What is the Emergency Relief Program?
The Emergency Relief Program was created to provide emergency financial assistance to members in need due to catastrophic illness or disaster. Every year, nearly $25,000 is given out to members who are out of sick leave, or on sick leave and cannot pay their insurance premium. In addition, help is available for damage to property caused by fire or flood if the member has no homeowners or property insurance.
For years, PSE delegates had passed the hat at convention when they heard about a delegate with an emergency. Then in 1994, Executive Assistant Barbara Holst read about a program to help members that the California School Employees Association had. She worked with the Board of Directors to create a similar program within PSE.
Originally, the fund was paid out of the PSE annual operating budget. Today, the fund is completely self-sufficient. The Emergency Relief Committee coordinates efforts to raise the money. The primary fundraising takes place at convention with a silent auction and chapter donations.
What is the criteria for assistance and how to I apply?
In order to qualify for funds from the Emergency Relief Fund, these criteria must be met:
1. The recipient must be an active PSE member in good standing. Agency fee payers are not eligible.
2. The recipient may receive assistance only for herself/himself for her/his dependent family member.
3. Funds are only available for these circumstances:
- Disaster relief, such as flood, fire or earthquake. To receive funds for property damage, the damage must be such that living conditions are disrupted. Insurance deductibles do not apply.
- Catastrophic illness or a health condition which bars the individual from working for a period of time that is not covered by sick or vacation leave.
- The member is at risk of losing medical coverage because the insurance premium is not paid.
- Assistance may be granted for significant out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- Funeral expenses. However, does not cover travel, gas or lodging to attend a funeral.
- Extenuating circumstances will be considered on an individual basis.
4. The maximum annual amount an applicant may receive is $500.
5. An applicant may only receive assistance once in a 12-month period.
6. Individuals with L & I claims are not eligible.
If the above criteria are met, the member may apply for funds in the follow manner:
- Complete the Emergency Relief Application Form. Give the form to a member of your chapter executive board (president, vice president, secretary or treasurer) for verification of circumstances and processing.
- The chapter officer shall sign the form and email the Application to the address on the Application.
The Application is reviewed and approved by the Emergency Relief Committee chair. The amount of assistance may be adjusted by the committee chair bases on available funds.
Once approved, a check is cut and sent to the individual and notification is sent to the chapter president.
For additional information or to check on the status of your request, contact the committee liaison Kathy Stewart at 253-876-7418 or toll-free at 866-820-5652 Ext. 7418.