What is Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)?

How many TAA affected workers are in North Carolina?

What is the Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA)?

What is the petitioning process for TAA benefits?

Trade Adjustment Assistance

      The Trade Act of 1974, amended in 2002, created a program of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) to provide re-employment services and benefits to trade-affected workers. Workers who become totally or partially separated or are threatened to become separated from employment as a direct result of increase foreign imports or a shift in production to foreign countries that are party to Free Trade Agreements with the United States, are considered primarily affected workers and may be eligible for TAA.

      Secondarily affected workers may be eligible for TAA. These are workers whose employment is affected because they worked with a firm who either produced and supplied component parts or performed final assembly or finishing for articles produced by a firm where the group of workers were certified for TAA benefits.

      The Trade Act of 2002 created the Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) program, as an alternative for older workers for whom retraining may not be appropriate and who find employment quickly. This program became effective for trade certification petitions filed on or after August 6, 2003. Workers who are covered under a TAA petition filed prior to August 6, 2003, would not be eligible to apply for ATAA benefits.

      The ATAA program is a wage supplement program to provide supplemental payments to workers to help bridge the salary gap between their old and new employment.

      The TAA and ATAA programs are federal programs administered by the Division of Employment Security of North Carolina (DES) for the United States Department of Labor (USDOL).

Number of TAA affected workers in North Carolina


Petitioning for TAA and ATAA

      To establish group eligibility for workers whose jobs may be affected, a TAA petition must be filed. A petition may be filed by a group of three or more workers, an authorized representative of the union, an official of the employer, Job Link partner or operator, or the state dislocated worker unit.

      A TAA petition can be obtained from your local DES office or downloaded in English or Spanish version. The petitioner(s) should complete and sign the petition and either fax or mail the petition to the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL Fax 1-202-693-3585) as well as the DES TAA Coordinator (NC Fax 1-919-733-1656). Filing instructions are provided on the front page of Petition Form ETA-9042. A petition may be filed online by going to http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact, and then by clicking on "File Online".

      Submission of a completed Petition Form signifies a desire to file for both TAA and ATAA. If certified for both programs, workers will have the option of applying for TAA benefits and services and ATAA if the worker is reemployed 26 weeks from the worker's separation date.


Where do you file the petition?

What is Rapid Response?

How long does the petition process take?

      When a petition is filed, the DES notifies the Division of Employment and Training Dislocated Worker Unit, which establishes a rapid response team. Rapid response is the initial meeting with employers to share information on available transition services for workers that have lost their jobs as a result of a layoff or facility closure. This also begins the process of providing a variety of Reemployment Services which may include one or more of the following:

      While the petition is under investigation, workers may receive these services through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) which is administered through the local JobLink Career Center.


How long does the petition process take?

How do workers qualify for TAA?

How do workers qualify for ATAA?

      Upon receipt of the petition, the U.S. Department of Labor will conduct an investigation and gather data from the employer to determine whether group eligibility criteria have been met. The investigation takes approximately 40 days. Upon completion of the investigation, a written determination reflecting the worker's eligibility for TAA benefits will be mailed to the petitioner(s). To establish group eligibility for TAA benefits, all of the following criteria must be met:

      A significant number of workers must be totally or partially separated from employment or threatened with separation,

And

Or

      To establish group eligibility for ATAA benefits, the US DOL will determine if the below listed criteria have been met. However, the US DOL must first determine that all of the criteria for a regular TAA petition meet the conditions for certification. The following criteria must be met to establish eligibility for ATAA:

And


How are eligible workers notified?

How/where does an eligible worker apply for benefits?

How are workers assessed for services?

      If a Certification Regarding TAA Worker Eligibility and/or ATAA is issued, the DES contacts the employer to obtain a list of the workers who have separated and their mailing addresses. The DES will provide individual notices to each affected worker after a company worker group is certified. In lieu of a list of affected workers, the DES will issue a press release. Upon receipt of notification, a trade affected worker may apply for benefits under the TAA or ATAA program through their local DES. Information regarding the TAA program can also be obtained through local JobLink Career Centers.

