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Trade Act Frequently Asked Questions
What is Trade Act/NAFTA?
The Trade Act was signed into law in 1974. Trade Act provided Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) to individuals who are affected as a result of competition from increased imports from outside the United States.
 
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law in 1993. This program provided NAFTA Transitional Adjustment Assistance (NTAA) to those that were affected by competition from increased imports or a shift in production to Canada or Mexico. NAFTA was consolidated with TAA in 2002 (see below) and no longer exists as a separate program (except for workers previously certified for NAFTA).
 
TAA and NTAA were consolidated when the Trade Adjustment Assistance Reform Act of 2002 was signed into law on August 6, 2002. The new law provides benefits and services to workers affected by increased imports or shifts in production outside the United States. It added some benefits that were not previously available but also changed many of the deadlines and rules for eligibility.
 
There are three different TAA programs available.
  • TAA for trade-affected workers under the US Department of Labor.
  • TAA for farmers and fishers under the US Department of Agriculture
  • TAA for US manufacturers under the US Department of Commerce

TAA under the US Department of Labor:

This program helps American workers who are adversely affected by import competition and have lost their jobs. The TAA program provides assistance to eligible trade-affected workers in the form of reemployment services, training, job search, relocation, extra unemployment benefits in the form of Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA), a Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) and/or Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) for older workers. TAA is administered by the US Department of Labor and through the workforce agency in each state. In Oregon, it is provided by the State of Oregon Employment Department. More information about TAA can be found at www.doleta.gov/tradeact. To apply for benefits and services, contact a TAA representative in Oregon. See our list of TAA representatives .
 
TAA under the US Department of Agriculture:
 
The TAA program for Farmers (and Fishers) administered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), expired on December 31, 2007.

TAA under the Department of Commerce:
 
This program is for US manufacturers to proactively respond to import competition. This program partners with a manufacturer by offering 50/50 cost sharing of projects aimed at improving the firm´s competitiveness. The funds can be used towards the cost of consultants, engineers or other outside professional service providers engaged on behalf of the firm to implement improvement projects In areas such as manufacturing. This program is not provided by the State of Oregon Employment Department. For more information on the US Department of Commerce´s TAA Program, go to: http://www.taacenters.org.

Where do I start?
The Trade Act´s Trade Adjustment Assistance program has different levels of eligibility. First you need to know where you are in the process.
 
Here´s where the process starts:
 
  • First, a petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) must be filed with the Department of Labor (DOL) in Washington, DC.
  •  If and when this petition has been certified (approved) by DOL, the workers that were laid off can then apply for individual eligibility for TAA benefits and services.

If you are not sure that a petition has been filed in your behalf, you can check it out by looking at the list of certified companies/groups of trade-affected workers.

 If you worked in Oregon, look at our list of Oregon´s certified companies.

If your company is

not on that list, a petition can be filed if it has not been more than a year* since you have been laid off. Go to the petition information screen for help.
 
on the list and you were NOT laid off between the Impact Date and the Expiration Date, and it has not been more that a year since you have been laid off*, then you might consider filing a petition. Go to the petition information screen for help.
 
on the list and you WERE laid off sometime between the Impact Date and the Expiration Date, you can apply for your eligibility for the TAA program in general. (Each benefit and service has unique approval criteria and deadlines. See explanations of each to see if you could qualify.) See our information and forms to apply for your individual eligibility.
 
*If the lay off occurred more than a year before a petition is filed, it will be rejected by DOL.
 
Keep in mind that only workers that were laid off for at least 7 days, or have been totally separated on or after the Impact Date and on or before the Expiration date can be eligible for the TAA program.
 

How do I petition?
The Petition Process for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA)

The petition is a form needed to apply for TAA reemployment services and benefits and ATAA. Three or more workers or a representative of the group (see list below) must complete and sign the form which is sent to the US Department of Labor´s Division of Trade Adjustment of Assistance (DTAA) as well as the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development (DCCWD) in Oregon. Only after the petition is certified (approved) can the affected worker apply for individual services and benefits.

Keep in mind, the TAA program helps workers who have lost their jobs (laid off) as a result of increased imports or shifts in production out of the United States. If your company was not involved in the production of a product or article then the petition will be probably be denied. For example, your group of workers would not qualify if you worked for a call center, which provides a service but not a product.
 
