The SEAP gives you the opportunity to start your own business. If accepted into the SEAP, you will work full-time on establishing your own business while receiving weekly Unemployment Insurance benefits, even if your business is making money. You will not have to look for other work. However, you must receive a written SEAP approval letter before you can start or operate your own business, and you must have 20 hours of entrepreneurial training and two face-to-face meetings with a business counselor to complete the program.
The SEAP does not pay for books, tuition or school-related fees, and it does not extend the number of weeks that you can collect unemployment benefits. Therefore, you are responsible for any financial planning needed to complete the program.
No, the SEAP does not provide start-up funding for your business. However, if accepted into the SEAP, you will work full-time on establishing your own business while receiving weekly Unemployment Insurance benefits, even if your business is making money.
No. You are expected to report the income you earned from your business while in the SEAP. However, your Unemployment Insurance benefits will not be affected by your business income.
To be eligible for the SEAP, you must be:
In addition, you must complete a SEAP orientation and have an acceptable business idea before you apply for the SEAP.
After you have filed a valid Unemployment Insurance claim, a profile score is generated. If you have a score of 50 or above, you are identified as being likely to exhaust regular Unemployment Insurance benefits.
The profile score (between 0 and 100) is based on labor market information and other specific elements gathered during the initial claim process. When all of this information is combined and weighted to the local economy, the result determines your profile score.
The profile score is determined by:
You will be notified by mail or through your NY.gov account that you are eligible to apply for the SEAP. The notification will direct you to the online SEAP orientation, which you must view before you can apply. Contact a SEAP coordinator in your area if you are interested in the SEAP but have not received an invitation letter. See the list of SEAP coordinators on the SEAP overview page.
It takes time to establish a business, and a minimum of 13 weeks of benefits will help provide some financial support needed to start your new business. This also gives you enough time to complete the entrepreneurial training and business counseling required by SEAP participants.
Yes, you are required to continue with your work search and meet all eligibility requirements for Unemployment Insurance benefits until your SEAP application has been approved.
Yes. You don’t have to live in New York State to be approved for the SEAP. However, you must be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits in New York State, and your business must have its principal location in New York State.
The SEAP does not allow time to explore business ideas, only to develop an existing idea. This means the skills you already have should match those needed to operate the business.
No. The purpose of the SEAP is to help those who have not owned a similar business.
No. You must be eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits before you can participate in the SEAP.
No. Per New York State Unemployment Insurance Law, a person can only participate in the SEAP once.
No. The SEAP requires that you work full-time on starting your business. If you are in a full-time training program, you cannot meet this requirement.
No. This will change the terms of your approval and you will be terminated from the SEAP.
If you are approved for the SEAP, you will be notified by mail or through your NY.gov account.
If you are disapproved for the SEAP, you will be notified by mail. The notification will include the reason(s) for your disapproval.
These are forms you need to fill out and submit while you are in the SEAP. They will be used to monitor your completion of the program. The due dates for all forms will be given to you when you are approved. The benchmark forms are:
You can get the benchmark forms on the forms and publications page for Unemployment Insurance claimants at www.labor.ny.gov. On the main menu, select “Other Information,” then select “Forms & Publications,” and you will find the link to “Unemployment Insurance (Claimants).”
It is easy to submit your benchmark forms online. Log in to your NY.gov account, select “Messages,” and then “Compose New.” Use “SEAP” as the first subject line and “Submit SEAP Benchmark Forms” as the second subject line of your message. Then attach your forms to your message.
We encourage you to create an NY.gov account if you have not done so already. It is convenient and secure, and it also results in faster benefit payments.
If the form is late, the SEAP benefits will not be paid from the date the form was due through the date it is received and accepted as complete. This means late forms will result in a suspension of your weekly benefits. You will not receive suspended weeks in a lump-sum payment. You will only receive benefits from the date the form is received and accepted as complete.
You can contact local organizations such as SCORE to find a business counselor. These organizations provide free, one-on-one counseling as well as educational workshops/webinars to individuals interested in starting a business. The Department of Labor does not provide business counselors. See our Resources for Entrepreneurs for a list of organizations that can help.
The SEAP requires a minimum of two face-to-face meetings with your business counselor prior to submitting your business strategy. However, you are encouraged to meet more frequently, if necessary.
See our Resources for Entrepreneurs for a list of organizations that can help, including: Small Business Administration; SCORE; Small Business Development Center; Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers; or the Women’s Business Centers.
Other sources of training are: New York City Business Solutions; The Office of Entrepreneurial Education; local chambers of commerce; libraries; community colleges; or your local SEAP coordinator.
Consider training topics related to: business planning and operations; marketing; accounting and finance; business licensing, etc. You may use any provider that offers entrepreneurial training.
Yes, you can take online classes. However, the in-person classes or workshops also offer you networking opportunities. While we recommend in-person classes or workshops for this reason, it may not be feasible in all situations.
Before you choose a class, you should check to make sure that the course offers a certificate of completion, or that someone can sign your Individual Services Verification Form.
No, you may submit a certificate of completion. This certificate must include the school or agency, the class title, the date you took the class and the number of hours it took you to complete the class. If you cannot get a certificate of completion, and your business counselor can verify you took the class, your business counselor can sign the form.
You are only entitled to a maximum of 26 weeks of Unemployment Insurance benefits. This includes any weeks you collected before you were accepted into the SEAP. For example, if you start the SEAP in the fourth week of your Unemployment Insurance claim, then you will have 22 weeks of the SEAP benefits remaining. As a SEAP participant, you are not entitled to any extra or extended benefits.
You can claim weekly benefits:
As a participant in the SEAP, you can no longer claim weekly benefits by telephone. When you claim benefits, you must answer questions to certify you were ready, willing and able to work on the business you indicated on your SEAP application.
We recommend that you claim benefits online. It is convenient and secure, and it also results in faster benefit payments!
Yes. However, your SEAP benefits may be affected by other employment:
If your work for another employer ends during your benefit year, you may resume your SEAP benefits by contacting the Department of Labor Special Programs Unit at (518) 485-1597. Or, you may resume your Unemployment Insurance benefits by submitting a Withdrawal Form to end your participation in the SEAP.
You may withdraw from the SEAP at any time during your Unemployment Insurance claim. You must submit a Withdrawal Form. You will be required to resume your work search and meet all eligibility requirements for Unemployment Insurance benefits.
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