Options for the self-employed...who feel unemployed

While the national unemployment rate is 7.2% and may reach 10% before the year is up, there are a number of self-employed people, I imagine, who feel unemployed... or at least less employed... and so it sort of begs the question: What do those people do? They can't just go to the unemployment office and collect a check -- can they? And if not, what recourse do they have to, well, survive?

I asked around and got varying answers.

Can self-employed people claim unemployment? Yes, and no. Mostly no. As Josh King, an attorney and vice-president of Avvo, a site designed to help people find the right lawyer, told me: "Unemployment law differs from state to state, but generally speaking, the self-employed are not eligible for unemployment benefits for a simple reason: They haven't paid into the state's unemployment insurance fund."