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Special Programs - FAQs

See information about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

SEAP, TAA, 599 Program, Dislocated Worker

Disaster Unemployment Assistance


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.

For more information about the program and its requirements, please visit the SEAP web page.


What is Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)?

If you lost your job directly or indirectly because of foreign trade, you may be eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance (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 (888) 4-NYSDOL (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 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, use the Career Center Locator or call the Department of Labor Contact Center at (888) 4-NYSDOL (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 an affected county and lost your job or income as a direct result of a federally declared disaster, you may qualify. A list of affected counties is provided on our 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 $504 a week.


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

For translations, contact the TCC at 888-209-8124 and choose your language at the prompts. If your language is not listed, choose option 9 for other languages. When you connect to an agent, tell him/her 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 888-209-8124. Answer the questions to indicate that you lost your job as a direct result 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 debit 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.


Will my employer's account be charged if I collect DUA?

No, DUA is not charged to your employer's account if you collect DUA.


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