Steps to file a petition:
 
You will need a petition  which you can get from this website or from your TAA representative.
A petition may be completed and filed by
 
  • A group of three or more workers
  • A company official such as the company President or Human Resources Manager
  • TAA representative closest to you
  • One Stop operators or partners (many TAA representatives are in these offices)
  • A union official or other duly appointed representative of the workers

See the instructions on how to complete the form and definitions of terms on the back of the petition.

Let your TAA representative know if you would like some help in completing the form over the phone or make an appointment to meet with one of them.
 
Once the petition   is completed and signed, the petition should be sent (filed) to both the DOL DTAA and DCCWD. We suggest that you fax the petition to both places on the same day since mail to Washington DC may be held up for security reasons. The fax numbers are on the back of the petition. You do not need to mail the petitions if they are faxed. You can keep the original in your files.
 
What happens after the petition is filed?
 
Once the petition is received by DOL in Washington, DC, the DTAA investigators look at the facts of the layoff and make the determination to approve (certify) or deny the petition. The investigation usually takes up to 40 days or longer depending on several factors including the cooperation of the affected employer and customers of the company. See the fact sheet on the TAA Application Process at the DOL Employment & Training (DOLETA) Web site (http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/fact.cfm) for more details about the investigation.
 
When the petition is received by DCCWD, it goes to the Rapid Response team so that additional dislocated worker services may be offered, even before a lay-off or closure. See the DOLETA Web site for information on Rapid Response and dislocated workers. TAA affected workers are also considered dislocated workers and additional benefits and services may be available for you at a One Stop Center. Information about One Stop Centers are available on line at America´s Service Locator Center website. Just scroll down and look on the right for the word FIND, select the One-Stop Center option, and enter your zip code. That will take you to a list of local One-Stop Centers with contact information. You can also call your local TAA representative for information about One-Stop Centers and how to contact one. Many of the TAA representatives are conveniently located in One-Stop Centers.
 
If the petition is denied, the DTAA will send a "Negative Determination Regarding Eligibility to Apply for Worker Adjustment Assistance" to the petitioners and the company official. If the petitioners/workers disagree with the decision, the denial can be appealed. See the DOL Employment & Training (DOLETA) Web site http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/appeal_rights.cfm for more details.
 
If the petition is approved, the determination is posted on the DOLETA website. Usually, affected workers who were laid off during the three-year period beginning one year before the petition was filed and ending two years after the certification (approval) of the petition are covered and may apply for individual eligibility for TAA program benefits and services. The affected workers will be notified by mail after a list of names and addresses are forwarded by the employer to the TAA unit in Salem. In most cases, a worker orientation meeting will be held locally to explain the TAA program benefits and services. Affected workers can ask questions and receive the forms needed to apply for their individual eligibility at these meetings. See the PowerPoint presentation of TAA for more details. If a worker cannot make it to the meeting, an appointment can be made with the local TAA representative for program information and help with applying for benefits.

How does an individual apply?
First, you need to know if you are covered by a certification (approval) of a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Petition (group application). If you are not sure, please select a company name from the Certified Companies for Trade Act/NAFTA. *Note: Only companies in Oregon that have been certified (approved) are on this list.
 
Second, if your company is listed, then check to see if you were laid off on or after the impact date and on or before the expiration date. Some companies were certified (approved) several times over the years so look at all the certifications for a company which may cover different date ranges.
 
If you worked for a company in Oregon and it did not show on the list, the petition may have been denied by the Department of Labor (DOL). You can look at Department of Labor´s Web site for the list of determinations to know for sure. If you have questions about the denial or want to appeal the DOL decision, contact the Department of Labor at 202-693-3560.
 
If you worked in a different state, you can look at the Department of Labor´s website for the list of determinations for the petitions filed in other states. If the company that you worked for in another state shows up on the list and you were laid off between the impact date and the expiration date, contact your local TAA Representative for help in accessing TAA benefits and services.
 
If your company name is not on the Oregon list and is not on the DOL list of determinations, then you may want to file a petition for TAA. See The Petition Process for TAA or call your local TAA representative for help. Remember, the TAA program helps workers who have lost their jobs (laid off) as a result of increased imports or shifts in production out of the United States. If your company was not involved in the production of a product or article then the petition will be probably be denied. For example, your group of workers would not qualify if you worked in a call center, which provides a service but not a product.
 
If your company name is on the list and you were not laid off between the impact date and the expiration date, then you will probably not be eligible for the TAA program. Even if you are not eligible for the TAA program, you may qualify for services as a dislocated worker. For more information about these services, you should check out the US Department of Labor Web site for dislocated workers or you can contact a One-Stop Center which is listed on America´s Service Locator Center Web site. Just scroll down and look on the right for the word FIND, select the One-Stop Center option, and enter your zip code. Please contact your local TAA representative if you need help.
 
