What is the Trade
Adjustment Assistance Program?
Did or will your employer:
- Move production outside of the United States,
- Outsource jobs outside of the United States,
- Compete with foreign companies,
- Import from foreign suppliers, or
- Supply customers impacted by foreign competition?
If the answer to any of the above questions
is ‘yes’, you may be eligible for services and benefits provided
under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program.
The Trade Act of 1974 and all of its amendments
were created to provide support to workers who have been found
adversely impacted by increased imports, a shift of production,
or a service that moved to another country.
It is administered by the U.S. Department
of Labor and provides impacted workers with assistance to
obtain the skills and resources needed to compete for good
jobs in today's economy.
TAA constitutes one of the most complete
packages of dislocated worker benefits and support available.
Benefits and Services
The goal of the TAA program is to help workers
become reemployed in a suitable job as quickly as possible
by providing benefits and services tailored to their needs,
- Income Support – Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA)
- Job Search Allowances
- Relocation Allowances
- Older Worker Wage Subsidy
Benefits vary slightly for different sets of petition
numbers due to Congressional changes in the law in 2002, 2009,
2011, and 2015.
A TAA petition can be filed with the U.S. Department of Labor
- three affected workers,
- a union or appropriate labor representative,
- the employer, or
- a local SC Works Center representative.
Please visit the United
States Department of Labor (USDOL) website or review the
SC TAA Decisions
report to find out whether a petition was already filed on
your behalf or if your company is already TAA-certified.
If no pending petition or active certification
exists, a petition may be filed online
or via fax through a downloadable
form available on the USDOL website.
When a company becomes TAA certified, the
certification applies only to the worker group of a company,
not the individual workers. Workers must take additional steps
to apply for eligibility and then enroll in the program.
Please contact us at TradeInfoSC@dew.sc.gov
for assistance with petition filing or for further information.
You may also contact a local TAA
Workforce Specialist directly for an individual eligibility
determination and enrollment into the program.
** The TAA program is federally funded.
There is no direct cost to the employer or employee. Information
provided by the company to the USDOL during the examination
(also called investigation) process remains confidential.
If you are approved for training, all reasonable
and necessary costs will be covered, including but not limited
to tuition, fees, books, and tools.
If your commute is greater than 3 miles one-way,
you may be eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses.
If your training requires occasional expenses such as an overnight
stay, subsistence allowances may also be included.
Also, if you qualify for a Pell Grant, you
will not have to apply it towards the cost of your training;
instead, you may keep it to cover additional personal expenses.
Available training options are, for example,
- GED/HS Diploma,
- Remedial training for basic skills upgrade,
- English as a Second Language (ESL),
- Occupational/classroom training,
- Online training, and
- On-the-job training.
All training must be approved by a TAA Workforce
Specialist in advance and prior to incurring any costs. Our
specialists will help you make a decision regarding a training
plan and career that is suitable for you. Assistance is available
every step of the way to ensure your success!
Income Support - Trade
Readjustment Allowances (TRA)
Allowances (TRA) are weekly income support payments, usually
equivalent to the amount received by Unemployment Insurance
(UI), that may be available to TAA-eligible workers after
all UI benefits are exhausted.
There are several TRA eligibility requirements, but most importantly
you must be enrolled in approved training or
have a waiver of training within a certain number
of weeks from your company’s petition certification date or
your layoff date (whichever is later).
The number of weeks for this deadline ranges from 8 to 26
weeks, depending on your petition number. You will be informed
of your exact deadline date on the Benefit Rights and Obligations
form (BRO) during your initial enrollment into the program.
If you are TAA eligible, it is imperative
that you contact a local TAA Workforce Specialist as early
as possible and stay in touch regularly to ensure all of your
qualification requirements are met.
Job Search Allowances
If you are TAA-eligible
and cannot find employment within your local commuting area
and are pursuing job search activities further than 3 miles
away from your residence, job search allowances may be available
Job search allowances cover necessary and
reasonable travel and subsistence expenses, varying between
90% and 100% of allowable costs, up to either $1,250 or $1,500,
depending on your petition number.
Application deadlines are associated with
this benefit and you must be approved prior to commencing
the job search activity and before incurring any expenses.
If you are TAA-eligible
and you are offered suitable employment in an area to which
you wish to relocate (greater than 3 miles from your current
residence), relocation allowances may be available to you.
This benefit covers between 90% and 100%
of allowable relocation costs and provides a lump
sum stipend equal to 3 times your average weekly dislocation
wage, up to either $1,250 or $1,500, depending on your petition
As with job search allowances, relocation
allowances are also associated with application deadlines
and you must be approved prior to commencing your relocation
and before incurring any expenses.
Older Worker Wage
Alternative Trade Readjustment Assistance
Reemployment Trade Readjustment Assistance (RTAA)
For TAA-eligible workers, 50 years of age
or older, ATAA and RTAA can subsidize 50% of the difference
in wages earned at the time of separation from the TAA-certified
firm and wages earned in re-employment. The maximum amount
of benefits varies between $10,000 and $12,000 over a two
year period, depending on your petition number.
ATAA and RTAA are virtually the same program
but differ slightly based on the TAA laws that were enacted
at the time of petitioning for benefits.
There are deadlines and individual eligibility
requirements associated with this benefit, therefore, timely
application and constant communication with your TAA Workforce
Specialist is essential.
United States Department
of Labor – Trade Adjustment Assistance
South Carolina Department of
Employment and Workforce
SC Works Online
For more information on TAA services and benefits, contact
us at TradeInfoSC@dew.sc.gov.