Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210






October 20, 1997




October 31, 1998











Unemployment Insurance Service




Specifications for State Automated Data Processing (ADP) Tasks for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefit Accuracy Measurement (BAM) Program


  1. Purpose. To provide State Employment Security Agencies with the specifications for ADP tasks required to achieve year-2000 compliance for the UI BAM program and to enable the BAM program to include samples of denied claims for unemployment compensation in order to determine if the claims were properly denied.

  2. References. Benefits Quality Control State Operations Handbook, ET Handbook No. 395 (2nd edition); Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) 30-97 (May 6, 1997).

  3. Background. In order to insure the statistical validity of the data collected in the BAM program, the Department of Labor (the Department) has, since the inception of the program, provided States with a COBOL program to edit the universe of UI transactions, create the sampling frames, and select the samples of payments that BAM investigates for accuracy. The Department also provided the States with the specifications for the file of UI transactions that is processed by the BAM COBOL program and the specifications for the file that contains the BAM sample data, which is downloaded to the Sun computer system in each State's UI organization. ADP operations and specifications for the BAM program are described in detail in chapter III of ET Handbook 395.

    UIPL 30-97 advised States that the current COBOL program supporting BAM operations is not year-2000 compliant and requested that States plan to install the revised COBOL program and modify programs associated with the COBOL program. In addition to the requirement that all ADP software and operations supported by the Department are year-2000 compliant, the planned extension of the BAM program to include the review of the accuracy of denied claims for unemployment compensation necessitates changes to the BAM COBOL program and its related input and output files.

  4. Year-2000 Requirements. A primary key for BAM cases in the UI database is the batch identifier. This is currently a four-digit number which identifies the year (first two digits) and week (last two digits) in which the BAM sample was selected. This field must be expanded to six digits in order to accommodate a four-digit year. The first BAM sample selected in January 2000 will be designated 200001 in the revised batch field. The batch field for cases in the UI database selected prior to January 2000 will be converted to six digits. For example, batch 9701 will be converted to 199701.

    Several date fields in the UI transactions input file (record type three in the ET Handbook 395 specifications) and the sample records output file (record type one in the current specifications) will also have to be modified from the current two-digit year designation to four digits.

  5. Inclusion of Denied UI Claims. In September 1997 five States began to conduct an operational pilot to include samples of denied claims for unemployment compensation in the BAM program. These States will select samples for one year and investigate the accuracy of claims denied because of monetary, separation, or nonmonetary/nonseparation issues.

    Both intrastate and interstate denied claims are included in the universes of denied claims from which the samples will be selected. The universe of benefit payments includes only intrastate payments to maintain consistency with the definition reflected in the current BAM sample selection COBOL program. Based on the experience of the pilot, a decision will be made regarding the inclusion of interstate benefit payments in the BAM universe and sample. If a decision is made to include interstate payments, the COBOL program will be revised accordingly.

    Following an evaluation of the results of the pilot, the Department plans to request the approval of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to include the investigation of denied UI claims as a permanent component of the BAM program. In order to accommodate the inclusion of denied claims, the COBOL program and its associated ADP files and tasks must be modified.

  6. Required Tasks

    1. COBOL Program.  As part of the cooperative agreement for the BAM denied claims pilot, two of the pilot States undertook the task of modifying the COBOL population edit and sample selection program. Two separate COBOL programs have been developed to replace the single COBOL program currently used for BAM. The Department will transmit the source code of the revised COBOL programs electronically to each State's Sun computer.

      Each State is required to:

        1)  Transfer the source code files from the Sun computer to its State mainframe ADP system. If any State anticipates a problem in transferring the source code files from the UI Sun system to the State's ADP mainframe, the State should notify the appropriate Regional Administrator for Employment and Training. The Department will work with the State to identify an alternative method of transmitting the source code for the revised BAM COBOL programs.

        2)  Make any changes to the source code that are required to compile the programs on the State's ADP system. The COBOL programs can be compiled with an IBM OS/VS or COBOL II compiler. States that are unable to use these compilers must modify the source code to successfully compile the program.

        3)  Write the job control language (JCL) needed to compile the two COBOL programs on its ADP system. Sample JCL is included in Attachment A of the attached program documentation.

        4)  Permanently store the executable (object code) files in a library or partition on its mainframe ADP system where the two programs can be run on a routine basis. BAM COBOL programs one and two must be run in the proper sequence, as discussed in the attached documentation.

