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Monday, November 23, 2009

Self Employment Program being offered by many states

If you are unemployed and receiving state unemployment benefits, you may qualify for a Self Employment Assistance Program. With the economy going to hell in a hand basket and not finding its' way back anytime soon, the National jobless rate is skyrocketing. Many, in fact, are comparing the current economic recession to that of the 1930's.

So where does self-employment fit into this equation. Well, typically during most recessions, unemployed individuals look to other sources for the income they need to support their families. In many cases, those with an entrepreneurial spirit look towards self-employment. The thing is, there is substantial cost and time involved in setting up a business on your own and for the most part, Self Employed individuals will not realise any sort of profit for the first few years.

For that reason, the national Unemployment Insurance System, which provides funding for state unemployment benefits, also provides a Self-Employment Assistance Program for those seeking self employment. The Self Employment Assistance Program is a special program in which state unemployment offices may voluntarily participate.

As many of you know, in order to qualify for unemployment insurance, you must be unemployed and searching for work. If you choose to become Self-employed, you are no longer unemployed nor are you actively searching for work (This is of course by government standards.) So how then, is an unemployed person able to enter the world of Self Employment?

Well, this is where the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) comes into play. If you become unemployed, then you might be eligible to receive self-employment help as part of your state unemployment benefits. The Self Employment Assistance Program provides self-employment assistance and encouragement to eligible unemployed workers, including those with disabilities, who wish to try their hands at self employment. From my research, Oregon, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania New Jersey, New York, and Maine were participating in the Self Employment Assistance Program.

Under the Self-Employment Assistance program, unemployed workers may remain eligible to collect a weekly funding to help them get by while they take a stab at Self Employment. Being accepted into the State Self Employment Assistance program will allow selected individuals to circumvent the usual "searching for work" clause. There are however certain requirement and you should check to see if your state offers the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) BEFORE you decide to take the first step into Self Employment. Remember, starting your business before you are accepted into the Self Employment Assistance Program may very well disqualify you for Unemployment Insurance Benefits.

Self-employment under the program includes starting up a small business or becoming an independent contractor, such as a consultant. The weekly allowance is the same dollar amount as weekly unemployment compensation, which varies by state.

As as a self-employed individual, you must pay quarterly taxes on your own and provide yourself with "employee" benefits, such as health and disability insurance. To learn more, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a government agency which provides free self-employment help.

Generally, to be eligible for the Self-Employment Assistance program, as indicated, you must have first become eligible to collect state unemployment benefits, such as because your employer permanently terminated your employment through no fault of your own.

Then you must be identified by the state unemployment office as an unemployed worker whom, according to statistics, is likely to exhaust unemployment benefits before landing a new employee job.

If you're interested in receiving self-employment help, then ask about the program when applying for unemployment benefits. If and when the time comes, you would apply for unemployment benefits at the relevant state unemployment office or One-Stop Career Center.

If the state unemployment office notifies you that you are not eligible to participate in the Self-Employment Assistance program, then you likely may appeal the decision; follow the instructions provided in your benefit denial notice or consult a lawyer.

For those living in Canada, I know for a fact HRDC has a similar program which has been in effect for about 15 years now. I went through the program in Vancouver, BC and can vouch for its' effectiveness. When seeking out self-employment, be weary of the "get rich quick" schemes. There are many companies out there designed to take advantage of people seeking self employment. MLM's are prime examples, although you may be able to make money at them, you have more of a chance of making money by coming up with your own idea... and this is not selling speakers out of the back of your van.

For more information on STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS check out a blog by someone who has done exactly that for 13 years SELF EMPLOYMENT TIPS


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Article written with input from http://employeeissues.com

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