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Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP)


Unemployed workers create new businesses and job opportunities for other workers through self employment.

While participating in the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), you can create a job in an occupation that interests you and stimulate the local economy. Each new business can provide employment for you and for people you hire. SEAP offers a valuable option to eligible people who wish to run their own business. This program can give you the flexibility and income opportunity unavailable through traditional employment.

SEAP is a unique opportunity for you to enter into self-employment entrepreneurial training and receive business counseling while you collect unemployment benefits. If you qualify and enroll in an approved training program, you do not have to look for other work while in this program.

See more information about the Self-Employment Assistance Program.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), you must:

  • Qualify for regular unemployment benefits.
  • Enroll in a training program that is approved by the Employment Security Department's commissioner.
  • Be identified as likely to run out of benefits or be eligible for Commissioner-Approved Training (CAT).


Approved training programs

All approved self-employment training programs include:

  • Entrepreneurial training.
  • Business counseling.
  • Technical assistance.
  • Requirements to engage in activities relating to setting up a business and becoming self-employed.


Application process

To apply for the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), you must:
  1. Download and complete the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) Application or pick one up at your local WorkSource office.
  2. Contact a SEAP approved provider to see if you are eligible for their program. Some providers have income or other requirements that you must meet to participate in their training programs. Some training programs are available only to low-income applicants. Check the training-provider Web site (links are on the SEAP training provider list) to review their specific eligibility requirements.
  3. Have the training provider complete and sign the Program Provider Certification section on the application. 

Mail your completed application to:

Employment Security Department
Attn: Training Benefits Unit
PO Box 9046
Olympia, WA 98507-9046

We will send you a denial letter if you fail to meet any of the eligibility requirements. Please refer to “Disagree with our decision” to learn how to appeal a denial of benefits.

For questions about SEAP, please call the toll-free Training Benefits/SEAP hotline at 877-600-7701.

Your unemployment benefits

To maintain your eligibility for unemployment benefits while in training, you must:

  • Be enrolled in a full-time training program.
  • Make satisfactory progress in the program.
  • Notify the Employment Security Department if you discontinue training, suspend training or reduce enrollment to less than full-time.

If you do not meet these requirements, you may be required to look for work and meet other job-search requirements, such as participating in job-search workshops, in order to collect benefits. You also may be required to pay back benefits you have received.

The Self-Employment Assistance Program (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 training program. Some training providers may offer financial aid, grants or business start-up funds to assist you.

Relevant laws and rules

Self-employment training -- RCW 50.20.250
Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) -- WAC 192-200-040
        Approval of plan -- 192-200-050
        Factors affecting eligibility -- 192-200-055
        Failure to participate -- 192-200-060
        Likely to exhaust benefits -- 192-200-040
        Training programs -- 192-200-045
Defining satisfactory progress -- WAC 192-270-065
Requirement to be available for work -- RCW 50.20.010(1)(c)
Job-search requirements -- RCW 50.20.240
Requirements to accept suitable work -- RCW 50.20.080

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