In reply refer
to MUOC
  U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Manpower Administration
Washington, D.C. 20210
 
    November 16, 1970

 

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAM LETTER N0. 1089
 
TO : ALL STATE EMPLOYMENT SECURITY AGENCIES
 
SUBJECT : Explanation of The Secretary's New Standards for Claim Filing, Claimant Reporting, Job Finding, and Employment Services
 
REFERENCES : ES Manual, Part V, Sections 5000-5004
 
PURPOSE : To assist States in implementing the revised Secretary's standards.

 

The revised standards for claim filing, claimant reporting, job finding, and employment service were approved by the Secretary on May 28, 1970, and transmitted to State agencies on August 31, 1970, under MTL 1215.

The reasons for revising the standards are threefold. First, experience has shown that the ability to work and availability for work of claimants can be determined by trained claims office personnel. They can determine, for example, whether a claimant has done what a reasonable man in his circumstances would do to get a job. In this connection, they can consider information from the claimant, from prospective employers, and from employment service personnel. Second, experience has shown that requiring all claimants to contact a public employment office weekly (or biweekly) requires contacts by claimants who do not need any service from the public employment office. Third, experience has shown that public employment offices, while registering claimants for work, have not always been able to provide employment services to the extent needed by claimants to facilitate their return to suitable work partly because of redirection of their efforts to service for the disadvantaged.

The principal effect of the revised standards is to permit more flexibility in the operations of State agencies with respect to the filing of claims, reporting by claimants, and the providing of employment services to claimants. Greater freedom is allowed for State agencies to determine the best methods of serving claimants and to experiment with many kinds of innovations which deviated from the former suggested patterns. Many existing deviations, particularly in the area of claim filing by mail, will be resolved. The revised standards, however, do not require most States to abandon filing and registration practices which they now follow. States may continue, if they desire, to require as a general rule weekly filing in person and to require registration for work with a public employment office. They may, on the other hand, change their requirements. They may even require filing by mail in some areas of the State and filing in person in others.

The new standard in part V of the ES Manual consists of the interpretation of the Federal law (section 5000 B); a suggested pattern for claim filing and claimant reporting (section 5001); and a suggested pattern for testing availability, and for job finding, placement, and other employment services (section 5002). If State law provisions follow the suggested patterns, the State law will meet Federal requirements. If State law provisions differ from either of the suggested patterns, there is a provision for study and evaluation of the State alternatives to determine if they meet the requirements of Federal law (section 5004).

Filing by mail is permitted under the revised suggested pattern if there is a contact in person before the first payment of benefits. Filing by mail is still required where in-person filing is impractical or places an unreasonable burden on claimants.

The revised suggested pattern also permits a State, at its option, to require claims to be filed biweekly instead of weekly. Under the farmer suggested pattern, biweekly filing was permitted only if administrative funds were insufficient for taking weekly claims and the Manpower Administration so found. Each State now has this option so that it may weigh the advantages and disadvantages of requiring weekly filing against those of requiring biweekly filing. Weekly filing generally has been considered to be advantageous because it means weekly payment of benefits, and most workers are accustomed to weekly wage payments. On the other hand, biweekly filing would save money which could then be used to improve job finding services to claimants, and some States may wish to go to biweekly claim filing to accomplish this purpose. Even though biweekly filing means biweekly payment of benefits, according to a survey made recently in three States, there is some evidence that as many claimants prefer biweekly filing as prefer weekly filing. The revised suggested pattern would not prevent States which establish biweekly filing from permitting claimants who desire to file weekly, to do so; and this option generally has been granted to claimants in those States where biweekly filing has been used in past heavy claims load periods.

The former suggested pattern permitted claimants filing for partial unemployment and still attached to their regular employer to continue to file as if they were partially unemployed for a 2-week period after they became totally unemployed. The revised suggested pattern increases this period to 4 weeks. In some circumstances, an employer provides partial employment for several weeks, and then no employment for a few weeks, and then again partial employment. The revision of the suggested pattern obviates the administrative difficulty of shifting from one method of filing to another and back again.

Formerly, a separate standard covered retroactive claim filing by partially unemployed claimants. The revision incorporates provisions on such filing within the suggested pattern for claim filing and removes the need for a separate standard (section 5001 B). The only change in the suggested pattern is that instead of permitting 1 week for such filing when filing is by mail, and 2 weeks when filing is in person; 2 weeks are permitted in both situations.

The revised suggested pattern relating to the testing of availability, and to job finding assistance, placement, and other employment services (section 5002), replaces the former standard on registration for work. This change does not mean that placement and employment services for claimants are no longer required; it means that the individual's needs for assistance can be identified in the claims process, so that employment service resources may be drawn upon on a selective basis, rather than burdening the employment service with routine work registrations. Claimants requesting employment services such as filing application for work, counseling, and training will be referred to the appropriate public employment office regardless of the type of employability assistance being offered or extended by claims staff.

Under the suggested pattern, claims personnel will assure that a claimant does what a reasonable man would do in his circumstances to obtain suitable work, i.e., that benefits are paid only to claimants who are available for work. The State agency then has the option of having claims personnel give claimants some preliminary job finding assistance and then referring them to employment service personnel when they determine that more complete employment services are needed, or of having employment service personnel give all job finding assistance when claims personnel determine that such assistance is needed and appropriate to facilitate a claimant's prompt return to work. The job finding assistance furnished by claims personnel will consist of such activities as supplying local job information relating to geographic distribution of potential employers, public transportation facilities, application techniques peculiar to specific industries, employers and occupations, use of classified advertisements, wage and salary structures, union locations and requirements, community services other than UI, and the job bank. Claimants will also be advised on job related personal characteristics such as dress, appearance, and punctuality, and to provide in some cases motivational direction. The assistance offered to claimants by claims personnel is not designed to supplant ES functions such as placement, counseling, job development, testing, training, or occupational reclassification. The standard as revised does not mean that separate, duplicative, and competing employment services are to be provided or permitted in UI offices.

As under the former suggested pattern, employment service personnel will continue to report to claims personnel any information they have concerning a claimants refusal to apply for, or accept suitable work, and any other information bearing on a claimant's eligibility which comes to their attention.

State agencies may not require such frequent contacts with either claims or employment offices as to place an unreasonable burden on claimants.

State agencies having any questions relating to any of the requirements of the revised standards or procedural modifications to be affected should submit their questions to the Regional Manpower Administrator.

 

 

 

PAUL J. PASSER, JR.
Deputy Assistant Secretary
or Manpower and
Manpower Administrator