Job Loss due to Foreign Trade
The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program is a federal program established under the Trade Act of 1974 and administered by the states. The TAA Program is designed to provide services and benefits to workers who become unemployed or are threatened with job loss due to the impact of international trade. The ongoing mission of the program is to provide trade-affected workers with the opportunity to obtain new in-demand skills that will, in turn, lead to suitable new employment. Benefits and services under the program may include job training, income support, job search and relocation allowances, a wage supplement for older re-employed workers, and a tax credit to help pay the costs of health insurance.
Below is an overview of the process involved in qualifying for benefits. Please visit the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) websites for more detailed information about the TAA Program.
Process for Qualifying for Benefits
1. Complete and file a petition requesting certification for a group of workers believed to be adversely affected by foreign trade. A petition should be filed at any time after worker separations or a threat of separation begins. Worker separations that occurred more than one year before the filing date would not be covered by the petition.
- Printable petition forms and online petition filing are accessible on the Department of Labor's TAA website.
- Petitions may be filed by an employer or union representative, a state workforce official, a One-Stop operator/partner, or a group of three or more workers. If three affected workers file the petition, they must all work at the same location. All other petitioner types may apply on behalf of more than one location.
- "Adversely affected" means the workers at a company location have or will become totally or partially separated from employment or are threatened with the same.
"Foreign trade" may include the shift of production or services to a foreign country, increased imports of like or directly competitive articles or services, or loss of business from a TAA-certified firm.
- It is helpful to include supporting information, along with petition. Supporting documentation can include data on employment, production, sales, and customers.
- If the company location has or will be closing, it is especially important that the petitioners(s) include complete company contact information.
- Contact the State's Dislocated Worker Unit via phone 608 266-7406 or email if you would like assistance in preparing a petition.
- File the petition with the DOL - Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance (OTAA) and provide a copy to the Department of Workforce Development, Dislocated Worker Unit via fax 608-267-2392 or email.
2. After the OTAA receives a completed petition, it will assign a five digit case number to the petition and initiate an investigation to determine whether the group of workers covered by the petition meets the group eligibility requirements of the Trade Act. As part of the investigation, the OTAA will contact the employer and may contact the employer's customers, the petitioners, union representatives, and other sources to collect relevant data. The investigation measures undertaken vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case.
- If more than one petition is filed on behalf of the workers of the same group, OTAA will incorporate all information into a single investigation.
- OTAA will protect the confidentially of the information provided during the investigation. For more information about the data collection process, visit the OTAA (Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance) website.
3. After the investigation has concluded, the OTAA will issue its written determination. Determinations are 1) communicated directly to the petitioner(s), the subject company and the State, 2) posted on the DOL (Department of Labor) website, and 3) published in the Federal Register.
- If it is found that the separations or threat of separations meet the group eligibility criteria, a certification will issued. Generally the certification covers all the workers who are separated or threatened with separations beginning one year prior to the petition filling date and ending two years after the certification date. Each certification describes the worker group and specifies the period of time it covers.
- If it is found that group eligibility criteria is not met, a negative determination will be issued. A negative determination may be challenged by requesting administrative reconsideration or judicial review.
4. Individuals who believe they are part of the certified workgroup may apply for benefits under the TAA Program. Each worker must individually apply for services and benefits.
When the State of Wisconsin is notified of a new certification, efforts are made to identify eligible workers and inform them of the program and their right to apply for benefits. Employers will be asked to supply certain information - such as layoff lists - that will help the State identify potentially eligible workers and verify individual eligibility for program benefits.
5. After a person has applied for benefits, the State of Wisconsin will issue a determination of his/her individual eligibility for TAA Program benefits and services. Services are accessed via case managers located at the Wisconsin Job Center locations.
Additional information about the Trade Program application process and benefits can be found on the State's Trade website.
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