HomeCareersDislocated Worker (Displaced Worker)

Dislocated Worker (Displaced Worker)

Last updated 29th Nov 2022


The term dislocated worker refers to an individual age 18 or older that lost their job because of a plant closure, substantial layoff, foreign competition, or the lack of demand for their skills. Dislocated workers are eligible to receive benefits under a number of federal and state programs.


Also known as displaced workers, a dislocated worker is eligible to receive a number of benefits under the Trade Act as well as the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, which was the foundation for the Adults and Dislocated Workers Program. Generally, an individual will be eligible for these programs if any one of the below applies:

  • They were laid off or terminated, or received notice of lay off or termination, and they are not likely to return to their previous industry of occupation.
  • They were laid off or terminated, or received notice of lay off or termination, as a result of permanent closure of, or substantial layoff at, a plant or facility.
  • They were self-employed and are now unemployed due to a natural disaster.
  • They were self-employed and are now unemployed due to general economic conditions in their community.
  • They are a displaced homemaker.

Individuals that believe they may be eligible for benefits under a displaced worker program need to check with their State Department of Labor. The Adult and Dislocated Worker Program is designed to help assist eligible individuals to find meaningful employment. The types of services offered through these programs include:

  • Outreach, job search, and job placement assistance;
  • Career assessment, development and counseling;
  • Creation of career and employment plans;
  • Occupational training, as well as help developing basic skills from qualified professionals;
  • Transportation, relocation, child and dependent care services.

In addition to the above, Rapid Response services are available to locations experiencing mass layoffs. While many of these programs are backed by federal funding, states are responsible for program management, including enrollment, service delivery, and certification of trainers. In addition to Rapid Response, services are available through the American Job Center, a local Dislocated Worker Unit, or by calling the WorkSource Center.

Related Terms

discouraged worker, employment gaps, degree inflation, dismissal compensation

Moneyzine Editor

Moneyzine Editor