to one of the following situations:

  • You were terminated or laid off from your job, are eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits, and are identified by us as unlikely to return to your previous industry or occupation.
  • You lost your job as a result of a plant closing or substantial layoff.
  • You have been unemployed for a long time and are unlikely to get another job in the same or similar occupation.
  • You were self-employed and are unemployed due to general economic conditions or a natural disaster.

You may also be considered a dislocated worker if you have been away from the labor force for many years. For example: you were a full-time homemaker and you must now return to the labor force because you have lost your source of income.

As a dislocated worker, you may be eligible for retraining and other services. Contact your local Career Center for information about services available under this program. To find the closest Career Center, go to or call the Department of Labor Contact Center at 1-888-4-NYSDOL (1-888-469-7365).


What is Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)?

DUA is a federal program that provides payments to people in a federally declared disaster area who have lost work or income as a direct result of the disaster. The NYS Department of Labor determines if claims filed under the program are valid, and makes payments to those who qualify. The federal government funds the DUA program.


How do I qualify?

If you live or work in any of the affected counties and lost your job or income as a direct result of the disaster, you may qualify. The list of the affected counties is updated on this website whenever there is a new federally declared disaster. You will not qualify for DUA if you are eligible for a regular unemployment insurance claim.


Can I receive DUA if I am self-employed?

If you live in or get most of your income from areas affected by the disaster, you may qualify.


Can I qualify if I'm a self-employed farmer?

If you live in or get most of your income from areas affected by the disaster, you may qualify.


As a self-employed farmer, can I earn an income and still collect DUA?

Yes, in some situations. For example, farmers who are involved in more than one aspect of farming (i.e., dairy and crops) may qualify for partial DUA payments.


Can I clean or salvage my business/farm while collecting DUA?

Yes. Also, salvaging or other limited self-employment activity alone will not necessarily make you ineligible for DUA, as long as you work less than full time and your earnings do not exceed $420 a week.


How does someone who speaks a language other than English or Spanish apply for DUA?

For translations, contact the TCC at 1-888-209-8124 or 1-877-358-5306 (if you live out of the state) and choose your language at the prompts. If your language is not listed, choose option 9 for other languages. After you file a claim and connect to an agent, tell them that you are filing due to the disaster and would like more details.


How do I apply?

You must first file for regular unemployment insurance by calling the NYS Department of Labor at 1-888-209-8124 or 1-877-358-5306 (if you live out of state). Answer the questions to indicate that you lost your job as a direct result of the effects of the federally declared disaster.


Can I apply for other disaster benefits if I apply for DUA?

Yes. You can apply for any other disaster benefits besides DUA. Please visit My Benefits or the NYS Office of Emergency Management for details.


How do I claim weekly DUA benefits?

When you first file for DUA over the phone, you will learn how to claim weekly benefits. You will also receive a Disaster Unemployment Assistance form. This form tells you how to claim weekly benefits by mail, if you continue to be unemployed due to the disaster.


How long can I collect DUA?

This information is provided on our website when a specific federal disaster is declared.


What is the minimum weekly DUA benefit?

This information is provided on our website when a specific federal disaster is declared.


What is the maximum weekly DUA Benefit?

The maximum weekly DUA benefit is always the same as the maximum Unemployment Insurance benefit rate.


Do I need to claim each week that I am unemployed in order to get payments?

Yes. If you are qualified, you need to claim benefits each week in order to get payments. Your eligibility for DUA will be determined on a week-by-week basis. You must continue to be unemployed and your unemployment must continue to be a direct result of the disaster.


If I qualify, how will I get DUA benefits?

You will get benefits on a Direct Payment Card, which will arrive about one week after you qualify. Payment should be on the card within two business days after you claim each week.


I am an employer. Will my account be charged if my workers collect DUA?

No, DUA is not charged to your account if your workers collect.

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