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COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund FAQs

Q: If I incurred expenses prior to the creating of the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, can I be reimbursed?

A: Yes, so long as the expense arose as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic during the time period that it is a federally declared disaster.  This time period began on March 1, 2020, so expenses arising on or after that date may be considered for reimbursement.  At the present time, it is not clear when the federally declared disaster time period will end but the time period for submitting claims for reimbursement will end at the time when the COVID-19 pandemic is deemed over by the federal government or when Vanderbilt announces the end of the time period for submitting claims for reimbursement, whichever occurs first.

Q: Can expenses other than those categories identified be reimbursed?

A:  Yes, eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Unreimbursed medical expenses or health-related expenses such as hand sanitizer, face masks, sanitizing cleaning products;
  • temporary housing needs attributable to COVID-19;
  • increased dependent care expenses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on usual dependent care arrangements including tutoring and home-schooling related expenses.

There is a space on the application form for “other” expenses to be entered and considered for reimbursement. Expenses eligible for reimbursement must be allowed in accordance with the federal Tax Code, section 139, as determined by Vanderbilt.  No expense is eligible for reimbursement if it is covered by some other payment source such as insurance or from other hardship or reimbursement funds.

Q: Are expenses related to remote work eligible for reimbursement?

A: Remote work is in place for the health and well-being of the Vanderbilt community. Employees who require essential equipment or supplies to work remotely should discuss these needs with their supervisor for departmental consideration of providing these items.

Q: Are COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund payments subject to taxes?

A: No. Qualified Disaster Relief Payments are not treated as earnings and are not subject to income or employment tax.

Q: I or a family member have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. May I request reimbursement for these?

A: No. Lost wages, income or compensation are not expenses eligible for reimbursement under the federal Tax Code provision which enables Vanderbilt to provide the Emergency Relief Fund.