The Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance (OTAA), housed within the US Department of Labor (US DOL), determines eligibility for the TAA program OTAA certifies groups of workers as affected by foreign trade and eligible for TAA based on petitions filed for investigation The steps in the eligibility process are:
- A business closes, threatens a layoff, or lays off workers. Workers lose work hours or jobs due to foreign trade or are informed by their employer that this may soon happen.
- State employees, groups of at least three workers, union representatives, company representatives file a petition, or a CareerForce partner files a petition with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance (OTAA).
- OTAA investigates the petition, gathering information on how the specific group of workers lost their jobs or lost their work hours
- OTAA determines if the workers are eligible for TAA, and notifies the petitioners, the workers' employer and the state agency of the determination. If the workers are eligible (in other words, the petition is “certified”) TAA asks the company for a list of the affected workers
- Minnesota TAA staff send notifications out to the group of affected workers via certified mail. These notifications inform the workers of their eligibility for TAA and provide instructions on how to apply for benefits