Information on the 1974 Trade Act Worker Adjustment Assistance Program Certification Process

HRD-82-121: Published: Sep 10, 1982. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Labor's recent administration of the petition certification process under the worker adjustment assistance program, which was designed to provide benefits to workers whose jobs have been adversely affected by import competition. To apply for benefits, the workers file a petition for adjustment assistance with Labor, which can approve weekly cash allowances, unemployment benefits, employment services, and job search and relocation allowances.

GAO found that, in 1980, Labor denied about 60 percent of the petitions it investigated and that the denial rate rose to about 85 percent in 1981. While Labor did not formally implement a policy to increase petition denials, GAO believes that some of its actions created an atmosphere that resulted in a more conservative application of the provisions in the review process. GAO determined that several shortcomings in the petition certification process and other factors affected the increase in denials, but a lack of quantifiable information prevented a precise measurement of the degree to which these shortcomings or other factors, including the administration's efforts to reduce Government spending, also contributed to Labor's actions.

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