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Old 08-02-2011, 12:27 PM
 
2 posts, read 18,921 times
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Default Self Employment Assistance (SEAP) in New York

Hello,
I'm trying to find someone who has firsthand experience with the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) in New York.

I lost my job at the end of April, and have been collecting unemployment since the last week in May. Over the past few weeks, I've been formulating an idea in my head for a small business that I would like to start. I'm still applying for jobs, too, but I'm in a tough field and so far 100+ resumes has yielded one rejection and nothing else, so I'm not terribly optimistic about finding work in my field in the near future, unless I create it myself. I have a good small business idea and think it could be very profitable, so I'd like to get things up and running as soon as possible.

Now, I know I'm not allowed to do anything about establishing my business while collecting unemployment, unless I go through the SEAP program. I schlepped to Harlem and met with someone about it, and found out that I'm approved to APPLY for the program, but the lady there had very little info on how it actually works, or what the timeline is like.

So far, what I gather is this: Within 2-3 weeks I will receive a phone call from someone who will certify that I am eligible, and will invite me to some kind of orientation, which could be up to a month away from now. I go to the orientation, which is where I'll get all of the details of the program, and then determine if I want to go through with applying. If I apply and get in, then I will have to comply with their rules/requirements, attend counseling sessions, and take X amount of hours of approved training. But what does all of this mean?

Does anybody have firsthand experience with SEAP in New York? What happens after the orientation? How long does it take to apply/get approved, and how quickly am I allowed to work once this happens? If I want to have my business up and running by mid-September, will this even be possible? And once I'm in, what is the "approved training" I'm required to take? Is this something they provide, or must I seek out/pay for it on my own?

I've looked all over the Internet, but I can't find much about the actual details once you're IN the program, and how quickly you can get a business up and running. I'm already disappointed that I could be waiting 1-2 months before even getting to an orientation. How many hoops do I have to jump through once I'm in?

I would love input from anyone who has used SEAP to start their business, or who has been to the orientation and has a better idea of how the process works in New York. Thank you!!
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Old 08-02-2011, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
13,617 posts, read 17,264,553 times
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You might also post this on Business, Finance and Investing Forum here:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/busin...nce-investing/
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:09 PM
 
398 posts, read 706,563 times
Reputation: 410
It might have been a better idea to start setting up your business on your own already.
Unless you are actually earning money that needs to be reported to the NYSDOL, I don't see much point in telling them anything.

You just need to keep looking for fulltime work and be available for interviews and work to qualify for your weekly claim... nothing wrong with having a hobby.
If you do get Income for a week, you can just skip a week of claiming benefits. (Skipping making a claim is better than reporting that you "worked" on the questionaire.)
Consider it freelance work. If you start getting business on a regular basis, just stop claiming.
If you need to reopen your claim for benefits at a later date, depending on the type of "business", you might say that you were working as a self employed freelancer... unless you have a incorporated business registered with NY state... otherwise it's kinda hard to prove you "own" a business.

Fraud involves actually collecting UE benefits while you worked and earned money (so keep a record of when you worked for earnings and make sure you didn't claim those weeks) or if you were not looking for work as required (just e-mail your resume to a few job ads a week and save those e-mails for your record.)
If you didn't collect UE money the weeks you worked and sent out resumes the weeks you claimed benefits... there's no fraud involved.

Do you really believe their Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) rules, regulations, training and counseling will help your particular business?
I assume you are starting a business that you have experience in so I'd think their generic "guidance" would be more of a hindrance and full of red tape.
I think you'll be required to do homework like type/drawup a detailed business plan, market analysis, projected revenues, itemized expenses like you'd do in a classroom.
It might complicate things with Big Brother looking over your shoulder for your unemployment benefits and your business.

The lady you spoke with knows little about the program and you can't find much info about it probably because most people who start their own business just do it on their own.

Last edited by raymond2; 08-02-2011 at 11:32 PM..
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Old 08-03-2011, 06:09 AM
 
2 posts, read 18,921 times
Reputation: 12
"Fraud involves actually collecting UE benefits while you worked and earned money"

Maybe this is the case in other states, but unfortunately it is not true in New York. If I take steps to actively start a business, I AM, in fact, breaking the law. From the NYS Department of Labor:

"Unless you are part of the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), these activities may result in the loss of unemployment insurance benefits...If you spend time during the day or evening or on weekends getting ready to start or actually operating a business, we may consider that as work. It does not matter if you have not made any sales or received any compensation."

