The University of Oregon is offering emergency financial assistance through the UO Employee COVID-19 Relief Fund. The purpose of this fund is to help employees in our university community with unforeseen expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Employee COVID-19 Relief Fund provides tax-free assistance under IRS Code Section 139. The program has been created to respond to specific needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic and is not available for general financial assistance.
Employees submit an application to request financial assistance with unexpected and unforeseeable expenses incurred as a result of COVID-19.
Important Note: Program provisions are subject to change from time to time, and the existence of the program is no guarantee of the availability of funds or the award of grants.
General Eligibility Requirements
- Classified employees
- Officers of administration
- UO Police Department employees
- Instructional or Research faculty
- Temporary employees*
- 9-month appointments
- 12 month appointments
- Employed at the time of payout
Additional Eligibility Information
- Employees who are on the UO Extended Benefits Program are eligible for the relief fund.
- Students and student employees should not apply for this fund, as they are eligible for financial assistance through the CARES Act Fund.
- Graduate employees should not apply for this fund, as they are eligible for the Graduate Student Assistance Fund.
- * Temporary non-regular employees who have a regular, on-going schedule are eligible for the funds. Those who work at special events that have been canceled, and therefore have not been on payroll for at least 30 days, are not eligible.
For example, a temporary non-regular employee who is scheduled to work 15 hours each week is eligible to apply for the funds. A temporary non-regular employee who is scheduled to work only the Spring football game is not eligible.
New hires are eligible immediately upon hire.
Qualifying Expenses Due to Financial Hardships
The relief fund is intended to assist employees who have experienced reasonable and necessary personal, family, and living expenses as a result of COVID-19 that are not covered by insurance. The expenses must be attributable to financial hardship that was unforeseen and beyond the employee’s control.
There are three categories of qualified expenses:
- New or increased eldercare expenses or childcare expenses necessitated by school or childcare closures due to COVID-19.
- Medical and health expenses related to COVID-19 that are not covered by insurance.
This includes expenses resulting from the employee’s own serious illness or accident or that of an immediate family member that were incurred as a result of COVID-19 and are not covered by insurance.
- Household expenses that the employee can no longer afford because they have experienced a sudden income reduction related to their UO position.
Only employees who have experienced a sudden income reduction related to their work at UO, such as, employees on the Extended Benefits Program or those who have received mandatory FTE reductions are eligible for this category.
- Employees who are on the UO Extended Benefits Program or employees who were placed on the UO Work Share program mandatorily by their unit due to budgetary issues related to COVID-19 who have not yet received unemployment payments qualify under this criteria.
Employees who have not experienced a sudden income reduction related to the employee’s UO position and employees who are currently receiving unemployment payments from the Employment Department do not qualify for this category.
- Employees who voluntarily participated in the UO Work Share program do not qualify under this criteria regardless of their unemployment payment status.
Financial hardships that do not qualify for fund assistance include:
- Longstanding financial problems that existed prior to COVID-19 and are unrelated to a specific event.
- Payments to supplement lost income.
- Reimbursement of the cost of non-essential, luxury, or decorative items.
- Expenses that are not “reasonable and necessary” personal, living, or family expenses incurred as a result of COVID-19.
- Indirect financial impacts on the employee resulting from expenses incurred or loss of income by an employee's family member.
Awards may be requested in $100 increments up to a $500 maximum per employee.
- An employee may submit more than one application, so long as they have not reached the $500 maximum allowed.
- In households with more than one UO employee, each employee may submit an application and be awarded up to the $500 maximum so long as the requests are not for the same expense.
- All awards are subject to the availability of funds and extent of need. Because the fund is supported by donations, availability of funds at a given time is not guaranteed.
Applications are submitted through an online process. If an employee requires assistance with the online application, they may contact Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications will be reviewed at least once per week by an HR committee. Decisions made by the review committee are final and cannot be appealed.
All applicants will be notified of the status of their request within one week of submitting their application.
All awards are subject to the availability of funds. Because the fund is supported by donations, availability of funds at a given time is not guaranteed.
Employees with qualifying applications will receive notification of an award via email, and awards will be issued tax-free via accounts payable.
Award payments will be issued within one week of application review. Payments will be issued in one of the following ways:
- Direct deposit, if an employee has elected to receive employee reimbursements electronically.
Refer to the direct deposit guidance on the Business Affairs website for instructions. Login to your DuckWeb account to review your direct deposit allocation information in the employee’s pay information section. If you want to receive your award letter by direct deposit, make sure you have selected the box for A/P payments.
- If direct deposit is not currently active for payments processed through Accounts Payable, a check will be sent by U.S. mail to the employee’s active mailing address in Banner. Employees can check their current address in the personal information section of DuckWeb and make changes, if needed.
When funds are limited, awards for qualifying applications will be allocated according to the following guidelines:
- Awards will first be granted to employees who have been placed on the UO Extended Benefits Program or who have been given an involuntary FTE reduction.
- After that, it will be based on the employee’s income level, starting with employees with the lowest income, as listed in Banner.
- Any awards that cannot be fulfilled due to lack of funds will carry over to the next review date when funds become available.
Please visit the Relief Fund FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions.
Contact Human Resources at email@example.com with questions about the program.