Reconsiderations

      Workers who are denied TAA or ATAA assistance by the U.S. Department of Labor may request reconsideration. The request for reconsideration may only be filed by an interested party, i.e. company official, worker or authorized union representative, within 30 days from the date the determination is published in the Federal Register. Reconsideration for ATAA assistance cannot be requested if the petioner(s) did not request ATAA on the initial TAA petition. The request must be in writing, including the TAA Petition number, and must cite specific reasons or additional evidence to substantiate the reason for the request for reconsideration. A request for reconsideration should be mailed to the U.S. Department of Labor, Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance, 200 Constitution Avenue N.W., Room C-5311, Washington, DC 20210.

TAA Services

      The TAA program emphasizes a timely and comprehensive variety of Reemployment Services tailored to meet the needs of each individual worker. An assessment of the worker's skill levels, aptitudes and abilities will determine the type of services and benefits they may be eligible to apply for. The local TAA representative will assess the local labor market and refer a worker to suitable jobs. In addition, reemployment services may include assistance with resume preparation, how to prepare and conduct a job interview, as well as a wide variety of information available in the career resource centers at the DES or JobLink Career Centers.

      If an individual is unable to find employment through the wide variety of reemployment services available, the individual may request benefits available through the TAA program.

TAA Benefits


What are job search allowances?

What are relocation allowances?

Job Search Allowance

      TAA provides assistance for workers who are not able to find suitable employment in the area in which they reside. Job search allowances are available for trade affected workers who are seeking employment outside their normal commuting distance. A worker must apply for TAA and obtain prior approval from a TAA representative before traveling to any pre-arranged job interview. Workers may receive 90 percent reimbursement of necessary transportation and subsistence for job search that exceeds 60 miles from their home. Only travel that occurs in the United States can be authorized. A maximum of $1,250 per petition is allowed for each worker. Applications must be filed within one year from the date of certification or date of separation, whichever is later; or within six months after completion of a training course approved under TAA.

Relocation Allowance

      An eligible TAA worker who finds suitable permanent employment and has a reasonable expectation that the duration of the employment will be long term can receive relocation allowances. The relocation must occur in the United States and exceed 60 miles from their home. Before a relocation occurs, a worker must apply for TAA and obtain prior approval from a TAA representative. Relocation allowances are approved after verification of employment with the new employer. Workers may receive 90 percent of the reasonable and necessary expenses of moving household goods to the new location, provided the new employer does not pay for these costs. In addition, each worker may receive a lump sum equivalent to three times the worker's weekly salary to a maximum of $1,250. Applications for relocation must be filed within fourteen months from the date of certification or date of separation, whichever is later; or within six months after completion of a training course approved under TAA.


What is Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA)?

Who is eligible for ATAA?

How is the ATAA wage subsidy calculated?

How long does the ATAA wage subsidy last?

Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA)

      After the U.S. Department of Labor issues a Certification Regarding ATAA Worker Eligibility, each worker who may be interested in services and benefits under the ATAA program must individually apply to determine their eligibility for ATAA benefits. The following criteria must be met by individual older workers determined to apply for ATAA benefits:

      Once approved for the ATAA program, eligible individuals may receive up to half of the difference between the worker's old (higher) wage and the new (lower) wage. The wages at the time of separation (excluding overtime) and wages at reemployment will be calculated as annualized hourly rates. The worker's wage supplement will be paid every 2-4 weeks for a period of two years or until a total of $10,000 has been paid, whichever occurs first. Payments to eligible workers will be issued following verification by DES of the wages earned by the individual for the previous month. ATAA payments are subject to federal, state tax withholding as well as child support. At any time in which the worker's hourly wage increase which result in the annual income exceeding $50,000, the worker will not be eligible for future ATAA wage supplements based on such employment.

      ATAA eligible workers are also eligible to apply for a Job Search or Relocation Allowance and Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) but are not eligible for other TAA benefits, which include Training or Trade Readjustment Allowances.


Why do workers need to be issued waivers?

Why are waivers reviewed?

