Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training

 

 

Rhode Island eligible for $3.6 million
in additional Trade Adjustment Assistance Act funding

July 3, 2009

     
 

The federal government has made an additional $3.6 million available for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) services in Rhode Island, through authorization of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The additional funds bring the total FY09 allocation fo r TAA programs in Rhode Island to $4.7 million. TAA funds allocated in FY09 are available through September 30, 2012.

TAA offers a variety of benefits and services to eligible workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade. These services include job training, income support, job search and relocation allowances and a tax credit to help pay the costs of health insurance.

The latest reauthorization of TAA expands its definition of eligibility to include workers for companies that supply services which have been adversely impacted by outsourcing, and workers for public agencies which have been adversely impacted by foreign trade. The previous definition of TAA eligibility included only private company workers who had lost their jobs or suffered a reduction in hours and/or wages as a result of increased imports or production shifts outside the US and workers whose firm is a supplier or downstream producer to a company with TAA-certified workers.

The latest reauthorization of the program also increases the amount of several benefits and the duration of several services, including:

Unemployment Insurance
Up to 130 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits for those workers enrolled in full-time training (up from 104 weeks).
Up to 156 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits for those workers enrolled in prerequisite or remedial training (up from 130 weeks).
Job Search and Relocation Allowance
100 percent of allowable job search costs, with a $1,500 cap (up from 90 percent and $1,250 cap).
100 percent of allowable relocation search costs, with a $1,500 cap (up from 90 percent and $1,250 cap).
Training Services
Training approved on a full- or part-time basis. (Previously, only full-time training was approved)
Enrollment must occur within 26 weeks of certification or layoff. (Previously, enrollment had to occur within 8 weeks of certification or 16 weeks of layoff)
Health Coverage Tax Credit
Tax credit covering 80 percent of monthly qualifying health insurance premium. (Previously, the tax credit covered 65 percent.)

The TAA reauthorization also includes changes to the former Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) program, now known as the Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA) program, which offers additional assistance to workers ages 50 and older interested in returning to work after a layoff. Like ATAA, RTAA offers eligible claimants up to 50 percent of the difference between new employment wages and previous wages. Under reauthorization, the wage cap has increased from no more than $50,000 to no more than $55,000 per year in reemployment wages, and the maximum benefit has increased from $10,000 to $12,000 over a period of up to two years.

With the exception of the Health Coverage Tax Credit, increases in benefits and services are applicable only to TAA petitions made on or after May 18, 2009. As of May 2009, all TAA recipients, regardless of when their petition was filed, became eligible for 80 percent coverage of their monthly qualifying health care premiums.

To be eligible for TAA services, a worker must have been employed by a TAA-certified company. A company may become certified several ways:
The company itself may apply to the U.S. Department of Labor for TAA certification;
Three workers of a particular company my apply;
A union may apply on behalf of its workers; or
A state may apply on behalf of affected workers.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Labor and Training has approved 20 TAA certifications nationwide since the May 18 changes went into effect. However, several Rhode Island companies have submitted TAA certification petitions since May 18. A complete list of certification requests can be found at by using the search function on the U.S. Department of Laborís TAA web site at http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/taa/taa_search_form.cfm.


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