The Employee Emergency Assistance Fund (EEAF) launched June 15 to provide grants for benefits-eligible Stanford employees who are experiencing a short-term financial emergency or hardship.
If you have an unexpected financial difficulty that you aren’t able to solve through personal resources, you may be eligible for EEAF grants. The grants reimburse expenses due to federally declared disasters (up to $1,000) or other qualified “personal hardship” events (up to $5,000). These grants are considered non-taxable income; they’re not loans and you don’t have to repay them.
The new program is administered by America’s Charities, an established nonprofit 501(c)3 public charity that reviews application materials and distributes grants on Stanford’s behalf so that your personal and financial resources are kept private and secure.
The EEAF was originally approved as part of the Affordability Task Force, announced in January. While the teams from University Human Resources (UHR) and America’s Charities were implementing the program, the COVID-19 pandemic created an immediate need to help employees recover. UHR quickly established the COVID-19 Qualified Disaster Relief Fund, which was administered internally and governed by IRS rules for providing aid during the pandemic.
The new program includes Qualified Disaster grants that replace the previous program by providing aid for any federally declared disaster, which includes COVID-19. The EEAF goes one step further in trying to help you by providing broadly defined Personal Hardship grants to account for a range of personal, short-term financial emergencies you may experience, and the grant amounts are substantially more than the IRS allows for federal disasters.
The intent of the EEAF is to help benefits-eligible employees deal with unexpected financial stress that is compounded in an area with an extreme high cost of living, said Elizabeth Zacharias, Vice President for Human Resources.
“We know our employees occasionally deal with a spectrum of unexpected and expensive problems,” she said. “We wanted the aid amounts to reflect what is needed, and we didn’t want the aid itself to be another source of stress, like an interest-bearing loan or a gift that becomes taxable income.”
In many cases, insurance is going to help you with these expenses, but if an unexpected bill makes it difficult for you to cover basic needs such as food, clothing or shelter, and insurance is not the solution, the EEAF may be.
In America’s Charities, Stanford has found a partner with experience in designing workplace charitable programs, although this program design is fairly uncommon. In this case, the university provided the support so that America’s Charities can award the non-taxable grants.
An overview of the EEAF Program and a detailed Program Criteria page are both on Cardinal at Work. Those interested in applying should carefully read the criteria and collect supporting documentation before logging into the America’s Charities portal for the EEAF.
America’s Charities is allowed to accept donations to help the university’s funding go further during these unique and stressful times. Those who are interested can contribute via check or credit card through the America’s Charities website. Learn more here.