States' Decisions to Adopt Unemployment Compensation Provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Publisher: Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research
Mar 02, 2016
Authors
Annalisa Mastri, Wayne Vroman, Karen Needels, and Walter Nicholson

Key Findings:

  • The 100 percent federal financing of most benefits under the Extended Benefits program spurred adoption of the TUR trigger in almost all of the states that would have qualified for the Extended Benefits program using this trigger.
  • The modernization incentive funds spurred adoption of the alternative base period and other modernization provisions.
The federal policy response to the recession and the lingering weak labor market included substantial changes to the unemployment compensation (UC) system, the most comprehensive of which was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The U.S. Department of Labor awarded Mathematica Policy Research and its subcontractor, the Urban Institute, a contract to conduct the Evaluation of the UC Provisions of ARRA. One component of the evaluation, which is the focus of this report, is to learn about states’ decisions to adopt six optional UC-related provisions of ARRA for which the federal government provided monetary incentives. These provisions were the total unemployment rate (TUR) trigger for Extended Benefits and five modernization provisions requiring states to (1) use an alternative base period to establish monetary eligibility; (2) permit, under a broader set of circumstances, the payment of benefits to claimants seeking part-time work; (3) allow benefits payments to claimants who left previous employment for compelling family reasons; (4) provide dependents’ allowances; and (5) provide for additional weeks of benefits for UC exhaustees enrolled in approved training.