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Frequently Asked Questions about the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act Graphic of a globe with a link to the translation to other languages page.

 

What is Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and how do I file?

TAA Job Search Assistance

Health Coverage Tax Credit

Training Assistance

 What is ATAA and how do I apply?

Additional Information


What is Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and how do I file?

What is the TAA and how do I file?  

The Trade Act program provides a variety of re-employment services and income support to assist individuals who have become either unemployed or had hours reduced as a result of increased imports from, or shifts in production to, foreign countries. TAA services may be expanded to secondary workers of businesses or suppliers to the primary company, firm, or petitioning workers who filed the TAA petition.
 
Additional information can be found at:  http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/statutes.cfm#taa  

What is the focus of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act?

The goal of the Trade Act programs is to help trade-affected workers return to suitable employment as quickly as possible.

How do you file for Trade Adjustment Assistance?  

To obtain Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) re-employment services and benefits, a group of workers must first file a petition with the U.S. Department of Labor. An application and instructions for applying can be found at: http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/petitions.cfm.

Who may a file a Trade Adjustment Assistance petition for certification of eligibility?  

  • A group of three or more petitioning workers
  • A union official/representative
  • A company official, such as the human resource manager
  • One-Stop operators or partners, including state workforce agencies, or the state dislocated worker unit

An online petition form can be obtained by contacting the state TAA coordinator at:
http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/contacts.cfm#Ohio  

What is the Department of Labor timeline for approval/disapproval of a petition?

USDOL is committed to approve or disapprove a petition for TAA within 40 days from the date of the application.

Can petitioners request reconsideration of a Department of Labor determination of eligibility for Trade Adjustment Assistance?

Affected workers may request administrative reconsideration by the U.S. Department of Labor. Requests for reconsideration must:

  • Be in writing
  • Include the TAA investigation number
  • Describe the job responsibilities affected for the group of workers included in the petition
  • Cite reasons why the workers consider the denial erroneous according to the facts, the interpretation of the facts, or the law itself

Reconsideration requests must be mailed within 30 days of Federal Register publication to:

United States Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration
Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance
Room C-5311, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20210
Phone: 202-693-3560
Fax: 202-693-3584 or 3585
Web site: http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact  

A judicial review of the U.S. Department of Labor's initial petition denial or denial following administrative reconsideration may be requested by affected workers. Appeals for judicial review must be mailed within 60 days of Federal Register publication of the initial denial or administrative reconsideration denial to:

Office of the Clerk, U.S. Court of International Trade,
One Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10028-0001
Phone: 212-264-7090

How do affected workers become aware of the services that may be available to them through the Trade Adjustment Assistance program?

  • The U.S. Department of Labor directly notifies the petitioner, the company, and the state agency of its final decision regarding certification.
  • To begin the process, affected workers, as identified by the employer, will be notified of Benefit Right Information meeting dates by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Benefits Trade Section. 

TAA Job Search Assistance

Once certified, what re-employment services can be made available?

  • Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA)
  • Training
  • Re-employment Services
  • Job Search Allowances
  • Relocation Allowances
  • Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC)
  • Wage Supplement with Re-employment (ATAA)

What is Job Search Allowance and how do I qualify?

If it is determined that the Trade Adjustment Allowance-eligible worker cannot secure suitable employment within a commuting area (50 miles or less), workers may be eligible for a job search allowance. This allowance covers expenses incurred while seeking employment outside the commuting area. Job search allowances reimburse 90% of the total costs of allowable travel and subsistence, up to a total of $1,250.

Important Deadlines

  • An application for a job search allowance must be submitted before a job search begins. Applications may be submitted prior to certification, but will only be approved if the worker group is certified.
  • An application for a job search allowance must be submitted either before the 365th day after the layoff or certification or 182 days after the conclusion of training, whichever is later. 

What is a Relocation Allowance and how do I qualify?

If a Trade Adjustment Allowance-eligible workers wish to obtain employment in another area, they may receive financial assistance to relocate to the new area of secured employment. Relocation allowances may include: 90% of the reasonable and necessary expenses of moving the workers, their families, and their household goods. The amount will be reduced if the worker is entitled to reimbursement from other sources. A worker may be eligible for a lump-sum payment equal to three times the worker's average weekly wage (but no more than $1,250) to help them relocate.

Important Deadlines

  • Requests for relocation allowances must be submitted before the relocation begins. Applications may be submitted prior to certification, but will only be approved if the worker group is certified.
  • An application for a relocation allowance must be submitted before the 425th day after the layoff or certification or 182 days after the conclusion of training, whichever is later. 

Health Coverage Tax Credit

What is the Health Coverage Tax Credit?

The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Reform Act of 2002 created a tax credit for the purchase of private health insurance for TAA and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation candidates. The Department of Treasury, through the Internal Revenue Service, is responsible for implementing this credit under the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) program. For detailed information on HCTC, and a list of state-qualified health plans, visit the Internal Revenue Service web site.

