Richard Eisenberg at New Avenue breaks it all down:
[T]he Labor Department just announced that it’s offering states a total of $35 million if they create self-employment assistance programs (or expand them, in the case of the five states that already provide help). The programs would not only provide unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks to would-be entrepreneurs, but they’d also offer training to get your startup off the ground. Participants would be required to submit a business plan to their state unemployment office to qualify for the training and to avoid forfeiting benefits.
“We’re optimistic that many states will look into this, because there are many people who really believe the best way to get a job is to create it yourself,” [Jane Oates, assistant secretary of employment and training administration at the U.S. Department of Labor,] said.
Unemployment checks alone, of course, aren’t large enough to fully finance a new business, let alone daily living expenses — the average weekly payout is just $295. But it would certainly be a relief to know that your benefits won’t disappear just because you want to be your own boss.