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Mar 12 -- The Department of Labor's (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is soliciting comments concerning a proposed extension for the authority to conduct the information collection request (ICR) titled, “Benefit Accuracy Measurement Program (BAM).” Consideration will be given to all written comments received by May 13, 2024.

Since 1987, all State Workforce Agencies operating unemployment insurance (UI) programs, except the U.S. Virgin Islands, have been required by regulation at 20 CFR part 602 to operate BAM programs to assess the accuracy of their UI benefit payments in three programs: State UI, Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees, and Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemembers. Beginning in 2001, BAM was modified to include the sampling and investigation of UI claims denied for monetary, separation, or nonseparation issues. The Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 (31 U.S.C. 3352) and Section 303(a)(6) of the Social Security Act authorizes this information collection.

The Benefit Accuracy Measurement (BAM) program (before 1996 called Benefits Quality Control) is designed to determine the accuracy of paid and denied claims in three major Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs. It does this by reconstructing the UI claims process for samples of weekly payments and denied claims using data verified by trained investigators.

For claims that were overpaid, underpaid, or improperly denied, BAM determines the cause of and the party responsible for the error, the point in the UI claims process at which the error was detected, and actions taken by the agency and employers prior to the error. For erroneous paid claims, BAM determines the amount of benefits the claimant should have received.

BAM covers the three largest permanently authorized unemployment compensation (UC) programs: State UI, Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE), and Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service Members (UCX). BAM data for paid claims are available for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico from January 1988 through the present. BAM Denied Claims Accuracy (DCA), which investigates the accuracy of denied UC claims, began in August 2001.

State BAM samples are randomly selected from the populations of UI, UCFE, and UCX payments and determinations denying eligibility issued by the state each week. BAM refers to this weekly sampling interval as a batch. Each batch begins at midnight Sunday and runs until 11:59 p.m. Saturday. BAM records the number of UI weeks and dollars that were paid in the population from which the sample was selected and the number of denied claims for DCA so that the sample data can be weighted to make inferences concerning the population.

Before 1997, BAM paid claims sample sizes ranged from 400 to 1800 cases per year per state. Since 1997, allocated sample sizes range from 360 cases per year in the 10 states with the smallest UI workloads to 480 cases in the remainder of the states. Several states have chosen to select larger samples. For DCA, states sample 150 cases for each of the three types of denials -- monetary, separation, and nonseparation.

The BAM database includes about 110 data elements for each sampled payment or denial. Data for 15 of these elements are captured twice (before and after the investigation), and eight are completed only for erroneous payments or denials. Aggregate data for each batch are collected for 42 additional data elements, most of which are demographic characteristics of the sample and population.

Unemployment Insurance Performance Management: https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/bqc.asp
BAM Program: https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/bam/2002/bam_fact.asp
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2024-05148

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