About the Study

In 2013, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Employment and Training Administration to fund contractor Abt Associates to conduct the Evaluation of the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) Program. The implementation and impact evaluations aim to describe the implementation and estimate the impact of REA programs in Indiana, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin on outcomes of interest: amount and duration of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, employment, and earnings. For the implementation study, researchers examined program documents, state information management systems, and conducted on-site fieldwork, including site visits, focus groups with program staff, and observation of REA orientation and counseling sessions. For the impact study, researchers implemented a multi-arm randomized study design in which nearly 300,000 UI claimants were assigned to a control group or one of three treatment groups. Participants in the three treatment groups received different levels of enforcement and assistance. Researchers relied on administrative data from the four study states and the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement’s National Directory of New Hires (NDNH).

From 2005―2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) awarded states grants to operate REA programs designed to support the reemployment of individuals on UI and detect improper payments. REA programs provided job search assistance, compliance enforcement to check eligibility status, and an in-person mandatory REA meeting to review eligibility. In FY2015, DOL introduced the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) grant program. RESEA was designed to replace REA, and its structure incorporates many elements of the REA program. The four states participating in the study continued to deliver the REA program and then transitioned to RESEA once their random assignment was complete (approximately April 2016).

This Department of Labor-funded study was a result of the annual process to determine the Department’s research priorities for the upcoming year. It contributes to the labor evidence-base to inform employment and training and UI programs and policies and addresses Departmental strategic goals and priorities.

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The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by external, third-party contractors in accordance with the Department of Labor Evaluation Policy. CEO’s research development process includes extensive technical review at the design, data collection and analysis stage, including: external contractor review and OMB review and approval of data collection methods and instruments per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Institutional Review Board (IRB) review to ensure studies adhere to the highest ethical standards, review by academic peers (e.g., Technical Working Groups), and inputs from relevant DOL agency and program officials and CEO technical staff. Final reports undergo an additional independent expert technical review and a review for Section 508 compliance prior to publication. The resulting reports represent findings from this independent research and do not represent DOL positions or policies.