This section provides solutions to questions frequently asked by petitioners when completing Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petitions. There is a section of general questions followed by questions corresponding to the four sections of the petition form.

 

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Q: What is Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers (TAA Program)?

The TAA Program provides benefits and support to workers who become unemployed or are threatened with job loss due to the impact of international trade. The Trade Act of 1974, as amended (Trade Act), established the TAA Program.

Q: What are some of the benefits available to those who qualify to apply for TAA?

TAA offers a variety of benefits and services to eligible workers including job training, income support, job search and relocation allowances, and a wage supplement to certain reemployed trade-affected workers 50 years of age and older. Detailed information is available at the TAA Benefits webpage here.

Q: How do I file a complete TAA petition?

A TAA petition may be completed online, printed in English or Spanish from the website or obtained at your local American Job Center. To find the American Job Center nearest you, visit www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/local-help.aspx.

1) Name and contact information for each petitioner;
2) Name of the firm;
3) The address of the location(s) where the group of workers who have been totally or partially separated or threatened with separation report to work (for a teleworker, the address of the location to which they report);
4) The name and contact information of an official within the firm or an individual authorized to provide information regarding the operation of the group of workers’ firm;
5) The article produced or service supplied by the firm;
6) The actual or approximate date on which total or partial separations are threatened to occur or did occur;
7) The actual or estimated total number of workers who have been or may be separated;
8) A reason why the petitioner believes that worker separations have occurred or may occur at the firm due to foreign trade impacts, or a reason why a request to amend an existing and active certification should be granted; and
9) Every petition must be signed and dated by at least two members of the petitioning group of workers, or by an official of a certified or recognized union or other duly authorized representative of the group of workers, or by an official of the employer of the group of workers, or by a representative of an American Job Center operator or American Job Center partners including State workforce officials, employment security agency officials, or dislocated worker unit and rapid response team members.

Signing of a petition must constitute acknowledgement that the information provided on the petition form will be used for the purposes of determining worker group eligibility and providing notice to petitioners, workers, and the general public that the petition has been filed, and whether the worker group is eligible to apply for TAA Program benefits and services. Knowingly falsifying any information on the petition form is a Federal offense (18 U.S.C. 1001) and a violation of the Act (19 U.S.C. 2316). For the petition to be valid, the petitioner(s) listed on the form must sign and date the form, attesting to the fact that they are authorized to file a petition.

A complete petition will enable the Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance (OTAA) to begin the investigation without additional delay. Please be sure that the information provided on the petition is printed clearly and is easy to read.

Q: When should a TAA petition be filed?

Petitions for TAA should be filed at any time after worker separations or a threat of separations begins, but not later than one year after the earliest date on which workers lost their jobs with the employer.

Q: Why must the petition be filed within one year of worker separations?

The Trade Act provides that a certification for TAA does not apply to any worker who was separated from the firm more than one year before the date the petition was filed. This means that workers laid off more than one year before the petition is filed cannot be eligible for benefits.

Q: How will I know that the U.S. Department of Labor (Department) received my petition?

After receiving a complete petition, the OTAA assigns the petition a five digit case number, “TA-W-XX,XXX”. A notice of receipt of the petition will be published in the Federal Register. The status of the petition is available on the TAA website.

Q: What happens after I file my TAA petition?

After receiving a complete and valid petition, OTAA will initiate an investigation to determine whether the group of workers covered by the petition meets the group eligibility requirements of the Trade Act. This investigation may include contacting the workers’ firm to collect data, contacting customers of the workers’ firm, the petitioners, unions, State workforce agencies, or other sources of relevant information as needed. The steps required to complete an investigation vary according to the circumstances specific to the worker’s firm.

If the workers are found to meet the group eligibility criteria set by the Trade Act, OTAA will issue a certification of group eligibility. OTAA will then notify the petitioners, the workers’ firm, and the State workforce agency of the determination in writing. The determination will also be posted on the TAA website and published in the Federal Register.

Q: How will I know whether my TAA petition is certified?

After making a determination on group eligibility, OTAA will notify the petitioners, the workers' firm, and the State workforce agency of the determination. In addition, the determination will be posted on the TAA website and published in the Federal Register. If a group of workers is certified eligible to apply for TAA, the State workforce agency will then notify individual workers of the certification and provide information about benefits.

Q: What is the process to determine group and individual eligibility?

