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. [Illinois sample]
- This study’s objective was to assess the effectiveness of the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) Initiative in Illinois, 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 that assigned 3,112 eligible UI claimants to the treatment or 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 records.
- The study found no statistically significant impacts on any UI benefits receipt outcomes examined.
- 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.REA was implemented in 12 of Illinois’ One-Stop Career Centers (now known as American Job Centers) until December 2008, when the state halted REA services. Implementation then began again in August 2009 at 5 of the 12 centers.
REA for UI claimants in Illinois entailed conducting a self-assessment, getting staff assistance recognizing barriers to employment, developing an employment plan, referral to relevant services, review of UI eligibility and work search activities, and sharing labor market information.
To be eligible for REA, UI claimants had to have received at least one UI benefits check, not be residually attached to an employer, and have no union hiring hall connection. In addition, UI claimants had to possess a high-demand skill, based on their previous industry. This last requirement differentiated the Illinois initiative from those studied in other states.
Features of the Study
The study evaluated the effectiveness of the REA initiative in Illinois from August 2009 to December 2009 at five One-Stop Career Centers. About 70 percent of the 3,112 eligible claimants were randomized into the treatment group, with the remaining 30 percent assigned to the control group. UI claimants in the treatment group were required to attend REA services to retain UI eligibility. Control group members continued to receive UI benefits with no additional eligibility requirements beyond filing weekly claims, conducting independent job search activities, and being subject to random quality assurance reviews.
Administrative data on UI benefits receipt were collected from program enrollment 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, age, industry, maximum UI benefits amount, 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
- The study found no statistically significant impacts on any UI benefits receipt outcomes studied, including exhaustion of UI benefits; receipt of EUC benefits; duration of regular UI and EUC benefits receipt; and total payments for regular UI, EUC, and total UI benefits.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The Illinois REA Initiative restricted participation to claimants who had a high-demand skill based on their previous employment. This sample is likely not representative of the broader UI claimant population; therefore, the results might not be applicable to all UI claimants more generally.
In addition, the authors suggested that the abrupt halt of REA services at the end of 2008 and their reintroduction in a limited set of One-Stop Career Centers in August 2009 might have adversely affected implementation during the study period, as the programs had recently faced a disruption in service.
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.