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. [Nevada sample]
- This study’s objective was to assess the effectiveness of the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) Initiative in Nevada, a program that provided eligibility and reemployment case management services to Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants, on duration and amount of UI benefits receipt.
- The study was a randomized controlled trial. Of some 33,000 first-time UI claimants eligible for the study, about 5,100 were randomly assigned to the treatment group, which had to take part in REA and reemployment services (RES) to retain UI eligibility, and the rest were randomly assigned to the control group, which was not required to participate in such services. The authors compared state administrative records on UI benefits to estimate the program’s effectiveness.
- The study found statistically significant reductions in weeks of UI benefits receipt, total amount of UI benefits received, total number of weeks receiving UI benefits, and the probability of benefits exhaustion for the treatment group.
- 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. In the Nevada version of REA, active treatment units were required to receive not only REA services but also RES, which were provided by the same staff. REA services included an individual assessment, orientation to the One-Stop Career Center (now known as American Job Center), provision of labor market information, a workforce service workshop, and development of an individual reemployment plan. RES services included job search and resume assistance, job matching against state and federal position databases, and provision of information regarding job training options.
To be eligible for the program, Nevada residents had to be filing first-time UI claims, had received at least one week of benefits under the new claim, had no scheduled return to a previous employer, were not concurrently participating in other training programs; had no exclusive union hiring hall agreements, and were not part of the Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services program.
Features of the Study
From July to December 2009, 32,751 first-time UI claimants were determined to be eligible for the program; of these, 5,157 were randomly assigned to the treatment group, which was required to receive REA and RES services. The remaining eligible claimants were assigned to the control group, which was not required to receive REA or RES but had to continue the usual requirements for UI claimants, such as weekly claims filing, conducting an independent job search, and being subject to random quality assurance evaluation. If desired, the control group members could seek out RES on their own.
Administrative data on UI benefits receipt were collected from enrollment in the program until December 2010 (four quarters of data for each claimant). For UI benefits 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 on various UI benefits receipt outcomes. 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 their regular UI benefits by 10.4 percentage points compared to the control group. This result is statistically significant.
- REA group members were 9.0 percentage points less likely to receive EUC benefits than control group members. This result is statistically significant.
- On average, REA group members spent fewer weeks on UI, with an average reduction of 2.96 weeks on any form of UI—1.80 weeks on regular UI and 1.16 weeks on EUC—than the control group. This result is statistically significant.
- On average, REA participants received $805 less in total UI benefits—$526 less in regular UI payments and $279 less in EUC payments—than the control group. This result is statistically significant.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
During the period of this study, the average annual state unemployment rate reached 13.9 percent, a 25-year record high in the state and the second highest in the nation. This exceptionally 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.
This study examined the effect of the combination of REA and RES and thus does not reflect the efficacy of REA in isolation (although the control group was still eligible to receive RES).
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.