TAA Petitions have two distinct phases:

1. Once a complete petition is filed, OTAA initiates an investigation to determine whether a group of workers meet the eligibility requirements. If the worker group meets the necessary eligibility criteria, a group eligibility certification will be issued. This certifies that the workers of the group are eligible to apply for TAA benefits and services. More information about the group eligibility requirements may be found on the TAA website at www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/tradeact/petitioners/petition-process.

2. After this group eligibility certification is issued, each worker in the group must apply individually for benefits and services through their local American Job Center. Case managers at the local American Job Center will issue a determination of the workers’ individual eligibility for TAA benefits. Information on individual services and benefits is available on the TAA website at www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/tradeact/benefits. TAA participants may also contact their closest American Job Center for more information and for assistance.

To locate an American Job Center, please visit www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/local-help.aspx.

Q: What is an ITC-related petition, and how does it differ from a TAA regular petition?

There is a dedicated FAQ to address this issue, found at www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/ETA/tradeact/pdfs/ITC_Petitions_FAQ.pdf.

Q: Is there anything I can do to get a faster response from the Department?

The Department, through OTAA, is committed to ensuring that benefits and services are provided to all eligible workers in a timely manner. The TAA petitions are investigated as quickly as possible, in the order in which they were received.

A complete petition and valid will enable OTAA to begin the investigation without additional delay. Please be sure that the information provided on the petition form is printed clearly. Petitioners and all interested parties are encouraged to provide all additional information they have describing the worker group, circumstances surrounding separations, and trade effect which led to separations or threatens to lead to separations.

Q: What do I do if my company is closed?

You may file a petition for TAA following the closure of your company. However, please be aware that the difficulty encountered by OTAA in obtaining data on company sales, production, and trade effect may delay the issuance of a determination. In all instances, but especially when filing after the closure of a company, petitioners should include complete information about company contacts.

Q: I am an employer filing a TAA petition on behalf of my employees. Other than the petition, what additional information will I be required to provide?

As with all other petitioners, employers must submit a complete and valid petition form. As with any petitioner, the more information that is included in the petition form, the easier it will make OTAA’s investigation. After a petition is filed, OTAA will request from the firm information relevant to making a determination of group eligibility. This can include data on employment, production, sales, and customers. The information request is made using one or more investigative forms. The forms can be viewed on the TAA website.

Following certification, company officials will also be requested to provide the State workforce agency with information needed to determine individual eligibility, including individual workers’ names and contact information.

Q: What information should a Representative from a State Workforce Agency or American Job Center Operator/Partner include in a petition?

As with all other petitioners, representatives of a State workforce agency or American Job Center Operator/Partners must submit a complete petition form with all of the available information regarding the worker group and their separations. Since it is often necessary to obtain additional information from former workers during an investigation (as well as from the employer), it is helpful for the State or American Job Center representative to provide contact information for the worker(s) on whose behalf the petition is being filed as well as for the employer.

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PETITION FORM

Q: Who may file a TAA petition?

A petition may be filed by any of the following: a group of two or more workers from the same firm, a certified or recognized union or other duly authorized representative of the group of workers; the employer(s) of the group of workers; or an American Job Center operator or American Job Center partners including State workforce officials, employment security agencies, or dislocated worker unit and rapid response team members. OTAA will initiate an investigation when a valid and complete petition is filed by any of these parties.

Q: What if there are more than two workers in my group?

For TAA petition filing purposes, a minimum of two workers are needed to constitute a group but a group may include any larger number of workers. If more than one petition is filed on behalf of workers of the same group (e.g., Accounting Department workers), OTAA will incorporate all allegations into a single investigation. All workers covered by an active investigation are encouraged to submit evidence during the investigation.

Q: What do I do if I want to file a TAA petition, but I am a worker and cannot find another worker to file with me as a worker group?

You may seek out a representative of the State workforce agency or an American Job Center Operator/Partner to file a petition on your behalf. More information on how to contact the nearest workforce office can be found at www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/local-help.aspx.

Q: What if I don’t know the exact date of separation as requested by Section 4, Item (e)?

If you are filing as a group of workers, please provide your actual date of separation or the date on which your separation is threatened to occur. For other petitioner types, please provide the most recent date on which separation occurred or is threatened to occur. If you do not know the exact date, an estimate of the month and year is sufficient.

Q: How do I describe a group of workers as requested by Section 4?

A group of workers may work for a specific department or subdivision within the company or may perform a common job function, such as produce or support the production of a specific article or supply specific services in support of the article produced.

