Trade Adjustment Assistance
What Is Trade Adjustment Assistance?
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is a federal program which provides assistance to workers who lose their jobs or whose hours of work and wages are reduced as a result of increased imports. Under this program you may qualify to receive allowances for training, job search and relocation. Additionally, a Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) may be payable if you qualify.
What Is the North American Free Trade Agreement?
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted in 1993 to provide retraining opportunities for trade-affected workers. NAFTA protects workers who experience job loss or job reduction because production shifts to Mexico or Canada, or because increased imports from either country result in job loss or job reduction for workers. TAA covers workers who experience the same conditions from anywhere in the world.
What Is the Difference between NAFTA/TAA and TRA?
While many of the requirements for the two programs are the same, there are significant differences in the eligibility and entitlement provisions of NAFTA/TAA. For example, the date by which a certified worker must make application for training differs between the programs, as do the time periods for which benefit payments may be authorized for each program. If a worker is certified by both programs, a choice must be made to determine which program is more appropriate for the individual. Local Job Service personnel can explain the differences in the two programs to help affected workers make an informed choice.
How Do You Apply for Benefits Under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program?
The first step is to establish group eligibility for workers in the company whose jobs may be affected. To do so, you should petition the U.S. Department of Labor for eligibility to apply for benefits. A petition must be filed with the office of Trade Adjustment Assistance of the Employment and Training Administration by a group of three or more workers, their union or authorized representative or company official. Upon notification that your company has been certified, you must go to your nearest Job Service office for Trade Adjustment Assistance information.
You can obtain TAA and/or NAFTA petitions by calling the Employment Security Commission Workforce Development Unit at (919) 733-6745.
Would Training Improve One's Job Prospects?
Training opportunities may be immediately available to qualified adversely affected workers when separated. If there are no suitable jobs in your area and you think training would improve your chances of getting a job, discuss your needs and goals with the staff of your local Job Service office to see if you qualify. They can advise you on the employment outlook for workers with different job skills, help you decide what kind of work is best suited to your aptitudes and interests, and tell you about training opportunities that may be available. Your plans may include on-the-job training, vocational and/or technical training.
While attending approved training you may be paid unemployment insurance benefits and/or Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) benefits, if you attend regularly and make satisfactory progress. If the training facility is beyond the normal commuting distance from your home, you may be paid for some of your transportation costs and living expenses.
How do you qualify for a job search allowance?
A job search allowance may be payable to cover expenses incurred in seeking employment outside your normal commuting area. You must obtain prior approval before traveling to any pre-arranged interviews. You may be paid up to 90 percent of necessary transportation and subsistence (maximum of $800 per petition) while searching for employment. There are time limitations for filing applications for job search allowances. You must file within one year after the date of certification or one year after the date of your last total separation, whichever is later, or within six months after you complete a training course approved under the Trade Act. Only travel within the United States is authorized.
Do You Qualify for a Relocation Allowance?
If you are successful in obtaining employment in another area over 50 miles from your home, the program offers financial assistance to help with the relocation. A relocation allowance pays 90 percent of the reasonable and necessary expenses of moving you, your family and your household goods to your new location. Additionally, you may apply for and receive a lump sum payment equal to three times your former average weekly wage (maximum of $800 per petition) to help you get settled.
What is a Trade Readjustment Allowance?
Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) is a weekly allowance payment to workers covered under a certified Trade Act petition who have been separated because of lack of work in employment covered by the petition certification.
An application for TRA will not include applications for job training, job search and/or relocation allowances. You are required to file a separate application for each of these benefits.
Who May Qualify and Receive TRA Benefits?
TRA benefits may be paid to a worker who:
Also, the worker must be enrolled in a Trade Act approved training program or have completed such a training program since the TRA qualifying separation. This requirement may be waived only if training is not feasible or appropriate for the worker.
How Many Weeks of Benefits are Available?
The TRA weekly benefit amount (WBA) is the same as the reqular UI WBA payable on the UI claim established as a result of the first TRA qualifying separation. The maximum basic TRA entitlement equals 52 times the TRA WBA minus all UI entitlements in the first TRA qualifying UI benefit period.
What is the Basic TRA Eligibility Period?
The TRA eligibility period is a 104 week period beginning with the Sunday following the week in which the worker was most recently totally separated from the adversely affected employment.
If I Have Questions About TAA or TRA, Whom Should I Contact?
For more information regarding Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) or Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA), please contact your local Workforce Oklahoma office.
Last Updated on 09/13/2007