When you are faced with a hardship, whether from a natural disaster, death in your family, or other personal crisis, how do you know if you are eligible for help? In this time of need, you have so many different things to worry about and your immediate needs, should not be something you have to sacrifice. Many employers have Employee Assistance programs that may help you in your time of need.
You may qualify for assistance for:
1) Qualified disaster
- results from terrorist or military actions
- results from an accident involving a common carrier
- is a Presidentially-declared disaster
- is deemed catastrophic by the Secretary of the Treasury
- Personal hardship
- Serious illness or injury
- Undue hardship not caused by employee
- Fire, flood or natural disaster
- Military deployment
- Violent crime
- Death of employee or eligible dependent
To obtain assistance from an employer sponsored assistance program, you will have to pass a “needs” assessment. Often-misunderstood, the “needs test” is a component of the legal framework for employee disaster and hardship relief funds. The needs test has its basis in the core concept of charity as being for the relief of the distressed. As the Internal Revenue Service states that “[r]elief of the poor and distressed or of the underprivileged” is an acceptable charitable purpose. For employee disaster and hardship relief funds, this requirement takes the form of the “needy or distressed test,” an assessment of whether individual charitable beneficiaries are the proper recipients of aid.
Part of the needs test is answering a few questions to determine if you are financially you distressed.
Check with your Human Resources department to see what type of employee assistance program is available to assist you in the time of need. Do not wait until you need assistance.
A note to Employers:
There are many tax, legal, and regulatory components to administering an employee-assistance program.
Author: Doug Stockham