Sure, I could get away with some things--writing a business plan, doing online research, but there is no way to apply for the proper licenses, permits, and tax information without getting caught. License applications are through the city/state and require my social security number, which is also on file with unemployment. They will know, and I will be committing fraud. The only legal way to start a business AND collect benefits is through SEAP.

I'm considering dropping benefits and seeking out a personal loan from a friend or family member, but it would be nice to continue receiving unemployment, too. I'd still really like to hear from someone who has firsthand experience with SEAP...
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:35 AM
 
398 posts, read 706,563 times
Reputation: 410
Well, obviously if you apply for license and register with the state, you will be "officially" starting a business then you have to report it.... you have no choice.

With that said,

Many people can "start' a business without doing any of that... like working on a prototype for a gadget or product, start creating web pages offering product or services... renting out a kitchen baking cookies and cake... you can care for your neighbors pets or children to possibly start a daycare or pet grooming service in the future.

Plenty of people do everything I mentioned in their own free time even while they are employed without ever making money doing any of that.
Doing all those things are in fact, hobbies for many people that never turn into a business.

In those cases, without making any money or being licensed/registered, it is really up to you if you choose to report that you are operating an unofficial non -revenue making "business" and possibly complicate your unemployment claim.

You can do 1099 contracted work for companies, accept freelance jobs which makes you "self-employed" and which MAY end up becoming a fulltime business if you get enough work in this manner... but in the meantime... your freelancing doesn't need to be reported as a business that goes thru a Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP). You just can't claim benefits for the weeks you are working and expecting to be paid.

The reason why starting a business is an issue is because there's an assumption that you won't be looking for new employment and therefore it is subject to scrutiny. Being part of the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) means you are exempt from your job search requirements.
But if you don't claim for those weeks, report income you are asked to do, and you are actively seeking and ready to work, then you are technically fulfilling your obligations for collecting UE.

Claiming UE benefits is about understanding "technicalities" and complications often involves the claimant giving more information than is necessary.
People should all be knowledgeable about the rules for collecting UE and follow them but they also need to use some common sense as well and not obsess over every technical detail.

Let me give you a little story:

I have a friend who was collecting UE, he was offered $250 by a neighbor to mow his lawn and wash his car over the weekend... he turned it down.
He claimed his benefits at the end of the week and checked that he turned down a job offer. His received a letter saying his claim was denied because he turned down a job.


He called the DOL and said the job wasn't appropriate to his work experience.
...the Agent agreed....
He asked if she can reactivate his claim.
Agent said: No, you turned down a job so you need to appeal and go through a hearing.
He asked why he has to appeal if it's obviously not an appropriate job offer.
Agent said: Because you reported it on your claim and procedure must be followed to reactivate your claim.
He asked: How long does that take?
Agent said: Process could take up to a few months.
He asked, So if I didn't report it, my claim would be fine right now?
Agent said: Yes.
He asked: So I'd be lying because I did technically get a job offer.
Agent: (silence)
He asked: So I'm being punished for being honest?
Agent: I understand what you are saying sir, but since you did report it, you must go through a hearing to reinstate your UE benefits. There's nothing I can do about that. Have a nice day.

It took 3 months before he got his unemployment benefits back.

Last edited by raymond2; 08-03-2011 at 12:59 PM..
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:05 PM
 
1 posts, read 9,322 times
Reputation: 12
Default More about SEAP in NY

I'm about to apply to be in the SEAP program, because this is the legal way for me to launch a freelance writing business while on unemployment.
I attended a three-hour workshop at the local unemployment office about SEAP and it sounds like a great program. Assuming that all unemployment offices in NYState offer that workshop, you should take it. It will answer your questions.

You can read a little bit about SEAP here:
[url=http://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/claimantinfo/specialprovisions.shtm]Special Provisions - FAQs - New York State Department of Labor[/url]

This proposed legislation extending the program into 2013 ([url=http://m.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S4953-2011]S4953-2011 - NY Senate Open Legislation - Extends the self-employment assistance program - New York State Senate[/url]) includes this info:
Qualified individuals participate in a rigorous program that consists of specific benchmarks they must comply with in order to stay in the program. A participant must complete a minimum of twenty hours of entrepreneurial training, meet a minimum of two times with a certified business counselor, create a business plan and send periodic reports to their Department of Labor coordinator. The success of this program is evident. Over 4,000 jobs have been created and $16 million in state tax revenue has been generated at no cost to the state.
---
From me: The 20 hours of training can be done through programs like SCORE, which are also open to the public. The one-on-one sessions with a SCORE business coach (to work on your business plan) sound quite helpful.
Be aware that there are deadlines. One of the big ones: You must apply for SEAP by the last day of your 13th week of when you first filed for unemployment.
Good luck to you.

