Poe-Yamagata, E., Benus, J., Bill, N., Carrington, H., Michaelides, M., & Shen, T. (2011). Impact of the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment Initiative. Columbia, MD: IMPAQ International. [Florida sample]
- This study’s objective was to assess the effectiveness of the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) Initiative in Florida, a program that provided eligibility and reemployment case management services to Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants, on UI benefits receipt, employment, and earnings.
- The study randomly assigned 80,531 eligible UI claimants to either the treatment group or the control group. Those in the treatment group were required to participate in REA services to retain their UI eligibility. Data for the analysis came from UI administrative and wage records.
- The study found statistically significant reductions in weeks of UI benefits receipt, total amount of UI benefits received, and the probability of benefits exhaustion for the REA treatment group. In addition, participants in REA had a statistically significantly higher probability of employment and earnings over the four follow-up quarters.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it is based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the REA initiative, and not to other factors.
Reemployment Eligibility Assessment
Features of the Intervention
Since its inception in 2005, 40 states have implemented the REA initiative to encourage rapid reemployment of UI claimants through a combination of in-person eligibility reviews and employment-focused case management. Implementation of REA in Florida began in 2005, when 6 of the 24 workforce investment regions in the state used the program. In 2009, Florida expanded the program to 18 regions.
Under Florida’s REA initiative, UI claimants were required to receive reemployment services to maintain their UI eligibility. The services included an orientation to the services available at the local One-Stop Career Center (now known as American Job Center), an individual assessment, provision of local labor market information, creating an employment development plan, reviews of UI eligibility, and referrals to job services. To be eligible for the initiative, UI claimants had to have received one week of UI benefits under a new claim, not be scheduled return to work within six weeks of their claim, be a resident of Florida, not be involved in a union hiring hall, and not be active in a training program through the state’s Agency for Workforce Innovation or a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program.
Features of the Study
This study evaluated the effectiveness of the REA initiative in Florida from August 2009 to December 2009. Eligible UI claimants were randomly assigned to either a treatment group, which was required to attend REA services to retain UI eligibility; a second treatment group, which received the Priority Reemployment Program (PREP); or a control group, which was not offered either services but continued to file weekly claims, conduct independent job search, and be subject to random quality assurance evaluations, as required of all UI claimants. The findings for the PREP treatment group were not presented in the study and are not considered in this review.
The authors analyzed administrative data on UI benefits receipt and wages from enrollment in the program until December 2010 (four quarters of data for each claimant). For UI benefit receipt, the authors examined regular UI and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), which was also in effect during the period of study. The authors used a regression model to estimate the impacts of the REA program by comparing the outcomes of those randomly assigned to either the treatment or control group. The regression models controlled for gender, race, ethnicity, education, age, occupation group, citizenship, veterans’ status, disability status, maximum UI benefit amount, number of weeks eligible for UI, prior wages, the One-Stop Career Center (now American Job Center) in which the claimant filed his or her claim, and the date of the claim.
Public benefits receipt
- REA group members had a lower probability of exhausting UI benefits than the control group (3.4 percentage points lower). This result was statistically significant.
- On average, REA group members had a lower probability of receiving EUC benefits (3.3 percentage points lower than the control group). This result was statistically significant.
- REA group members received fewer weeks of UI benefits, with an average reduction of 1.74 weeks on any form of UI—0.43 weeks less on regular UI and 1.25 weeks less on EUC. This result was statistically significant.
- On average, REA group members received fewer total UI benefits—$100 less in regular UI payments and $294 less in EUC payments—$395 in total, on average. This result was statistically significant.
- REA group members were 1 to 2 percentage points more likely to be employed across all four follow-up quarters and earned $476 more than control group members, on average. This result was statistically significant.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
During the period of this study, the average annual state unemployment rate was 10.2 percent. This high unemployment rate triggered eligibility for weeks of benefits in addition to those available through the regular UI program. It is possible that these additional weeks of available benefits gave the program more opportunities to make an impact on the duration of UI benefits receipt and that such impacts would not be observed during a time of lower unemployment.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it is based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the REA initiative, and not to other factors.