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Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP)

Self-Employment Assistance Program
Have you ever dreamed of starting your own business? Do you receive Unemployment Insurance benefits? 

The Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) allows people who are out of work and meet certain requirements to start their own business while collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits. If you dream of starting your own business and qualify for the SEAP, you can have the financial support you need to pay your bills while you work on that dream! 

  • You can work full time on your new business while collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits 
  • You don't have to look for jobs while you work on your business 
  • Money earned from your business is not deducted from your Unemployment Insurance benefits 
  • You stay on track for success with training and counseling 
  • You get opportunities to build a network of support to launch your business
  • You must receive a written acceptance into the SEAP before you can start your own business while collecting benefits.


Who can apply?
You can apply to Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) if you are: 

  • At least 18 years of age 
  • Eligible to receive at least 13 or more additional weeks of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits 
  • The recipient of an invitation letter from the New York State Department of Labor, or categorized as a dislocated worker (determined via a profile score)
  • New to the SEAP program (not approved for the SEAP in the past)


For SEAP approval, your proposed business must also meet five basic criteria. You must be: 

  1. Locating your proposed business in New York State 
  2. Willing to work full time to launch your business 
  3. Planning to be an active owner of your business and not a silent partner in a business partnership 
  4. A first-time business owner and operator of the proposed type of business. You cannot have previously owned or operated a business of similar nature. 
  5. Prepared with a clear business idea


For more information about program eligibility, see our Eligibility for the Self-Employment Assistance Program fact sheet and review the Frequently Asked Questions section below.  English fact sheet | Hoja informativa en Español

Learn More About the Program

See how the SEAP can help you realize your dream of being your own boss!

You can succeed with the SEAP!
Get inspired by these success stories, and learn what you should know before you apply.
Need more information?

Please call the Special Programs Unit at 518-485-1597.