Historically, the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) has equaled 65% of the premium paid by eligible individuals for qualified health insurance. The remaining 35% of the premium was paid by the eligible individual, but HCTC is available only for "qualified" health insurance. Until July 2008, however, the program will provide for 100% coverage for 90 days or until the worker is enrolled in the Federal HCTC program, whichever occurs first. Learn more about this pilot program.

How do I qualify for the Health Coverage Tax Credit?

You may qualify for the HCTC if: 

  • You are covered by "qualified" health insurance.
  • You are not claimed as a dependent on another individual's tax return.
  • You do not have other specified coverage, including Medicare.
  • You are not in federal, state, or local prison. 

Training Assistance

What is approved Trade Adjustment Assistance training and what types of training can be available?

Allowable types of training under TAA are classroom, on the job training, customized training, and remedial training.

What are the six criteria that must be satisfied as a condition for approval of Trade Adjustment Assistance training?

The six criteria are: 

  • There is no suitable employment for the worker.
  • The worker would benefit from appropriate training.
  • There is a reasonable expectation of employment following the training.
  • The training must be reasonably available to the worker.
  • The worker is qualified to obtain and complete the training, including having adequate financial resources available to complete the training when income support is exhausted.
  • The training is suitable and available at a reasonable cost. 

What costs may be included in Trade Adjustment Assistance training?  

  • Tuition, required books, tools, fees, etc. (Medical insurance and desktop supplies are NOT included.)
  • Subsistence allowances (actual cost or 90% of the federal per diem, whichever is less)
  • Transportation allowances (more than 50 miles one-way from home to training facility) 

What is classroom training?

Classroom training is defined as training of the type normally conducted in a classroom setting. Although the regulations do not give a specific definition of classroom setting, the usual meaning is that the training takes place in a school room where students can interact with an instructor.

What is on-the-job training?

On-the-job training means training provided by an employer to an individual who is employed by the employer. 

What is customized training?

Customized training means the training is designed to meet the specialized requirements of an employer or group of employers. The training is conducted with a commitment by the employer or group of employers, to employ the individual upon successful completion of the training. The employer pays for a significant portion of the cost of training and not less than 50%.

What is remedial training?

Remedial education is defined as training in the elementary skills that every worker must have in order to achieve basic employability. Remedial education training should be considered pre-vocational; that is, it leads to occupational, on-the-job, or customized training that will equip the participant with specific job skills. Wherever practical, remedial education training should be conducted concurrently with the early parts of occupational training. Examples of remedial education are basic writing and mathematical skills training, English for Speakers of other Languages (ESoL), and courses leading to a G.E.D.

What are Trade Readjustment Allowances?

Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) is income support and is defined in two categories: Basic TRA and Additional TRA. Each category has its own set of eligibility requirements. 

  • Basic TRA may be payable if the worker is enrolled or participating in TAA training, has completed such training, or has obtained a waiver of such training requirement.
  • Additional TRA may be payable only if the worker is participating in TAA-approved training. 

In general, certified workers may be eligible for 104 weeks of income support, usually broken out as follows: 

  • 26 weeks of state unemployment insurance (UI) compensation
  • An additional 26 weeks of basic TRA
  • Up to an additional 52 weeks of TRA to assist the worker in completing a TAA training program 

For each week the worker participates in remedial education, the eligible worker may be eligible to receive an extension of TRA benefits, up to a maximum of 26 weeks.

Important Deadlines for TRA  

  • Receiving TRA: Eligible workers must be enrolled in approved training or have a waiver of training within 8 weeks of the petition certification date or 16 weeks from the most recent qualifying separation. To receive a waiver, specific criteria must be met.
  • Receiving Additional TRA: Within 210 days of their layoff or from the date of certification, eligible individuals must have submitted a bona fide application for training.

How do I qualify for Trade Readjustment Allowances?

To qualify for Trade Readjustment Allowances, you must: 

  • Be covered by an approved certification
  • Be a worker laid off due to lack of work from a USDOL, TAA certified (affected) employer on or after the impact date identified by USDOL and prior to the expiration date of the certification
  • Must have worked at least 26 weeks with wages of $30 or more with the import-affected firm or subdivision in the previous 52-week period, including the week of separation
  • Be entitled to and have exhausted all rights to state or any other federal unemployment compensation benefits
  • Be enrolled in or have completed a Trade Adjustment Allowance-Approved Training Program or have a written waiver issued 

Can Trade Adjustment Allowances approved training be waived?

Under certain circumstances, eligible workers may be waived from participating in training and still receive Basic Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA). One of the following conditions must exist for training to be determined not feasible or appropriate, and thus, potentially waived: 

  • The worker will be recalled reasonably soon
  • The worker has marketable skills for suitable employment and a reasonable expectation of employment in the foreseeable future
  • The worker is within two years of eligibility for a pension or social security
  • The worker is unable to participate in or complete training due to the health of the worker
  • The immediate enrollment is not available
  • No training program is available 

Note: Waivers must be reviewed every 30 days. It is the responsibility of the affected worker and One-Stop staff to ensure the worker meets with a One-Stop representative within the waiver’s 30 day time-frame. Additional TRA is not payable during waiver period; the worker must be in training.

What are the specific criteria under which a waiver of training can be granted?