Waivers

      After assessing the worker's skill levels, the DES may determine that it may not be feasible or appropriate for the worker to enroll in training because of one or more of the reasons listed below. If an individual is issued a waiver from the training requirements, they may be entitled to receive Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) after they exhaust regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits while they continue to look for work. The UI and TRA benefits payable will not exceed 52 weeks. An individual is also eligible for the HCTC during the period the worker is on a waiver and receiving weekly benefits.

Recall  -  The worker has been notified that they will be recalled by the trade-affected employer from which the separation occurred. The notice of recall must be in writing and give the specific date of the recall.

Marketable Skills  -  The worker may possess marketable skills for suitable employment and there is a reasonable expectation of employment at equivalent wages in the foreseeable future.

Retirement  -  The worker is within two years of meeting the requirements for either Social Security benefits or a pension sponsored by either the employer or labor organization..

Health  -  The worker is unable to participate in training due to the health of the worker. However, issuance of a waiver for this reason would not exempt the worker from being able, available and actively seeking full-time employment.

Enrollment Unavailable  -  The first available enrollment date for approved training for the worker is within 60 days after the date that the determination was made that they were in TAA approved training.

Training Not Available  -  Training is not reasonably available to the worker from either governmental or private sources, no training that is suitable for the worker is available at a reasonable cost, or no training funds are currently available.

Waivers are reviewed every 30 days to determine if the reason for issuance is still applicable. If DES determines that the basis for the waiver is no longer applicable to the worker, the waiver may be revoked.


What are the conditions for the approval of training?

Where can I find a list of approved training providers?

Training

      The TAA program offers training to those individuals who need training to have the skills necessary to re-enter employment in as short a timeframe as possible. Not all workers may require or be eligible to receive training. In order to approve a training plan, DES must determine if the following six criteria are applicable and that the training provider is on the list of eligible training providers. A list of approved training providers for each worker's local area may be accessed on North Carolina's State Training Accountability and Reporting System (NC STARS) at www.ncstars.org or at your local JobLink Career Center.

      There is no suitable employment, which may include technical or professional employment available for the worker.. Suitable employment means, with respect to a worker, work of a substantially equal or higher skill level than the worker's past adversely affected employment and wages for such work at not less than 80 percent of the worker's average weekly wage.

      The worker would benefit from appropriate training. The worker must have a need for skills training or remedial education and have the mental and physical capabilities to undertake, make satisfactory progress in and complete the training. In addition, the worker must be job ready on completion of the training program.

      There is a reasonable expectation of employment following completion of training. Based on the labor market conditions expected to exist at the time of completion of training, there is a reasonable expectation that the worker will find a job using the skills and education acquired while in training, after completion of the training.

      Training is reasonably available to the worker. Training must be within the worker's commuting area at a training provider. If training is not accessible to the worker within commuting distance, the cost of transportation must be considered in determining whether the training program is at a reasonable cost.

      The worker is qualified to undertake and complete training. . This emphasizes the worker's personal qualifications, both mental and physical, educational background, work experience and financial resources as adequate to undertake and complete training.

      Training is suitable for the worker and available at a reasonable cost. Training must be suitable for the worker based on the worker's capabilities, background and experience. In addition, training may not be approved at one provider when training substantially similar in quality, content and results can be obtained from another provider at a lower total cost within a similar time frame.


What kind of training is available for workers?

What is On the Job Training (OJT)?

What is Customized Training?

      The TAA program offers a selection of training methods and programs. An adversely affected worker may be provided either one or a combination of the following methods of training. A combination of training programs is only available for workers requiring remedial training in addition to occupational training.

      No individual is entitled to receive more than one occupational training program under a certified TAA petition.

On-the-Job Training (OJT)

      OJT is a type of training, in the public or private sector, which provides training by the employer while the individual is working on the job. The training will provide knowledge or skills essential to adequately perform a specific job. OJT may be offered in occupations that provide opportunities not otherwise available, leading to economic self-sufficiency and providing upward mobility. The TAA program provides reimbursement of no more than 50 percent of the wage rate of the worker's wages, for the cost of the training and additional supervision during the training period which cannot exceed six months. Workers interested in utilizing this method of training with a specific employer should discuss OJT with their local TAA representative prior to accepting the employment.

