Trade Adjustment Assistance

To provide adjustment assistance to qualified workers adversely affected by foreign trade which will assist them to obtain suitable employment.

Related Programs

Agency - Department of Labor

The Department of Labor fosters and promotes the welfare of job seekers, wage earners and retirees by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities, protecting their retirement and health benefits and generally protecting worker rights and monitoring national economic measures.

Office - Regional offices of the Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor listed in Appendix IV, and local offices of affiliated State Employment Security Agencies.
Website Address

Program Accomplishments

From April 1975 through September 2006, the Department of Labor issued certifications in 35,549 cases involving 4,357,803 workers. (These figures are continuously revised to account for actual experience and include both TAA and NAFTA-TAA.)

Uses and Use Restrictions

State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) serve as agents of the United States for administering the worker adjustment assistance benefit provisions of the Trade Act.

SWAs, through the local offices, provide testing, counseling, and job placement services; job search and relocation assistance; training; and payment of weekly trade readjustment allowances (TRA).

State unemployment compensation and extended benefits must be exhausted before TRA is paid to eligible claimants.

Trade impacted workers are eligible to receive job search and relocation allowances in addition to the costs of training.

They may be paid subsistence and transportation allowances to attend approved training outside the normal commuting distance of a worker's regular place of residence.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

A petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) may be filed by a group of adversely affected workers and be signed by at least three workers; alternatively, a petition may be filed by a company official, one-stop operators or one-stop partners, including State employment security agencies or the State dislocated worker unit, union representative, or other authorized representatives, requiring only one signature.

After receiving a TAA petition, Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance (DTAA) investigators will establish if the workers' company produces a product and that a required minimum of the workforce has been laid off in the 12 months preceding the date of the petition or is threatened with layoffs (3 workers in groups of fewer than 50, 5 percent of the workforce in groups of 50 or more, or at least 50 workers in groups of 1000 or more).

Additionally, DTAA will analyze facts contributing to the workers' layoffs or work reductions in order to determine one of the following sets of conditions have been met: (1) Increased imports contributed importantly to an actual decline in sales or production and to a layoff or threat of a layoff; or (2) There has been a shift in production to certain countries which contributed to a layoff or threat of a layoff; or (3) there has been a shift in production outside of the United States and there has been or is likely to be an increase in the import of like or similar articles; or (4) loss of business as a supplier of component parts, a final assembler, or a finisher where workers were TAA certified and contributed importantly to an actual decline in sales or production, and to a layoff or threat of a layoff.

In accordance with the requirement of Section 246 of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Reform Act of 2002, the Secretary implemented on August 6, 2003, the Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) for Older Workers.

A request for ATAA consideration is part of the TAA petition and is filed at the same time the TAA petition is filed.

In order for the Department to certify a worker group eligible to apply for the ATAA, the petitioning worker group must be determined eligible to apply for TAA.

The criteria that the Department must consider for ATAA certification are: (1) a significant number of workers in the firm must be 50 years of age or older, (2) whether the workers possess skills that are easily transferable in the local area, and (3) the competitive conditions within the workers' industry.

Beneficiary Eligibility

A TAA beneficiary must: (1) be found by the Labor Department to have been adversely affected by increased imports or a shift in production to certain countries, (2) be certified by the Secretary of Labor as eligible to apply for adjustment assistance, and (3) meet the following individual requirements: (a) his or her unemployment or underemployment must have begun on or after the impact date specified in the Secretary's certification as the beginning of the import-impacted unemployment or underemployment; (b) his or her unemployment must begin before the expiration of the two-year period beginning on the date on which the Secretary issued the certification for his or her group or before the termination date, if any, specified in the certification. In addition, to be eligible for weekly trade readjustment allowance (TRA) payments he or she must: (1) have been employed with wages at a minimum of $30 per week by the import-affected firm for at least 26 of the previous 52 weeks including the week of total layoff (up to seven weeks of employer-authorized leave may be counted as qualifying weeks of employment or up to 26 weeks of disability compensation); and (2) be enrolled in or have completed a TAA approved job training program, unless the determination is made that training is either not feasible or not appropriate, in which case a waiver of the training requirement may be issued. To receive TRA, the claimant must be enrolled in an approved training program within eight weeks of the Secretary's issuance of the certification or within 16 weeks of the worker's most recent qualifying separation, whichever is later.



Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

To apply for TAA under the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, a "Petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance" must be filed directly with the Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance at the address listed below and with the State official or organization designated by the Governor of the State in which the workers' firm or subdivision is located. DTAA and State contact information, as well as petition forms in English and Spanish, are available through the State Workforce Agencies or from the Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance listed below. The Petition forms may also be downloaded from our web-site at: Filing a petition also constitutes an application for Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA). Petitions must be filed with both the DTAA and the State agency in which the worker group's plant is located. Notice of such filing shall be promptly published in the Federal Register. Within 10 days after publication, the petitioner or any other person found by the Secretary to have a substantial interest may request a hearing and be afforded the opportunity to be present, to present evidence, and to be heard.

Award Procedures

A Certification of Eligibility to apply for worker adjustment assistance and alternative trade adjustment assistance may be issued by the Secretary of Labor to groups of workers who have been found by the Department of Labor to have met the requirements concerning foreign trade-affected separations from employment. Individual workers covered by the certification can apply to the local office of their State Workforce Agency for individual determinations of eligibility to receive benefits.




Trade Act of 1974, Title II, Public Law 93-618, 88 Stat. 1979, 19 U.S.C. 2271-2322, as amended; Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, Title XXV, Public Law 97-35, as amended; Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1983, Public Law 97-362, as amended; Amendment to the International Coffee Agreement Act of 1980, Public Law 98-120, as amended; Deficit Reduction Act of 1984, Public Law 98-369, as amended, Public Law 99-190; Third Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 1986 Funds, as amended; Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, Title XIII, Public Law 99-272; Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, Title I, Public Law 100-418; North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Title V, Public Law 103-182; Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2000, Public Law 106-113; Trade Act of 2002, Title I-II, Public Law 107-210.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

For the TAA program, eligibility investigations begun by the receipt of a valid petition are completed, and a determination issued, within 40 calendar days of the receipt of the petition.


There are two courses of appeal, one administrative and the other judicial. Petitioners aggrieved by a final determination by the Secretary may, within 30 days after notice of such determination is published in the Federal Register, file an application for reconsideration with the Director of the Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance. If the determination following reconsideration is negative, they may, within 60 days after notice of the negative determination upon reconsideration, file a petition for review of such determination with the United States Court of International Trade in New York City. Aggrieved petitioners may request judicial appeal without first seeking administrative reconsideration, within 60 days after notice of such determination is published in the Federal Register.



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Base funding of grants to States for training services uses a formula based on States' previous year allocations, accrued expenditures and participant levels; additional funds may be requested by States based on additional needs above the base funding provided.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Cash trade readjustment allowances (TRA) become payable only after workers have exhausted their entitlement to State unemployment compensation including extended benefits. For TAA certifications on petitions filed on or after November 4, 2002, the maximum number of weeks of State unemployment compensation, extended benefits and trade readjustment allowances cannot exceed 52 weeks except that up to 52 additional weeks may be paid to workers while participating in approved training and an additional 26 weeks for workers whose approved training program includes remedial education. Participation in ATAA allows older workers, for whom retraining may not be appropriate, to accept reemployment at a lower wage and receive a wage subsidy instead of benefits under the regular TAA program. The ATAA allows for payments of 50 percent of the wage difference between old employment and new employment, not to exceed $10,000 for up to two years. The individual must obtain employment within 26 weeks of layoff, earn not more than $50,000 a year in wages in reemployment, and must not return to employment from which the worker was separated. Base formula funding grants for training services are provided to States at the beginning of the year; additional funds may be requested by States based on additional needs above the base funding provided.

Post Assistance Requirements


Quarterly financial reports on grants for administration of TAA/TRA program are required.


Subject to audits by the U.S. Department of Labor or other authorized Government agencies. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations, nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


Not applicable.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(TAA Training Grants) FY 07 $260,000,000; FY 08 est $260,000,000; FY 09 est $260,000,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Weekly allowance payments are the same as the amount of weekly State unemployment compensation.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Regulations at 29 CFR 90, Certification of Eligibility to Apply for Worker Adjustment Assistance, and 20 CFR 617, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Regional offices of the Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor listed in Appendix IV, and local offices of affiliated State Employment Security Agencies.

Headquarters Office

Ralph DiBattista, Director, Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance, Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room C-5311, Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 693- 3098.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not applicable.

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