There is some good news from Washington today for some of the nation’s workers. This afternoon, the President signed HR 2832, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011, The law revives and extends the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program first enacted in 2002 and expanded in 2009.
The TAA program, which had expired in February, provides a subsidy in the form of a Health Care Tax Credit to eligible trade workers and their families who cannot afford their healthcare premiums due to dislocation or other financial hardship. In addition to resuscitating the program, the law increases the HCTC subsidy from 65% to 72.5% and expands the universe of trade workers and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation retirees (PBGC) eligible for the program.
Those who are eligible will pay a portion of their premium to the program; the TAA adds the rest and sends payment directly to the health insurance carrier.
The bill and Health Care Tax Credit, which is extended through the end of 2013, will apply to coverage months beginning after February 12, 2011.
For more information, including the full text of the bill, see the links below.
In related regulatory news, it looks like Congress will, for the second straight year, wait until the last minute to take up the parity in pre-tax transportation issue. It has until the end of the year to extend a provision that makes the maximum monthly contribution for pre-tax transit benefits equal to that for parking. If Congress does not act by the end of the year, the transit limit will revert to $125 a month in 2012. In any event, the parking limit is scheduled to increase to $240.To learn more about the parity in monthly pre-tax transportation benefits issue, please visit, www.commuterbenefitsworkforus.com