If your company name is on the list and you were laid off between the impact date and the expiration date, you can apply for TAA program benefits and services by completing the forms listed below. You can also call your local TAA representative for help with getting and completing the forms. Or, if you think you might have applied in the past but you are not sure, please contact a TAA representative .
 
How to apply for TAA as an individual
 
In Oregon, one form is needed to get things started. Use the following link to select and print the form.

For help in completing this form, answering any questions you may have, and making arrangements to submit the form, call your local TAA representative. Once the form are completed and received by your TAA representative, you will receive a determination of entitlement. (This usually takes less than two weeks.) If you are determined eligible, you can then apply for TAA program benefits and services. Contact your TAA representative to request these benefits and services. If you are denied, you may appeal the decision by letting your TAA representative know that you would like to request a hearing.

Other FAQs
1. I am eligible, what do I do now?

If you have applied for eligibility as an individual and have received your Determination of Eligibility, even if it was years ago, and you want to apply for some of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program services and benefits, all you need to do is contact your local TAA Representative for help. 
 
2. I am not sure if I am eligible. How do I find out if I am? 
First, you need to find out if you are included in a certification (approval of a petition), see the list of Certifications. Then, depending on whether the company you worked for is on the list and whether you worked for that company between the Impact Date and Expiration Date, you will want to either start with filing a petition or apply for eligibility as an individual. If you are not sure where to start, contact your local TAA Representative . 
 
3. I was on a medical leave when the company had its layoff. Can I still qualify?

 
If you were given notice that your employer has laid you off or if the company closed its doors completely, you would have a qualifying layoff. If the company has you on their records as still employed, you will not be eligible at this time. Contact your company if you have questions about whether or not you are still employer-attached. If they have laid you off, you will want to apply for eligibility as an individual. If you are not sure where to start, contact the UI Training Programs Unit at (503) 378-8768 or (800) 436-6191 for assistance.

4. I quit or was fired from the employer. Can I still qualify?

 
You are only qualified if you have a seven-day layoff between the Impact Date and Expiration Date of the certification. To determine what those dates are see the list of Certifications. If your last layoff was a quit or a discharge, but you had a seven-day layoff within those dates, contact the UI Training Programs Unit at (503) 378-8768 or (800) 436-6191 for assistance.
 
5. I was serving in the National Guard when the layoffs occurred. Can I still qualify?

 
In most instances, you will still qualify. To be qualified for Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) which is like extra unemployment benefits, you must have worked at least 26 weeks in the year before your layoff; however, the law allows weeks in active duty in the National Guard to substitute for weeks of employment. If you received notice that you were being laid off you will want to apply for eligibility as an individual. You should notify the UI Training Programs Unit at (503) 378-8768 or (800) 436-6191, to let them know how many weeks and when you served in the National Guard. 
 
6. My specific job was not production related (clerical/janitorial/sales), but the company was certified (approved) for Trade Act. Can I still qualify?

 
Unless a certification states that only certain workers of the firm as eligible, all workers laid off between the Impact date and the Expiration date of the certification are eligible. You can find those dates for the company you were laid off from on the list of Certifications. You may also want to talk to your local TAA Representative if you have questions. 
 
7. I think I might qualify under a certification from years ago but never filled out any forms to apply. Is it too late now?

 
No, it is not too late to apply, although you may have missed deadlines for some of the services or benefits. Contact your local TAA Representative if you´re not sure if you applied. Otherwise, go to eligibility as an individual to apply. 
 
8. Is there any deadline to apply for TAA benefits?

 
There are deadlines on some of the TAA services or benefits; however, on the training benefit, there are no deadlines, as long as the program is still in existence and federal funds are available. If you have questions, contact your local TAA Representative . 
 
9. If I don´t want to go back to school, can my spouse use my training benefits?

 
No. The TAA services or benefits are only available for the trade-affected worker who was laid off from a company certified for Trade Act. 
 
10. I moved to Oregon recently but worked for a company in another state that was certified (approved) for TAA. I never applied for anything. Can I get TAA services and benefits here in Oregon?

 
It is possible. First, contact the UI Training Programs Unit at (503) 378-8768 or (800) 436-6191 so that your eligibility from the other state can be verified. Once that is in place, you can find out what services and benefits are available for you here in Oregon.