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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20213

CLASSIFICATION

UI

CORRESPONDENCE SYMBOL

TUMSC

ISSUE DATE

May 25, 1982

RESCISSIONS

 

EXPIRATION DATE

May 31, 1983

DIRECTIVE

:

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAM LETTER NO. 20-82

 

TO

:

ALL REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS

 

FROM

:

T. JAMES WALKER
Administrator
Administration and Management

 

SUBJECT

:

The Eligibility Review Program (ERP)

 

  1. Purpose To urge State employment security agencies (SESAs) to ensure that the Eligibility Review Program is fully operational in all local offices.

  2. Background The heavy claims workload of 1974 and 1975 and resulting deterioration in claims operations raised questions as to the adequacy of the UI system's controls for preventing and detecting improper benefit payments. Of particular concern was the system's performance in ensuring the continuous eligibility of claimants for benefits. Federal and State administrators recognized a need for a more consistent and stringent application of State law continued eligibility requirements.

    Accordingly, in 1975, efforts were begun to reinstate sound eligibility review processes in UI claims operations. Guidelines for an eligibility review program were issued to all SESAs in 1976; and, beginning in Fiscal Year 1977, funds were allocated to the States for operating the ERP. The Employment and Training Administration has continued the emphasis on the ERP as a basic UI claims process for ensuring that benefits are being properly paid.

  3. Recent Concerns The National Commission on Unemployment Compensation's Overpayment Study in six sites found that the most prevalent cause of overpayments was the failure of claimants to meet ability, availability, and actively seeking work requirements of the State law. Preliminary results from the five pilot States in the Random Audit project(which determines rates and causes of improper payments on a Statewide basis) support this finding.

    Once again, SESAs are facing increasing claims workloads. Recently, some on-site visits were made by national office staff to several SESAs to determine the impact of increased workloads on UI claims operations. The reviews raised concerns regarding the understanding of the primary objective of ERP and. whether an effective eligibility review process is in place in all UI local offices.

  4. ERP Objectives Given the recent findings on the cause of overpayments, __ is clear that the UI system needs an on-going process for determining claimants continuing eligibility for benefits.  This process is the Eligibility Review Program. As originally designed, the ERP ensures that benefits are being properly paid through:

    Through the ERP, the UI local office can detect eligibility issues early in the claim series, thereby, preventing overpayments. Accordingly, an effective eligibility review process is a vital link in the overall system for curbing fraud, waste, and abuse of the UI program.

  5. ERP Budget Each SESA is allocated positions specifically for the Eligibility Review Program. Since the ERR is a part of the continued claim process, the allocation is determined as a percentage of the weeks claimed function. For Fiscal Year 1982, the budgeted.workload for the ERP is one interview for every 16.8 weeks claimed. There is no firm requirement for a SESA to conduct the budgeted number of interviews, Consistent with local labor market conditions, SESAS may conduct more. or fewer interviews depending on the time required per interview to accomplish the objectives of the program. However, the number of interviews is monitored by ETA far the purpose of assuring that extremes do not occur with respect to time charged versus number of interviews conducted. Local offices should be advised of this flexibility which was built in to provide local office staff with discretion as to length of interviews and frequency.

  6. SESA Action SESAs are urged to:

  7. Inquiries Questions may be directed to the appropriate ETA regional office.