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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.
2. The recipient may receive assistance only for themselves or their dependent family member
3. Funds are only available for:
• Disaster relief, such as a flood, fire or earthquake. Insurance deductibles are not paid by ERF funds.
• Expenses after insurance deductibles are met.
• The member is at risk of losing medical coverage because the insurance premium is not paid.
• Catastrophic illness or a health condition which bars the member from working for a period of time not covered by sick or vacation leave.
• Assistance may be granted for significant out-of-pocket medical expenses.
• Funeral expenses, i.e burial. However, travel, gas or lodging to attend a funeral are not covered.
• Extenuating circumstances will be considered on an individual basis by the chair.
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. L&I claims are not eligible.
If the above criteria are met, the member may apply for funds in the following manner:
• Complete the Emergency Relief Application Form.
• Staff will verify that the applicant is a member in good standing and submit to the committee chair, who will then call a chapter officer to verify.
If the committee chair approves the request, they will determine the amount to fund and give to the staff liaison to process.
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.