Funding Guidelines Q & A
This document will be used as a basic guide for the direction and broad goals of the EASE Fund.
What is the purpose of the EASE Fund?
The EASE Fund is for use by City of Seattle regular employees with one major purpose: To provide employees with funds to help them get through an EMERGENCY that causes financial stress or crisis. The EASE Fund Committee will only consider emergency situations and award decisions will be made based on funding availability. The Fund is designed to provide emergency grants of money or to pay for services for qualifying employees. Loans to employees are not available at any time.
What is the definition of an emergency?
Please note that EASE will not fund requests that are results of ongoing financial difficulties that are not a result of an emergency.
For the EASE Fund, an emergency is defined as the occurrence of any event or combination of circumstances which calls for immediate action, or any pressing need following a sudden, catastrophic and unexpected event, the occurrence of which was totally unforeseen by the employee (fire, accident, death in family, etc.)
Need may also be determined by undue hardship which is defined as circumstances peculiar to the employee's situation, not deliberately caused by the employee, are of such magnitude or severity that it is unlikely that the employee has sufficient resources to reasonably expect a favorable outcome, such as a delay in receiving disability insurance, a domestic violence situation, the cessation of child support, or a prolonged family illness.
What are allowable uses of the EASE Fund?
Financial assistance may be applied to but are not limited to:
- Loss or need of shelter.
- Extraordinary medical costs that are excluded from regular insurance policies.
- Extraordinary living expenses, e.g., mortgage/rent, utilities, food and clothing needs due to a catastrophe, natural disaster, or severe hardship.
- Funeral expenses of an employee who dies while on the job; application may be completed by an immediate family member.
- Emergencies, which cause LOSS OF WORK after the employee has exhausted all normal pay methods such as vacation time, sick leave, bereavement pay, etc.
- Other severe hardship at the discretion of the EASE Fund Committee.
Who is eligible to apply for funding?
- Persons eligible for aid are permanent full-time regular employees and part-time regular employees.
- Regular employees must be employed for at least 12-months before making requests for grants/funding.
- The spouse, partner, child, and/or parents of the regular employee are the only immediate family members who are eligible for EASE assistance. Other family members are ineligible.
- Temporary and/or retired City employees are ineligible.
- At this time, EASE will not solicit funds for any specific individual. Donations made will go to the general pool of funding available for all City employees.
How do I apply for assistance?
Requesting emergency assistance from the EASE FUND is simple. Request forms are available on the web site. To apply for assistance, an employee or employee's relative must complete a request form, including an original signature, and submit to EASE. All requests are confidential. The form will be photocopied to remove the employee's name and will be provided to EASE Fund Committee for review.
What are the Financial limits?
- The minimum amount is $500.
- The maximum amount per request is $1500.
- Maximum per year and lifetime per employee is $3000.
- Decisions are dependent upon sufficient availability of funds.
How will I receive the funds?
- EASE pays funds directly to billing agents. Copies of invoices/statements should be submitted with your application. For instance, if you are asking for assistance with a rent or mortgage payment, please be sure to include a copy of your rental agreement, eviction notice, mortgage statement, or other documentation as applicable.
- Funding, by IRS requirements, is treated as taxable income.
- In the event the employee has paid the bill and is asking for reimbursement, sufficient documentation must be provided at the time of the application proving payment (invoices marked paid, etc). In this case, the employee will be the recipient of the funds. This is a requirement for EASE to maintain its 50(c)(3) non-profit status by the IRS. Again, funding received must be treated as taxable income.
How are requests reviewed?
All requests will be reviewed on the availability of funds and a case-by-case and need basis, and not on a first-come, first-served basis. A request for funds does not guarantee approval of payment or sufficient funds to meet the employees' needs. Each individual case will be unique and must be handled in its own way and will not necessarily set a precedent for future cases. The EASE Fund Committee will strive to provide proper assistance at the proper time. In the event of a dispute, EASE Fund Committee and the full Board will meet to discuss the issue and render a decision based on review of the facts. Their decision shall be final.
How often are applications reviewed?
EASE funding applications will be reviewed monthly. Please note our funding calendar on this site.
If the request is a qualifying emergency, the employee will be notified and assistance will be provided as early as possible. If a request is denied, the employee requesting assistance may be encouraged to re-apply.
A request for funds does not guarantee approval of payment or sufficient funds to meet the employees' needs.
How are Fund donations received and managed?
The EASE fund is self-supporting and receives its funds through voluntary contributions from employees (i.e., payroll deductions, direct contributions, and proceeds from fundraising) or other individuals and organizations. These contributions may qualify as tax-deductible donations. The EASE fund shall have its own account into which all funds will be deposited and from which all emergency funds distributed will be drawn. Any interest the account earns will be kept in the account to help it grow.
- Employees can contribute to the fund through payroll deduction. Payroll deductions must be a minimum of $5 per pay period. Employees should complete a payroll deduction form indicating the contribution amount and submit to EASE for processing.
- The EASE Fund will accept direct contributions at any time, for any amount and from any individual(s) and/or agency via checks, on-line donation through Employee Self Service (Charity Code 53031), or direct deposit at the Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union.
What is the Sympathy Fund?
- An employee is eligible for Sympathy fund money if they die during the course of their regular shift hours of work (to include lunch time coverage, but not travel to/from work).
- Distribution of Sympathy fund money shall be limited to a set amount of $500/employee.
- A family member may apply on behalf of the late employee for these funds, providing they provide proof of relationship
- The Sympathy Fund shall be a separate pot of money, where an active balance of $3000 is maintained if possible.