Each state offers unemployment benefits to eligible workers who are no longer employed through no fault of their own while they look for another job. Alternatively, there is a separate program called the Self-Employment Assistance program, which is designed to encourage unemployed workers to create their own jobs by starting their own small businesses. Under these programs, States can pay a self-employed allowance, instead of regular unemployment insurance benefits, to help unemployed workers while they are establishing businesses and becoming self-employed. Participants receive weekly allowances while they are getting their businesses off the ground. This is a voluntary program for states, however. As of 2010, only a handful of states, including Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania, have self-employment assistance programs. Remember, if you’re currently receiving unemployment benefits, then starting your own business might jeopardize your eligibility for continued benefits. To learn more about your options, contact your state department of labor.