Last edited by RocUnemployed; 08-27-2011 at 12:06 PM.. Reason: (fixing spacing so the source of the info is clear)
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:33 PM
 
1 posts, read 9,200 times
Reputation: 10
Default Seap

I am looking to go in on a business with a friend that is collecting unemployment and we are looking through the SEA Program. My friend has been on unemployment for 40 weeks - according to the previous post he is knocked out right away just because he's beyond week 13?
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:03 AM
 
1 posts, read 8,761 times
Reputation: 10
Default Leaving Seap

I have been enrolled in the seap program and my business opportunity has fallen through. If I leave seap can I go back to collecting ue benefits while I look for a job?
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:56 AM
 
2 posts, read 13,917 times
Reputation: 12
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3] [/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]My name is NuNu Japaridze. I am a producer at CNN. We are doing a story on a government initiative that would allow entrepreneurs to collect unemployment benefits while they build a business. The plan, called Self-Employment Assistance Programs (SEA), allows people collecting unemployment who “have proven to be good candidates for self-employment”. I am wondering if anyone here can help me find a character for our story. An ideal character would be an entrepreneur or an aspired entrepreneur who has benefited from the initiative or who plans to benefit from it or has had some experience with the program. I am based in DC, but the character can be anywhere in DC or NY tri state area. Can you email me at [EMAIL="nunu.japaridze@cnn.com"]nunu.japaridze@cnn.com[/EMAIL] (instead of replying here) if any of you are interested in talking to CNN. Please put entrepreneur story in the subject line. Thanks [/SIZE][/FONT]
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:58 AM
 
2 posts, read 13,917 times
Reputation: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by RocUnemployed View Post
I'm about to apply to be in the SEAP program, because this is the legal way for me to launch a freelance writing business while on unemployment.
I attended a three-hour workshop at the local unemployment office about SEAP and it sounds like a great program. Assuming that all unemployment offices in NYState offer that workshop, you should take it. It will answer your questions.

You can read a little bit about SEAP here:
[url=http://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/claimantinfo/specialprovisions.shtm]Special Provisions - FAQs - New York State Department of Labor[/url]

This proposed legislation extending the program into 2013 ([url=http://m.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S4953-2011]S4953-2011 - NY Senate Open Legislation - Extends the self-employment assistance program - New York State Senate[/url]) includes this info:
Qualified individuals participate in a rigorous program that consists of specific benchmarks they must comply with in order to stay in the program. A participant must complete a minimum of twenty hours of entrepreneurial training, meet a minimum of two times with a certified business counselor, create a business plan and send periodic reports to their Department of Labor coordinator. The success of this program is evident. Over 4,000 jobs have been created and $16 million in state tax revenue has been generated at no cost to the state.
---
From me: The 20 hours of training can be done through programs like SCORE, which are also open to the public. The one-on-one sessions with a SCORE business coach (to work on your business plan) sound quite helpful.
Be aware that there are deadlines. One of the big ones: You must apply for SEAP by the last day of your 13th week of when you first filed for unemployment.
Good luck to you.
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3] [/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]My name is NuNu Japaridze. I am a producer at CNN. We are doing a story on a government initiative that would allow entrepreneurs to collect unemployment benefits while they build a business. The plan, called Self-Employment Assistance Programs (SEA), allows people collecting unemployment who “have proven to be good candidates for self-employment”. I am wondering if anyone here can help me find a character for our story. An ideal character would be an entrepreneur or an aspired entrepreneur who has benefited from the initiative or who plans to benefit from it or has had some experience with the program. I am based in DC, but the character can be anywhere in DC or NY tri state area. Can you email me at [EMAIL="nunu.japaridze@cnn.com"]nunu.japaridze@cnn.com[/EMAIL] (instead of replying here) if any of you are interested in talking to CNN. Please put entrepreneur story in the subject line. Thanks [/SIZE][/FONT]
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