Q: What is the difference between the information requested in Section 3 and Section 4?

Section 3 refers to the main location (or headquarters) of your company. Section 4 provides information about the specific worker group within the company and where they are located.

Q: What if there is only one location of my company?

Section 3 and Section 4 should be completed utilizing the address of the same petitioning (one) location.

Q: What if the headquarters (or main administrative offices) of my company are located in one city, but I work at another location?

Section 3 should be completed to reflect the headquarters (or main administrative offices) and Section 4 should be completed to reflect the location of where you work. If you work for a leasing or contracting company and your employer placed you in a position to work with its customer, please utilize Section 4 to provide the name and site address where you worked/are located.

Q: What if I do not know all the articles produced or services supplied by my company?

Please provide the information for the articles produced or services supplied by your worker group that you think is important to the trade effect you identify in Section 5 that is, please provide a description of the work that you performed.

Q: What if I do not know the exact number of workers that were laid off?

The exact number is not necessary for a complete petition. Please provide an estimate of that number, and indicate that the number is an estimate. Additional information on worker separations at the firm is collected by OTAA as part of its investigation.

Q: What is a trade effect?

A trade effect may include a shift in production, increased imports, or a loss of business with a TAA certified firm.

Q: What are some examples of reasons why a petitioner may believe that separations are due to foreign trade? How much detail do I need to provide?

Please provide as much information as possible. Any information you provide in this section will help OTAA to conduct its investigation.

  • Example 1: “The Accounting Department work that I formerly performed in support of car manufacturing is no longer needed as the plant is closing and production is being moved overseas.”
  • Example 2: “The customers of my company are now purchasing the widgets we produce from a company located in China. As a result, the company has lost business and laid us off.”
  • Example 3: “Our company produces automobile parts for one assembly plant. That plant was recently closed and certified eligible to apply for TAA.”

Q: I do not have access to documents that can prove a trade effect has occurred. Can I still file a petition?

Yes. Once a petition is filed, OTAA will conduct an investigation to determine whether foreign trade has contributed importantly to worker separations. This investigation may include collection of information from the company, customers of the company, and aggregate trade data as needed. Petitioners should still be as specific as possible about their reasons for believing layoffs are related to foreign trade.

Q: Do I have to submit supplemental information?

No. You are not required to submit supplemental information. However, we encourage you to submit any additional information you have about separations, production and sales, plant closings, customers and shift of productions that may assist OTAA in conducting an investigation.

Q: Who is a Company Official?

A company official is an authorized representative of the company who can provide information on the actual or threatened worker separations. In addition, this official must have knowledge or access to company information regarding sales, production, customers, and trade impacts. Company officials can be supervisors, managers, and human resources specialists. If the company is closed, company officials can be former company officials, former owners, bankruptcy trustees, or attorneys representing the company.

Q: Why do I have to provide information for two current company officials?

The information about current company officials enables OTAA to immediately begin to collect the information necessary to conduct the investigation. Omitting company official information may increase the time necessary to issue a determination.

Q: What if I do not have the contact information for two current company officials?

Please provide as much information as you have available to you, including phone and fax numbers and an email address. If the company is closed, company officials can be former company officials, former owners, bankruptcy trustees or attorneys representing the company.

Q: What is the date of petition?

The date of petition is the date on the petition form next to the signature(s) of the petitioner(s). The petition must be received by OTAA no later than 30 calendar days from this date.

Q: Whose signature belongs here?

The petition form must be signed and dated by at least two members of the petitioning group of workers, or by an official of a certified or recognized union or other duly authorized representative of the group of workers, or by an official of the employer of the group of workers, or by a representative of an American Job Center operator or American Job Center partner, State workforce, employment security agency, or dislocated worker unit or rapid response team. When a group of two workers is filing the petition, both workers must sign the petition.

Q: What happens if I have forgotten to sign the petition?

The signature is an attestation by the petitioner(s) that, to the best of their knowledge and belief, the information provided in the petition is true, correct, and complete. Every petition filed with the Department of Labor must be signed. If signatures are missing from the petition form, the petition will be returned as incomplete with an explanation. You may resubmit the petition, with the requisite signature(s), at any time.

Q: If we are filing as a group of two workers, do both of us need to sign?

Yes. If you are filing the petition as a group of two workers, both workers named in Section 1 of the petition form must sign the petition form. If only one of two of the petitioning workers sign the petition, the petition will be returned as incomplete but you may resubmit a new petition.