Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Eligible to Apply?

  1. Event must have occurred during one’s active employment or matriculated education at Upstate Medical University.
  2. Employees and students that have been employed or enrolled for at least six months on a continuous basis.
  3. Applicants must have a genuine emergency hardship as defined above.
  4. Applicants are eligible to receive one financial assistance per calendar year.
  5. Applicants are expected to have already made ordinary efforts to address the hardship. These efforts may include initiating contacts with companies to which payments are owed (i.e., utility, phone, water, mortgage, etc.) to seek payment plans or other accommodations, initiating contact with community agencies that offer assistance and seeking assistance from family members or others.
  6. Employees defined as for the purpose of this policy:
    • NY State, Research Foundation for SUNY, MedBest, Upstate Health Providers (UHP), and PBANYS
    • Must work a minimum of 16 hours per week or 32 hours per pay period
    • Employees must not be on an unauthorized leave of absence
  7. Students defined as for the purpose of this policy:
    • Matriculated students attending at least part-time

How much financial assistance can I receive?

Emergency financial assistance provided to an individual applicant shall not exceed $599 unless the Emergency Fund determines extenuating circumstances are present. In any case, no single financial assistance provided shall exceed $1,000.

How often can I receive financial assistance?

You are allowed to apply whenever you feel you have an economic hardship meeting the criteria of the program. However, you can only receive at maximum one funding opportunity per calendar year.

How is the financial assistance provided?

Payment will be made directly to a creditor or vendor, such as utility company or medical provider. Payment will not be made directly to the individual. Only under rare and extenuating circumstances will gift cards/certificates be supplied directly to an individual with follow-up documentation of appropriate purchase(s) required.

How do I Apply?

Complete the ‘Upstate Employee and Student Emergency Fund’ Application. The application is available on this website, or in printed format at the following locations:

Downtown Campus: Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Office (703 Jacobsen Hall), Payroll Office (1st Floor Jacoben Hall), Student Affairs (1212 Weiskotten Hall), Human Resources (2nd Floor Jacobsen Hall), President's Office (1162 Weiskotten Hall), Spiritual Care Center (1317 University Hospital), Campus Activities Building (Room 201), Geneva Towers

On the Community Campus: Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Office, Human Resources Office (Room 1136), Nursing Recruitment, and Spiritual Care Center.

Submit the application to and/or arrange an appointment with the Employee Assistance Program Coordinator, Sarah-Lee Ritchie at x464-5760 or Student Affairs Designee, Jennifer Welch at x464-4816 to review the application together.

Do I have to provide any proof of economic hardship?

Yes. Supporting documentation verifying the need (i.e. medical invoice, notice of utilities termination, etc.) must be submitted with the application. Additional information may be requested.

What happens to the application?

The person you discussed the application with will remove all identifying information from the application. They will then present the application in a meeting of the ‘Upstate Employee and Student Emergency Fund’ for discussion and voting.

Who is on the ‘Upstate Employee and Student Emergency Fund’ committee?

The committee is made up of a broad-base representation of employees and students from within the institution who serve on the committee voluntarily.

How will I know if my application is approved for funding?

The person you discussed your application with initially will contact you directly to let you know of decision.

Am I guaranteed to receive funding?

No applicant is guaranteed to receive assistance nor is there any guarantee that funds will be available any time.

How will I receive payment?

If approved by the committee vote, the person you reviewed your application with will begin the payment processing paperwork. The payment comes through the Foundation for Upstate Medical University Office. Payment will be made directly to a creditor or vendor, such as utility company or medical provider. Payment will not be made directly to the individual. Only under rare and extenuating circumstances will gift cards/certificates be supplied directly to an individual with follow-up documentation of appropriate purchase(s) required.

What do I have to do for my taxes?

Tax liability questions are the responsibility of the recipient. Please consult with your accountant for tax liability.

What if I am denied assistance?

The EAP Coordinator or Student Affairs Designee will assist in suggesting other financial or community resources.

Can I appeal?

The decision is final and no appeals will be accepted.

How often can I apply?

You are allowed to apply whenever you feel you have an economic hardship meeting the criteria of the program. However, you can only receive at maximum one funding opportunity per calendar year.

Is the program completely confidential?

The individual initially receiving the application will know your identify but will remove all identifying information from the application and supporting documentation before presenting to the committee.  The Foundation staff responsible for processing the financial assistance payment will be aware of your identity.  Every effort will be made by all involved to keep your information confidential.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the program?

You may contact any of the individuals listed below:

Sarah-Lee Ritchie, Employee Assistance Program, at x464-5760

Jennifer Welch, Student Affairs, at x464-4816

Renae Rokicki, Office of the President, at x464-1683

Where and how did the program get developed?

Members of the 2012 Upstate Leadership Academy, Emergent Leader Course – Valerie Beecher of Human Resources, Jessica Hrybinczak of Student Affairs, and Lisa Phelan of the College of Medicine – researched, developed, and proposed the idea to Senior Leadership. As part of the Upstate Medical University Leadership Academy, program participants are required to work on a capstone project which if implemented will positively impact the institution or the community. Their project, entitled ‘Upstate Family Connections’ focused on ways in which members of the institution could support each other. An emergency fund designed to assist members of the Upstate Medical University family was of primary focus. For their project, they completed a significant amount of research related to similar programs offered at other institutions, with particular focus on the popular ‘Employee Community Service Fund’ previously in place at Community General Hospital and comparable programs within other SUNY institutions. From their research and conversations with key stakeholders at Upstate, they designed a program suitable for implementation here. This proposal was recommended to Leadership Council at the culmination of their Academy and approved to move forward. Since then, the program has been further developed and initial start-up funding was provided by the Foundation for Upstate Medical University and the Office of the President for program implementation in Fall 2013.

Where did the funding for this program come from?

The Foundation for Upstate Medical University and the Office of the President generously provided the initial start-up funds for the program.

Where will ongoing funding for the program come from?

The Upstate Employee and Student Emergency Fund is dependent on contributions from members of the campus community at Upstate Medical University.

How can I provide a donation to the Upstate Employee and Student Emergency Fund?

Contributions are both needed and welcomed.  Donations can be made in the following ways:

  • Through the Upstate Community Giving Campaign
  • By check or drop-off of a cash donation to:
    Upstate Employee and Student Emergency Fund
    Account # 47677
    Foundation for Upstate Medical University
    750 East Adams Street, CAB #326
    Syracuse, NY 13210
  • By payroll deduction: Please fill out the appropriate form according to your choice of payment method and send to the above address.
  • Online: Via our secure online credit card page at www.foundationforupstate.org/emergencyfund External Icon