Absence of conflict of interest.
Klerman, J. A., Saunders, C., Dastrup, E., Epstein, Z., Walton, D., Adam, T., & Barnow, B. S. (2019). Evaluation of impacts of the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) Program: Final report. Cambridge, MA: Abt Associates. [Comparison between partial REA treatment group and control group]
- The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) program in four states (Indiana, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin) on people’s public benefit receipt, employment, and earnings. The authors investigated similar research questions for three other contrasts, the profiles of which are available using the study search.
- The authors used a randomized controlled trial to compare public benefit receipt and employment outcomes among unemployment insurance (UI) claimants randomly assigned to a partial REA treatment group or a control group. The authors drew on state administrative records from the UI benefit and case management systems for 28 weeks after random assignment and National Directory of New Hires data for two years after random assignment.
- The study found that, across the four states, the partial REA treatment group received significantly fewer weeks of UI benefits. The study found no statistically significant differences between the groups in the number of quarters employed or longest job tenure one or two years after random assignment.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it was based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the REA program and not to other factors.
The Reemployment and Eligibility (REA) Program
Features of the Intervention
Since REA’s inception in 2005, 40 states have implemented the initiative to encourage rapid reemployment of UI claimants through a combination of in-person eligibility reviews and employment-focused case management. The set of REA programs examined in this study—in Indiana, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin—provided two types of services to UI claimants: (1) an initial, mandatory REA meeting shortly after claimants start to receive UI benefits, which included review of ongoing UI eligibility, and (2) reemployment assistance (including a one-on-one meeting in person at an American Job Center, labor market information, development of a reemployment plan, orientation to services available at American Job Centers, and registration to the state job bank) as well as referrals to reemployment services such as interview or resume-writing workshops. Some of the programs examined in this study also provided a third component: additional REA meetings, in person or by phone, that were typically shorter than the initial REA meeting and included another eligibility review, updates to the reemployment plan, and additional labor market information.
Features of the Study
The authors used a randomized controlled trial to estimate the impacts of the REA program. Within each of four states, UI claimants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions (though the specific components of some conditions varied somewhat between states): control, partial REA treatment group, single REA treatment group, and multiple REA treatment group. This contrast compares the partial REA treatment group against the control group. The partial REA treatment group was invited to a mandatory, abbreviated initial REA meeting and received no reemployment assistance. The control group was not required to attend an REA meeting and did not receive any referrals to reemployment services. (In New York, only some of the sites were included in the sample for this contrast because some sites did not implement the partial REA treatment.)
In total across all four states, 100,322 claimants were randomly assigned from March 2015 to April 2016 to either the partial REA treatment group or the control group. For the pooled sample across all four states, the analytic sample included 51,855 partial REA treatment group members and 40,300 control group members. The analytic sample included 25,562 people from Indiana, 29,931 people from New York, 20,535 people from Washington, and 16,127 people from Wisconsin.
The authors used statistical models to compare the outcomes of claimants assigned to the two conditions, accounting for individual background characteristics, including demographic characteristics and earnings and UI benefit receipt history, and state and county characteristics, including urban status and unemployment rates. They report findings across all states together and for each state separately. The study used UI benefit and case management systems data to assess UI benefit receipt and National Directory of New Hires data for employment outcomes.
Public benefit receipt
- The study found that the partial REA group received 0.6 fewer weeks of UI benefits than the control group 28 weeks after random assignment, which was a significant difference. In Indiana, New York, and Washington, the partial REA treatment group also had significantly fewer weeks of UI benefit receipt than the control group, but there were no statistically significant differences in this outcome in Wisconsin.
- Across the four states, the study found no statistically significant differences between the partial REA treatment and control groups in the number of quarters employed one year after random assignment or in the longest job tenure in the two years after random assignment. This finding was also true in each of state’s individual results.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The authors found that less than 60 percent of claimants attended the initial REA meeting on time, and about 27 percent never attended. This suggests that there might be less contrast between the services received by the treatment and control conditions than expected.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it was based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the REA program and not to other factors .