To receive weekly Trade Readjustment Allowances benefits under the Trade Act of 2002, a worker must be enrolled in a training program or have been issued a waiver of training. Enrollment must occur no later than the last day of the 16th week after the week in which the worker's most recent total separation from adversely affected employment, or the last day of the eighth week after a certification is issued (known as the "8/16 Rule").

Training is provided to affected workers who do not have the skills to secure suitable employment in the existing labor market. Training is targeted to a specific occupation and provided to help certified workers secure employment at a skill level similar to or higher than their layoff employment, and to help workers sustain that employment at the best wage available.

Based on the individual's existing skills and labor market conditions, training will be of the shortest duration necessary to return the individual to employment as quickly as possible. The maximum duration is 104 weeks.

Only ONE training per individual per approved certification. Additionally, for each week the worker participates in remedial education, the affected worker may be eligible to receive an extension of TRA benefits, up to a maximum of 26 weeks.

Allowable types of training include: 

Workers eligible for cash benefits under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers and Fishermen program are eligible for training under this program. For detailed information on Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers and Fishermen visit the USDA web site.

What is the duration and timeline of a training waiver?

An initial waiver can be approved for a maximum of six months.

What does it mean to be enrolled in training?

To be enrolled in training means that the worker's application for training has been approved by Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and that the training institution has furnished written notice to the ODJFS Trade Section that the worker has been accepted into the approved program beginning within 30 days of approval.

What is ATAA and how do I apply?

What is Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA)? 

ATAA provides an alternative assistance program for older workers certified eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). The assistance is in the form of a wage subsidy for those re-employed before the last day of the 26th week to bridge a gap between their wage at separation and their new wage. ATAA is effective for petitions filed on or after August 6, 2003. The request must be made at the time the petition is filed. NOT ALL PETITIONS WILL BE ELIGIBLE.

What is the application process for Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance?  

  • An application must be filed within two years of the first day of qualifying reemployment.
  • The worker must indicate that a "choice" has been made between Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA).
  • Workers cannot switch to the TAA program once they begin receiving the ATAA supplement.
  • The receipt of the initial ATAA payment represents the individual's decision and voids their rights to retraining, allowances, and TRA. 

What are the Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance eligibility requirements?

To be eligible for ATAA an individual must: 

  • Be at least age 50 at the time of re-employment
  • Obtain re-employment by the last day of the 26th week after the worker's qualifying separation from the TAA/ATAA-certified employment
  • Must not be expected to earn more than $50,000 annually in gross wages (excluding overtime pay) from the re-employment
  • Be re-employed full-time as defined by the state law where the worker is employed
  • Not return to work for the employment from which the worker was separated 

What are the appeal rights for Trade Adjustment Assistance and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance services and benefits?

All Trade Adjustment Assistance and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance services and benefits have different deadlines and individual eligibility criteria. Affected workers must meet the criteria under each benefit to receive that benefit.

If affected workers are dissatisfied with the determinations of their individual applications for re-employment services or benefits, they have the same appeal rights as those provided under their state unemployment insurance law. The determination notice that certified workers receive after filing their applications for each benefit will explain their appeal rights and specify time limits for filing appeals.

What are the appeal rights for Trade Adjustment Assistance and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance services and benefits?

All Trade Adjustment Assistance and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance services and benefits have different deadlines and individual eligibility criteria. Affected workers must meet the criteria under each benefit to receive that benefit.

If affected workers are dissatisfied with the determinations of their individual applications for re-employment services or benefits, they have the same appeal rights as those provided under their state unemployment insurance law. The determination notice that certified workers receive after filing their applications for each benefit will explain their appeal rights and specify time limits for filing appeals. 

Additional Information

Where can I find Trade Adjustment Assistance statutes and regulations?

Statutes   

  • Trade Adjustment Assistance Reform Act of 2002, Public Law 107-210 (format: PDF)
  • Trade Act of 1974 (as amended), United States Code, Title 19, Sections 2271-2331 (format: PDF), Congressional Statement of Purpose, "The purposes of this chapter are ... to provide adequate procedures to safeguard American industry and labor against unfair or injurious import competition, and to assist industries, firms, workers, and communities to adjust to changes in international trade flows" 19 U.S.C. 2102

Regulations

  • Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers Under the Trade Act of 1974 Code of Federal Regulations, Title 20, Chapter 5, Part 617 (format: PDF), Purpose, "The [Trade Act of 1974] created a program to assist individuals, who became unemployed as a result of increased imports, to return to suitable employment. The [Trade Adjustment Assistance] program provides for re-employment services and allowances for eligible individuals. The regulations in the part 617 are issued to implement the Act." 20 CFR 617.2  

Is there a U.S. Department of Labor web site with additional information? 

Workers who do not qualify for Trade Adjustment Assistance re-employment services and benefits may be eligible for services under the Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Worker Program: (http://www.doleta.gov/layoff), or other programs which may be accessible through a local One-Stop Career Center. Workers can find the One-Stop Career Center closest to them by calling 1-877-US2-JOBS toll-free, 1-877-889-5627 (TTY), or by using America's Service Locator (http://www.servicelocator.org).