Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Implementation of the EUC08 Reemployment Services and Reemployment Eligibility Assessments Program: Findings from Nine States

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 8:50 AM
President's Room (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Karen Needels, Irma Perez Johnson and Adam Dunn, Mathematica Policy Research
When the nation is in a recession or recovering from one, Congress often enacts legislation that makes federally funded unemployment benefits available to long-term unemployed workers through a temporary emergency program. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008 (EUC08) and related legislation provided such benefits in response to the recession that began in December 2007. At the peak of the EUC08 program, long-term unemployment benefits claimants could receive up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, including 53 weeks through the EUC08 program.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 required states to provide Reemployment Services and Reemployment and Eligibility Assessments (RES/REAs) to EUC08 claimants not specifically exempted from it. Two distinctive features of the EUC08 RES/REA program were its novelty and scale. Before the program, little attention had been paid to enforcement of eligibility requirements for or the provision of reemployment services to claimants of emergency unemployment benefits. The EUC08 RES/REA program promoted (1) increased scrutiny of eligibility for benefits based on a review of the claimants’ work search activities and (2) increased use of reemployment assistance services. In addition to the work search review, claimants were required to receive (1) an orientation to an American Job Center and the reemployment services and other resources available through it, (2) labor market and career information, and (3) an individual skills assessment. In addition, the program was large; according to data reported by states to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), from April 2012 to December 2013, more than 3 million claimants received EUC08 RES/REA services nationwide.

We will present findings from a DOL-sponsored study of the implementation of the EUC08 RES/REA program in nine purposively selected states. The states are diverse on a range of characteristics, such as size of the EUC08 RES/REA program, geographic location, and whether the state had an Unemployment Insurance REA program—a program that is similar to the EUC08 RES/REA program but provides services to claimants earlier in their unemployment periods. The analysis relied primarily on qualitative information collected through discussions with state-level administrators and a subset of frontline staff at one American Job Center in each state. We also analyzed state-specific reports about the core metrics of the program, such as the numbers of claimants who scheduled and completed program services. We will present findings about how the states organized and staffed programs, how they provided the mandated services and any additional services they offered, the strategies they used to foster participation and overcome administrative challenges, and the characteristics and needs of claimants (as perceived by state-level and frontline staff). We also will describe lessons from the EUC08 RES/REA program related to staff support for the program, service delivery methods and work search requirements, and implications for designing and implementing similar programs in the future.