Customized Training

      Customized Training is a type of training that is designed to meet the special requirements or occupational need of an employer or group of employers. This type of training would benefit expanding industry or recruitment of new industry within the local labor market. The training is provided by a private or public training vendor designed specifically to meet the needs of the employer. The training is conducted with a commitment by the employer to employ an individual upon successful completion of the training. The employer pays for no more than 50 percent of the cost of the training.


What is Classroom/Occupational training?

What are the full time requirements for training?

How many weeks of training are allowed?

What training costs are approved under TAA?

What is Remedial training?

Classroom/Occupational Training

      Occupational training is a type of TAA approved training, conducted in a classroom setting, that is tailored to meet the workers specific needs and for jobs for which there is a labor market demand. There are conditions when distance learning is approved as part of a curriculum, which include: (a) leads to the completion of the training program (b) requires students to interact with the instructors (c) requires students to take periodic tests and (d) requires students to come onto the training facility for tests and meetings with instructors.

      The types of training approved could range from upgrading a worker's current skill to providing the worker with a new skill resulting in a certificate, diploma or degree. Short term training is recommended in order that the worker can return to the workforce as quickly as possible. The local TAA representative can advise workers of the occupations in demand and assist workers in deciding what type of work is best suited to their aptitudes, skills and interests.Individuals enrolled in TAA approved training are required to attend training full time. The definition of full time training is established based on hours and days of training available of the training provider. The maximum duration allowed to complete an approved training program is 104 weeks, unless the worker requires remedial training, in which case this time can be extended up to 130 weeks. .

      Training costs include tuition, books, school fees, required tools and uniforms and transportation, when required. If the worker is eligible for any type of federal, state or non-governmental educational grants or scholarships, TAA regulations require those funds be used to pay training costs. However, if training costs exceed the amount of the grant or scholarship, TAA funds will be used to pay the remaining training costs.

      Transportation allowances are paid at the federal mileage per diem and in accordance with applicable rules and criteria. In addition, transportation allowances are considered in determining the total cost of the training program and whether the cost is reasonable in accordance with TAA regulations.

Remedial

      There are various types of remedial training which may be required or taken in conjunction with some type of occupational training. Types of remedial training may include:

      TAA program allows a worker up to 130 weeks to complete training when remedial training is required prior to completing the desired occupational goal.


What is a Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA)?

What are the requirements to receive TRA?

What is the 16 week from separation or 8 week from certification date?

How many weeks of TRA can be paid?

What is the maximum number of TRA weeks?

Trade Readjustment Allowance

      Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) is a weekly allowance payment to workers covered under a certified TAA petition who meet the following requirements:

      TRA weekly benefit amount (WBA) is the same as the regular UI WBA payable on the UI claim established as a result of the first qualifying separation. Basic TRA and UI benefits may be paid for a combined total of 52 weeks and within a two year period from the date of the worker's separation from adversely affected employment. An additional 52 weeks of TRA benefits may be paid if the worker is still in approved training and has exhausted UI and basic TRA benefits. If the worker requires remedial training, he or she may receive up to an additional 26 weeks for each week they are enrolled in approved remedial training. Under no circumstances will an individual receive more than 130 weeks of TRA benefits.

      The TAA program prohibits payment of TRA benefits at any time in which an individual is eligible to establish another UI claim. A second UI claim may establish at a lower WBA than what individual may currently be receiving in TRA benefits. However, federal regulations require that UI benefits be exhausted, which may be at a lower benefit amount, prior to resuming TRA benefits at the higher benefit amount. As an example, the initial UI and TRA weekly benefits were $350. After receiving this amount for 52 weeks, eligibility for a second UI claim was established with a weekly benefit amount of $250 for 14 weeks. In this case, an individual would receive $350 for 52 weeks, $250 for 14 weeks and then resume $350 for the remaining number of weeks the individual was in approved training.


What is the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC)?

What are the qualifying requirements for HCTC?

What are automatic qualified health plans?

Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC)

       The Trade Act of 2002 created a Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) to provide a federal tax credit that covers 65% of the premium amount that eligible individuals pay for qualified health insurance coverage. HCTC is not a government insurance program. Private insurers selected by employers through COBRA or private insurers selected by states provide the insurance

      To be eligible for HCTC, an individual must meet one of the following qualifying requirements and have qualified health coverage plans.

  1. Individuals must be receiving a Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA)
  2. Or

  3. Would be eligible to receive TRA except they have not exhausted unemployment insurance (UI) benefits
  4. Individuals eligible for and receiving Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA)
  5. Individuals receiving benefits from the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC)

Automatic Qualified Health Plans

(a) COBRA  -  as long as the employer or former employer contributes less than 50 percent of the total cost of the coverage

(b) SPOUSAL COVERAGE  -  Coverage under a group health plan that is available through the employment of the eligible individual's spouse wherein the employer contributes less than 50% [this option is only available as an end-of-the year tax credit and not for advanced credit]

(c) INDIVIDUAL COVERAGE  -   Coverage that was in effect during the entire 30 days period prior to the eligible individual separated from the trade affected employer.


What is a state qualified plan for HCTC?

Who is qualified for a state qualified plan?

What are the conditions to enroll in the state qualified plan?

Does the state qualified plan have to accept me?

State Qualified Health Plan

      Effective January 1, 2009, Inclusive Health is offering health coverage to TAA eligible workers and their qualified family members under the Trade Act of 2002.

      Eligible individuals who have had at least three months of creditable coverage prior to seeking enrollment in a qualified health plan without a break in coverage of more than 63 consecutive days at the time of application are:

NOTE:  A qualified plan does not have to guarantee issuance to eligible individuals who do not meet these requirements. If the plan does provide coverage, it may impose a pre-existing condition restriction on such individual in the same manner as it would for a non-HCTC eligible applicant. An example of restrictions would be applying a waiting period for up to 12 months for pre-existing conditions.


What other factors will affect my enrollment for HCTC?

How am I affected if I am receiving Medicare or other federal health benefits?

Enrolling in a Qualified Health Plan

      To be eligible for the HCTC program, an individual must be enrolled in a qualified health insurance plan on the first day of the month in which you plan to claim the credit. However, being enrolled in a qualified health plan does not guarantee that an individual will receive the tax credit since other criteria apply as well.

      A lapse in health coverage may affect the individual's ability to obtain health coverage in the future. If they choose to end their current coverage to enroll in an HCTC qualified health plan, a gap in coverage may result in being uninsured for the period of time of the gap in coverage.

      Qualified family members may also be enrolled through an HCTC-qualified plan. Qualified family members are your spouse and dependents that you claim on your federal tax return. Children of divorced parents are treated as dependents of the custodial parent for purposes of HCTC. The non-custodial parent may not claim the credit even if he/she is entitled to claim the tax exemption for the child or if they carry the child's health insurance. An individual cannot claim the HCTC for a qualified family member who is any of the following:/p>

      If an individual and spouse are both HCTC eligible and are covered by the same plan, only one may register in order for both to receive the credit. The individual that does not register is considered a qualifying family member. If an individual and spouse are both HCTC eligible and have different health plans, they must register separately in order to receive the credit.


What is the year end tax credit for HCTC?

What is the advance tax credit for HCTC?

How do I enroll for the advance tax credit?

How do I contact the HCTC customer contact center?

Claiming the HCTC

There are two ways to claim the tax credit for qualified health coverage:

  1. Year End Tax Credit - Effective December 2002, an individual can claim a 65% tax credit on their federal income tax returns for each month they are eligible and receiving TRA benefits and have qualified health insurance coverage. If an individual would like to claim their HCTC benefit for the entire year when they file their federal tax return:
    • Qualified health plan premiums should be paid in full each month
    • Complete IRS Form 8885 to claim the credit and submit with IRS Form 1040, 1040NR, 1040SS or 1040PR..
    • .