    2. Input Files.  BAM COBOL program one requires two input files: a file of UI transactions and a control record. States must write the program that constructs the transactions file, which COBOL program one edits to identify records for inclusion in the sampling frames of UI benefit payments and denied claims for unemployment compensation. The transactions file, which is analogous to the current record type three, has been significantly revised. Because the information that constitutes the transactions file resides in the each State's database and management information system, the Department cannot provide a program to assemble this file. The specifications for the transactions file are provided in the attached documentation.

      The control record contains the beginning and ending dates of the sample week (batch), which COBOL program one uses to edit the transactions file, and the sample sizes and random start numbers, which COBOL program two uses in the sample selection routine. The control record has been revised to accommodate the three types of denied claims and to be year-2000 compliant. States must modify their input control records to reflect these revisions. Specifications for the revised control record are provided in the attached documentation.

    3. Output File.  COBOL program two produces a file consisting of the records that have been selected for the UI benefits and three denials samples. States use this file, called the HITFILE, to query their databases for information on the claimants' UI claims histories, employment data, and demographic characteristics to create the rec1.dat file. The rec1.dat file is downloaded from the State's mainframe ADP system to the UI Sun computer. States currently create and download the rec1.dat file; however, the format and content of this file have been substantially revised. States must modify the program(s) that create the rec1.dat file to reflect these revisions, which are described in the attached specifications.

      COBOL program two also produces the sfsum.dat file, which consists of aggregate sample and population data for benefit payments and the three types of denied claims. This file is downloaded to the State's UI Sun computer.

    4. Testing.  States will conduct test runs of the revised BAM COBOL program for two separate batches. Copies of the HITFILE, sfsum.dat, and rec1.dat files from these test runs will be submitted to the Department's National Office. These files can be transmitted electronically to Andrew Spisak at the following e-mail addresses:

      • Sun computer: tonight!andy

      • Internet: spisaka@doleta.gov

      Alternatively, States can submit hard copies of these reports to:

      Andrew Spisak
      U. S. Department of Labor
      200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
      Room S-4522
      Washington, DC 20210

      In addition, States will submit copies of the printed SFSUM report to the above address. This report is produced by COBOL program two and consists of sample and population data for benefit payments and for each of the three types of denied claims.

  7. Timing. States are strongly urged to begin the programming needed to modify the input and output files associated with the BAM COBOL programming as soon as possible. Changes to the BAM COBOL program to achieve year-2000 compliance are required independent of the expansion of BAM to include denied claims for unemployment compensation. While it is possible that the outcome of the pilot test of the accuracy of denied claims might result in some modifications to the ADP specifications, such as the inclusion of interstate UI benefit payments in the BAM universe and sample, the Department does not anticipate major revisions.

    In BAM software release 5.0.2 (August 1997) the National Office installed a modified version of the case conversion module of the BAM software on the Sun ADP system to accommodate the output files created by the revised COBOL and State mainframe programs. Once States have completed the programming and successfully tested the revised software, States can begin to use the revised COBOL programs to create the sampling frames and select the samples of UI benefit payments.

    The Unemployment Insurance Service's Division of Information Technology plans to install the year-2000 compliant versions of the UI software, Informix database, and operating system on State Sun systems by January 1, 1999. To insure that the BAM program software continues to function, all ADP tasks discussed in this directive and the attached specifications document, including the submission of test files, must be completed prior to January 1, 1999.

    Pending the approval of OMB to extend the BAM program to include the investigation of denied claims for unemployment compensation, States are not required to identify denied UI claims or include denied claims in the UI transactions file. However, the modifications to the UI transactions input file and the rec1.dat output file required by the modified COBOL program will accommodate denial records in addition to meeting year-2000 compliance requirements. The Department will notify States of the date to begin sampling denied claims for unemployment compensation using the revised COBOL programs.

  8. Action Required. State Administrators are requested to:

    1. provide copies of this directive and attached ADP specifications to the appropriate staff; and

    2. notify the appropriate Regional Administrator for Employment and Training no later than 30 days after the issuance date of this UIPL if: 1) the State requires an alternative method of receiving the revised BAM COBOL programs from the distribution procedure described in section 6 of this directive, or 2) the State believes that it will be unable to meet the January 1, 1999, target date for the completion of the ADP tasks discussed in this directive and attached documentation.

  9. Inquiries.  Questions should be directed to the appropriate Regional Office or to the National Office (Andrew Spisak, 202-219-5608, ext. 135).

  10. Attachment. Specifications for State ADP transactions files and the UI BAM COBOL population edit and sample selection programs.