FAQs

What is the Cox Employee Relief Fund?

The Cox Employee Relief Fund (CERF) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization funded by donations from Cox employees, Cox companies and others to provide relief in a time of need. CERF provides financial assistance to employees facing a financial hardship due to a natural disaster, catastrophic injury/ illness or loss of an immediate family member, that cannot be meet through personal resources, insurance or public programs (such as FEMA or Red Cross).

As a 501 (c)(3) charity, the Cox Employee Relief Fund relies on donations help carry out its mission. By donating to CERF, you can feel confident that your financial gift goes directly to employees in need of shelter, food, clothing, funeral expenses and other qualifying expenses.

In which situations will the Cox Employee Relief Fund provide a Direct Grant?

The Cox Employee Relief Fund was established to assist employees facing a financial hardship resulting from a qualifying circumstance. The kinds of situations in which the Fund may provide a direct grant include:

  • Natural Disaster (fires, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, etc.)
  • Illness
  • Injury
  • Death

What type of help does CERF provide?

  • Two types of assistance are provided:

    (1) Immediate Cash Assistance – the Immediate Cash Assistance application assists with urgent cash needs arising within 24 hours immediately following an unforeseen hardship to an employee or immediate family member. The financial need must be related to disaster, catastrophic illness/injuries or the loss of an immediate family member.

    Examples of Immediate Cash Assistance:

    • Assistance for an evacuation due to natural disaster
    • Assistance with travel due to a medical emergency of an immediate family member.

    (2) Relief Fund Assistance – the Relief Fund Assistance application assists with financial hardships due to a major natural disaster, catastrophic injury/illness or a loss of an immediate family member.

    Examples of Relief Fund Assistance:

    • Assistance with home modifications due to an illness and/or injury such as a handicap ramp or bathroom modification.
    • Assistance with travel and hotel expenses for a funeral (immediate family members)
    • Assistance with insurance deductible after a fire or natural disaster.

CERF is unable to help with:

  • Past due utilities
  • Automobile repairs, replacement or payments
  • Financial hardships due to the loss of a household income

CERF does not grant funds to cover:

  • Luxury electronics (TVs, DVD players, etc.)
  • Lost compensation due to missed time from work
  • Items covered by insurance
  • Credit card debt/loans
  • Legal fees

Which family members does the Cox Employee Relief Fund consider as eligible immediate family?

CERF considers the employee, their spouse/domestic partner, minor children up to age 18 (up to age 26, if covered by health insurance) and other dependents for which the employee is 100% financially responsible as eligible, immediate family. Typically, immediate family members are those who can be covered by the employee’s insurance. Parents, grandparents or other relatives are not considered dependents unless the employee can show they are financially responsible for that relative (i.e., copy of most recent tax return showing dependents, proof of shared physical address or proof of financial responsibility). Travel to the funeral of an immediate family member is covered regardless of age or dependency.

What information does the Fund need when reviewing a Relief Fund application?

Required documentation depends on the reason for the request. At a minimum the Fund requires copies of the current bills for which the employee seeks assistance.

  • If an employee is seeking assistance with home modifications, we require a physician’s note verifying the need and a copy of the estimate for the cost of the modifications.
  • In the event of a natural disaster or fire, we require a copy of the fire report or other formal documentation validating the circumstance and proof of the deductible amount.
  • In the event of death, we require a copy of the funeral expenses or travel and hotel expenses.

It’s very helpful for the employee to include a personal written statement with their application. This helps our staff “connect the dots” between the situation and the employee’s current financial hardship.

I'm currently on a leave of absence from my job. Can I still apply for Relief Fund assistance?

Yes. Employees of Cox Enterprises and its family of companies – whether active or on a company approved leave of absence – are eligible to apply for Relief Fund assistance.

What is the turnaround time to process a Relief Fund application?

Cox Employee Relief Fund strives to maintain a two business day lead time (excluding weekends and holidays) from the time we receive a complete application. However, processing time will be extended in cases where we are missing documentation, signatures, or if other information is needed.

How do I apply for assistance?

Employees must contact their Human Resources (HR) business partner in order to apply for assistance. The HR business partner will work with the employee to determine eligibility and, based on that determination, the application must be submitted via the online form with the HR business partner’s approval.

When will the Cox Employee Relief Fund provide assistance in the situation of an illness or injury?

As a result of an illness or injury, if an employee is required to travel out of state for specialized care, make home modifications or is unable to pay their rent or mortgage, CERF may provide assistance with travel and hotel expenses, cost for home modifications or provide assistance with rent or mortgage payments.

When will the Cox Employee Relief Fund provide assistance in the situation of a natural disaster?

As a result of a natural disaster, if an employee is displaced, needs to make home repairs or relocate, CERF may provide assistance with temporary lodging, insurance deductibles and home repairs, or relocation expenses.  CERF is also able to provide a predetermined allowance towards the replacement of food, clothing and furniture on a case by case basis.

When will the Cox Employee Relief Fund provide assistance in the situation of a death?

As a result of a death, if an employee is financially responsible for the final expenses or needs to travel out of town to the funeral, CERF may provide assistance with the cost of the funeral and/or travel and hotel expenses.

I borrowed money from my friends and family to help me get caught up on my bills. Will the Cox Employee Relief Fund reimburse me so that I can pay them back?

No. The Cox Employee Relief Fund is available for those employees who do not have the means themselves or other resources available to pay their living expenses. Similarly, CERF will not reimburse money paid by an employee to move into a new apartment or rental home.  Reimbursement for funeral expenses may be considered on a case by case basis.

I donate to the Cox Employee Relief Fund. Doesn’t that make me automatically eligible for assistance?

No. Eligibility is determined by the employee’s need and circumstance. Donating to the Cox Employee Relief Fund is like giving to any other charity.

Does the Cox Employee Relief Fund change its criteria?

Yes. Donations from employees make it possible to provide much needed services to employees in need. As the number of donors increase, the Cox Employee Relief Fund has more money to issue to these employees. Each year, the Fund attempts to assist more employees by broadening the application of our criteria or making internal changes. Comments from our employees, staff observation of needs, and legal implications help determine the areas we can cover.

How often can an employee qualify for assistance?

An employee may qualify for assistance one time per qualifying circumstance within a 12-month period.

When should I apply for assistance?

You should apply for assistance as soon as you have a qualifying hardship and can provide the supporting documentation.  Please note, CERF can only address your current hardship, therefore applying within 90 days of an event is recommended.

Is my donation to CERF tax deductible?

Yes, your donation is 100% tax deductible; no goods or services were provided to you as a result of your contribution.  According to IRS regulations, you should keep this letter in addition to your cancelled check as verification of your gift. The Cox Employee Relief Fund, Inc. is exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  The Fund’s tax identification number is 20-3401306.

 

 

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