  2. Monthly HCTC - - Effective August 1, 2003, an individual can register to receive an advance payment of the HCTC credit on a monthly basis to help pay for health plan premiums as they become due. If an individual would like to receive the Monthly Tax Credit:
    1. Enroll in an HCTC qualified health plan.
    2. Complete an HCTC registration form. An HCTC registration packet will be mailed directly to the individual from the HCTC Customer Contact Center in approximately one week after DES notifies the HCTC center that the individual is eligible for TRA benefits and currently receiving either UI or TRA benefits.
    3. Enclose the completed HCTC registration form, a copy of your current health plan invoice, or a copy of your COBRA election letter (if applicable) in the postage paid envelope provided in the registration packet.
    4. Once the HCTC center processes the registration form, the individual will receive a confirmation letter if they successfully register for the Monthly HCTC tax credit option. The confirmation letter contains steps an individual must follow to actually begin receiving the credit in advance. The HCTC center estimates that the registration process will take approximately 4-6 weeks. During the registration process the individual should continue to pay in full their health insurance premium.
    5. If the registration is successful, the individual will receive an invoice from the HCTC center. The individual is responsible for returning the specified payment (35% of the health insurance premium) in the envelope included with the invoice. When the first payment is processed, future payments will be made to the HCTC program instead of to the health plan administrator.

If an individual is eligible for HCTC and has health coverage through their spouse's employer, the Monthly HCTC tax credit is not currently available. HCTC can only be claimed as Yearly HCTC (end of year tax credit).


How do I make an advance payment for HCTC?

What is my responsibility during the HCTC payment process?

What tax forms will I receive from the IRS?

What form of payment is accepted for payments?

An Individual’s Payment Responsibility

      The HCTC program will cover 65% of an individual's eligible premium amount. The eligible premium amount covers major medical plans for you and qualified family members. Exceptions such as vision and dental coverage are not considered part of the eligible premium amount (except when the health plan includes them as part of the major medical care premium). .

      Each month the individual will receive an invoice from the HCTC Processing Center. The full amount on the invoice must be paid in full by the due date provided. Once the payment clears, the HCTC center will add the credit amount and submit the full payment to the health plan administrator each month for as long as the individual is eligible for the program. Late or missed payments may impact participation in the Monthly HCTC program. If the payment is not received in full by the due date, an individual may not be eligible for the Monthly HCTC tax credit for the remainder of the calendar year. If the HCTC center does not receive the 35% payment by the deadline, the individual should send their full premium amount to their health plan administrator in order to maintain coverage. .

      The following forms of payment will be accepted by the HCTC Processing Center:

How do I make an advance credit payment to HCTC?

Who makes the payment to my insurance provider?

To mail a payment:

      Until the first invoice from the HCTC Center is received, individuals should pay 100% of the health plan premium directly to the health plan administrator. During the month(s) that a 100% payment is made, that period can be claimed as a year end tax credit. All health plan payments should be up to date. The HCTC program is not responsible for any balance you owe prior to receiving the Monthly credit and will not bill you for this amount.

      Once the first payment is processed by the HCTC Center, the individual becomes an active participant in the Monthly HCTC program. During the period the individual is billed by the HCTC program and full payment is made in a timely manner, no payment should be made by the individual to the health plan administrator. The health plan administrator may continue to mail invoices to the individual for the health plan as before. The invoices should be saved for the individual's personal records.


Who do I contact if there is a change in my HCTC status?

Changes in Status

      An individual should notify the HCTC Customer Contact Center at 1-866-628-4282, TDD/TTY callers please call 1-866-626-4282, if any of the following changes:

      If an individual receives a letter from the HCTC Center that they are no longer eligible for the Monthly HCTC tax credit, they should resume sending full payment to their health plan administrator to maintain coverage.


TAA (effective February 15, 2011) /HCTC UPDATE (effective March 1, 2011)

     Determining Worker Eligibility


Who do I contact for additional information?

For more information regarding Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA):

A Brochure about TAA benefits (amended 2002) can be downloaded in .pdf format.
A Brochure about TAA benefits (amended 2009) can be downloaded in .pdf format.

For more information regarding Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), please contact your local Division of Employment Security office.

TAA information on this webpage is issued for informational purposes only.
It does not have the force of law or regulation.