The Trade Act programs, Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA), and Alternative Trade Adjustment Allowance (ATAA), assist individuals who have become unemployed as a result of increased imports from, or shifts in production to, foreign countries. The goal of the Trade Act programs is to help trade-affected workers return to suitable employment as quickly as possible. To facilitate this goal, TAA certified workers may access a menu of services that include training, income support, relocation allowances, job search allowances, and a health coverage tax credit (HCTC). TAA participants that require retraining in order to obtain suitable employment may receive occupational training.
In addition, the ATAA/RTAA program for workers 50 years and older during eligible period provides an alternative to the benefits offered under the regular TAA program. Participation in ATAA/RTAA allows older workers, for whom retraining may not be suitable, to accept reemployment at a lower wage and receive a wage subsidy. When a petition is certified, both of these benefits may be available to those workers under the petition.
Individuals may be eligible for Trade Readjustment Assistance (TRA) payments, which are additional weekly dollars issued after the Unemployment Insurance weekly benefits are exhausted. TRA benefits are not payable to workers participating in on-the-job training. TRA benefits are defined in three (3) categories: Basic TRA, Additional TRA, and Completion TRA. Each category has its own set of eligibility requirements.
Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA) and Alternative Trade Adjustment Allowance (ATAA) is an alternative assistance program for workers 50 years old or older during eligible period certified eligible for trade adjustment assistance. There are no requirements for group certification specifically for RTAA, but there is a separate certification for ATAA.
- A significant number or proportion of the workers in the workers’ firm, must have become totally or partially separated or be threatened with total or partial separation during the 1 year period prior to the petition date.
- Sales or production, or both, of the workers’ firm has decreased during the one-year period prior to the petition date.
- Imports of the article or service have increased during the one-year period prior to the petition date.
- Increased imports have contributed importantly to worker separations, or threat of separation, and the decline in sales or production of the workers’ firm.
- The component parts supplied to the firm, identified in the section, represented at least 20% of the supplier’s production or sales during the one year period prior to the petition date; or loss of business with the firm contributed importantly to separation or threat of separation at the worker’s firm.
The petition for TAA is available through the Dislocated Worker Unit / Administrative Trade Unit in Lincoln, or directly at the Federal Employment and Training Administration website http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/.
- a group of three or more workers
- a company official
- One-Stop operators or partners (including state employment security agencies and dislocated worker units)
- or by a union or other duly authorized representative of such workers.
The workers on whose behalf a petition is filed must be, or have been, employed at the firm or subdivision identified in the petition. After receiving a TAA petition, the Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance (DTAA) investigators analyze facts contributing to the workers' layoffs or work reductions in order to determine eligibility. If the worker group meets the necessary group eligibility criteria, a certification will be issued.
The TAA petition may be filed with the U.S. Secretary of Labor. U.S. Department of Labor:
Employment and Training Administration
Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Room C-5311
Washington, D.C. 20210
Or the petition may be filed through the state Department of Labor.
Nebraska Department of Labor
550 South 16th Street
P.O. Box 94600
Lincoln, NE 68509-4600
A completed petition describes a group of workers working at a specific location, for a specific company, producing a specific product or group of products. If the group of workers described in the petition is certified the U.S. Department of Labor will determine the specific product or group of products that are impacted.
Decisions on TAA Petitions
Generally, 40 days after receiving a petition, the Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance (DTAA) will make a final determination on whether or not the eligibility requirements have been met.
The OTAA (Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance) will notify petitioners, the State Department of Labor, and a company official of its determination. If the petition is certified, the state will notify the individual workers in the group. Workers who are certified by OTAA may then apply for individual reemployment services and benefits under TAA that will help them obtain suitable employment. In order to receive benefits for RTAA/ATAA, workers must also meet individual criteria. Certified workers apply for individual services and benefits through their local One-Stop Career Centers.
Generally, the certification covers all members of the worker group who are laid off during the three-year period beginning one year before the petition was filed and ending two years after the date of the certification. Each certification specifies the beginning and ending dates. These dates are essential in determining who is eligible for services under the certification.
If the eligibility requirements are not met, the OTAA will issue the worker group a "Negative Determination". A negative determination denies workers the eligibility to apply for TAA.
- Request administrative reconsideration of their petition;
- appeal the denial; and/or
- apply for reemployment services from other programs such as those available through the Workforce Investment Act’s Dislocated Worker program also available through local One-Stop Career Centers.
How to Challenge a Petition Denial
United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance Room C-5311
200 Constitution Avenue N.W. Washington, D.C. 20210
Fax: 202-693-3584 or 3585
Workers who are denied certification may seek judicial review of the DOL's initial petition denial or denial following administrative reconsideration. Appeals for judicial review must be filed with the Office of the Clerk, U.S. Court of International Trade, One Federal Plaza, New York, New York 10007, 212-264-2814. Appeals must be mailed within 60 days of Federal Register publication of the initial denial or administrative reconsideration denial.
When a petition has been certified, but the individual is denied a specific TAA service, such as training, travel, relocation, etc., the individual has the same rights as those provided under the State Unemployment Compensation law. The determination notice received after filing an application explains the appeal rights and time limits for filing an appeal. Whenever someone appeals a decision concerning their TAA benefits, they have a right to be represented by their union, lawyer, or other person to help present the facts.