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On Fri, Aug 8, 2008 at 2:47 PM, Cesar writes:

  • federal extension of benefits SHOULD have no DIRECT impact on initial claims like they did in 2002
  • in 2002 part of the law required people to make an initial claim in the state system to become eligible for federal benefits, but that is not the case in 2008. The way it should work now is that the state evaluates if you are eligible for the state program when you are applying for federal program. If you are eligible for the state program you make a claim with the state and that shows up in initial claims data. If you are not eligible for the state program you make a federal claim that is counted separately and is not part of the weekly initial claims data.
  • however, the millions of notification letters that have been sent out to people who are potentially eligible for the federal program could have yielded some folks that show-up to get federal benefits, but learn they have state benefits they must exhaust first (anyone getting state benefits first would show up in initial claims)- this is a potential source for an INDIRECT “distortion” of initial claims
  • i saw Ohio had some of the highest claims data last week so i called up to learn how applications were being handled. On both calls i made they said they would file an initial claim with the state program first to make sure i was not eligible, then apply for the federal program. Applying for the state program would show up as an initial claim even if i was later rejected (interesting to note that for the last twelve months before 3/31/2008 less than 50% of people who made “initial claim” actually got first payment). If Ohio and possibly other states are actually filing an initial claim in the state system that gets counted in the weekly data in order to determine eligibility for all people applying for the federal program this would lead to a much larger distortion.


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