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Monday, November 21, 2011

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Workers

Benjamin Collins
Analyst in Labor Policy

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers (TAA) provides federal assistance to production and service workers who have been adversely affected by foreign trade. To be eligible for TAA, a group of workers must establish that they were separated from their employment either because their jobs moved outside the United States or because of an increase in directly competitive imports. Workers at firms that are suppliers or downstream producers to TAA-certified firms may also be eligible for TAA benefits.

After the Department of Labor verifies the role of foreign trade in the group’s job losses, workers can apply for individual benefits. The two largest TAA benefits are (1) training assistance and (2) Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA), an income support for certified workers who have exhausted their unemployment compensation. Workers may collect TRA benefits as long as they remain enrolled in eligible training, up to 130 weeks.

Certified workers may also be eligible for other benefits. Workers who cannot obtain employment in their local commuting areas may be eligible for job search and relocation allowances. Workers age 50 or older are eligible to participate in Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA), a wage insurance program for older workers who are TAA-certified. Both TRA- and RTAAeligible workers may be eligible for a Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC), which provides a refundable tax credit to offset 72.5% of qualified health insurance premiums.

This report provides background on the TAA and RTAA programs. After a brief legislative history, it discusses TAA eligibility and benefits as set by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-40). It concludes by presenting data on past application activity and benefit usage.

Date of Report: November
7, 2011
Number of Pages:
Order Number: R4
Price: $29.95

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