Panel Paper: Who Accessed TAA and What Services Did They Receive?

Friday, November 8, 2013 : 10:25 AM
3015 Madison (Washington Marriott)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Ronald D'Amico, Social Policy Research Associates
To be eligible for the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA), eligible entities file a petition with the U.S. Department of Labor, making the claim that the workers who the petition is intended to cover suffered full or partial dislocation as a consequence of foreign competition. If the petition is certified (that is, the claim is deemed valid), covered workers are entitled to occupational skills training that can last for more than two years; income support payments, called Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA), also for more than two years; a wage supplement, called Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA), for which only older workers are eligible; case management and job placement assistance; a tax credit for health care coverage, called the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC); and various types of additional allowances, including job search allowances and relocation allowances.

Using survey and administrative data for a nationally representative sample of dislocated workers who were eligible for TAA, this paper estimates the take-up rate for TAA services, examines the types of services that participants accessed, and calculates the onset of and duration of services.  Results show that about 50 percent of those eligible for TAA became TAA participants.  However, the TAA participation rate differed markedly the 26 states that contributed data—in some states, no more than 30 percent of eligibles participated, while in other states more than 80 percent did.  

Among TAA participants, 93 percent received income support (TRA) and about one half received TAA-funded training.  Receipt of ATAA, HCTC, and other allowances were much less common.  Once eligible for TAA, workers who became participants tended to access services quickly, with about half doing so within the first six weeks.  Their duration of participation—defined as time elapsed between the date of first service and date of last service—was quite variable: about one-third participated for up to one year, another third participated for between one and two years, and another third participated for more than two years.  The average duration of participation was considerably longer for trainees than it was for those accessing other services, with trainees receiving an average of 89 weeks of service, including time in training (about 54 weeks, on average) and time before or after training while they were receiving other services (e.g., pre-training assistance in selecting a training program and post-training placement assistance). Because of their long duration in training, trainees in this sample were likely to have completed their training and sought re-entry into a national labor market that had significantly deteriorated.  As such, their participation in TAA training may be slow to realize returns.