The Disaster Relief Fund may provide direct assistance to eligible individuals for any federally qualified disaster; assistance is defined within Section 139 of the IRS code and includes:
- reasonable and necessary personal, family, living, or funeral expenses incurred as a result of a qualified disaster (basic necessities, such as food, clothing and medical assistance, including psychological counseling);
- reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for the repair or rehabilitation of a personal residence due to a qualified disaster (a personal residence can be a rented residence or one you own); and
- reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for the repair or replacement of the contents of a personal residence due to a qualified declared disaster.
Two Types of Assistance Available
1. Immediate Cash Assistance – Immediate cash assistance is limited to $1,000 per employee. Best Buy employees might be eligible to receive this assistance if they have urgent needs arising within seven days immediately following a qualifying disaster. Eligibility for receiving immediate cash assistance is determined by store managers and other supervisory personnel with responsibilities in the geographic area affected by the disaster. Recipients of Immediate Cash Assistance are still eligible to apply for Relief Fund Assistance.
Examples of circumstances qualifying for Immediate Cash Assistance:
- Assistance for evacuation expense;
- Assistance due to a medical emergency associated with the disaster;
- Food, lodging and other necessities associated with relocation.
2. Relief Fund Assistance – Relief fund assistance attempts to moderate the financial hardship inflicted on an employee due to a qualifying natural disaster over and above what insurance or any form of public assistance might provide. Employees may apply for Relief Fund Assistance through an online application to the Schulze Family Foundation.
A selection committee reviews and makes an award determination on all eligible requests for Relief Fund Assistance. Applicants will be notified of their application’s status. The selection committee will consider all requests. However, the current maximum award to applicants is $5,000 for full-time employees and $2,500 for part-time.
Qualified disaster relief payments do not include:
- income replacement payments, such as payments of lost wages, lost business income, or unemployment compensation;
- secondary residences;
- vehicles; or
Generally, assistance received from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Best Buy Disaster Relief Fund is not counted as taxable income for the recipient. “Internal Revenue Code section 139 provides that qualified disaster relief payments … are not taxable as income and are not subject to employment taxes or withholding.” https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p3833.pdf
The Best Buy Employee Disaster Relief Fund has limited resources available to award. This program of relief may be changed or canceled at any time as a result of demands being placed upon it.