Employee Assistance Criteria

The Corrections Foundation was established as a non-profit in 1996 to support the programs, personnel, and services of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC).

PROGRAM SUMMARY AND PURPOSE

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) was established to provide assistance for FDC employees during emergency crises. Contributing memberships, particularly from corrections’ personnel help support the Foundation’s EAP. The following Criteria and Guidelines will enable the Corrections Foundation to assist employees who are experiencing an emergency crisis promptly and efficiently. They will also help to ensure that the level of need for each request is met by giving those initiating the request (Regional Director, Warden, Circuit Administrator, or Central Office Bureau Chief) more information concerning the assistance available through the EAP.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

The person for whom the request is made must be a current Department of Corrections employee or contractor providing direct services to the Dept. of Corrections – such as through medical privatization. A higher amount of financial assistance is provided for employees who are also members of the Corrections Foundation. Membership must be in effect 30 days prior to the crisis or emergency. If an employee is not a member at the time of the crisis a minimum amount of non-member assistance will be given.

Financial assistance is available for crisis situations involving critical health, illness, injuries and other emergency situations affecting Florida Department of Corrections employees and/or their immediate family (spouse and dependent children who are 18 and under) and with out-of-pocket expenses exceeding $1,000, so that there is a presumption of need. The Foundation’s EAP does not provide assistance for non-emergency situations or general financial hardship issues. The Program is not a supplemental health insurance and not intended to cover co-payments and routine medical expenses. The Program is intended to assist when employees are facing an emergency crisis situation, which could be an extreme illness, critical accident, house fire or other tragedy facing the employee or an immediate family member.

Assistance for emergencies and crisis situations are considered on a case by case basis. Employees should explore all other avenues for assistance, insurance benefits, etc., prior to contacting the Corrections Foundation.

In some cases an employee may be given financial assistance if a hardship exists due to caring for a critically ill parent or grandchild if the employee is the legal guardian or caretaker, and/or extensive travel, medical appointments, or specialist visits have created a financial hardship.

PROCEDURES FOR REQUESTING ASSISTANCE

Any Florida Department of Corrections employee, including OPS, whether a member of the Foundation or not, can submit a written request for assistance through the chain of command indicated below.

The first step is for an employee to review the criteria to determine if their situation is one that we provide assistance for and write a letter to their warden, circuit administrator or supervisor explaining their crisis situation and need for financial assistance and request that the Employee Assistance Request form be submitted to the Foundation. The Warden or Circuit Administrator and/or supervisor may request assistance on behalf of the employee; however, they must obtain and submit the necessary documentation required for assistance and verify with the employee that assistance is needed.

The warden, circuit administrator and/or supervisor will then complete the Employee Assistance Request form to convey the situation to the Corrections Foundation. Email Sheri Logue at [email protected] if you need a request form.

The request form should be coordinated through the appropriate offices as outlined below.

Work Location

Request Initiator

Final Review/Signature

InstitutionsWardenCorrections Foundation
Community CorrectionsCircuit AdministratorCorrections Foundation
Central OfficeBureau ChiefCorrections Foundation
Regional OfficeRegional DirectorCorrections Foundation

Examples of crisis situations, as well as situations that will not be considered are provided for you below.

All requests, once reviewed by the Regional Director, Warden, Circuit Administrator, or Central Office Bureau Chief should be scanned and emailed to [email protected] or sent by fax to 850-410-4411.

If the request is approved a check will be issued to the employee and the initiating office (Regional Director, Warden, Circuit Administrator, or Central Office Bureau Chief) will be notified of the final decision via email.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE GUIDELINES

The Corrections Foundation, based on knowledge they receive from the Employee Assistance Request Form, will make a determination of critical emergency need and level of assistance available for each situation.

Please complete the entire form, including an estimate or actual out-of-pocket medical bills and leave balances. Any incomplete forms will be returned to the initiator to complete.

The Corrections Foundation Board requests that all Employee Assistance Requests be submitted regardless of whether or not the employee’s Regional Director, Warden, Circuit Administrator, or Central Office Bureau Chief recommends assistance or not. If assistance is not recommended, the supervisor shall note on the Employee Assistance form the reason and then the request should be forwarded to the Corrections Foundation for final review. The Corrections Foundation will notify the employee of the final decision on the request.

SCENARIOS THAT MEET CRITERIA FOR ASSISTANCE

  • Excessive medical expenses ($1,000 or more) not covered by an employee’s health insurance coverage related to an accident, serious injury, and/or critical illness, surgery, or hospitalization. Routine medical bills alone such as co-pays and prescriptions do not meet the level of a critical emergency. However if the employee is on leave without pay, depending on circumstances, with medical bills due to an illness or procedure, the request will be considered.
  • Medical expenses preceding the death of an employee or their immediate family member (spouse or dependent child).
    • If medical bills or emergency transport expenses accompany the death of an immediate family member the Foundation may be able to assist.
    • If assistance is needed for funeral arrangements only, with no other outstanding medical expenses, the request would be outside of the criteria for assistance.
  • Travel to care for a critically ill parent, adult child, sibling or grandparent of the employee and/or to attend the funeral of an employees’ family member if the travel distance creates a financial hardship.
    • This hardship may include leave without pay, extended travel for medical treatments.
    • A minimum amount of assistance is provided for travel and this assistance does not extend to cousins and/or aunts/uncles, etc.
  • Fire: we encourage employees to obtain fire insurance, whether they are renting or own their home. The Corrections Foundation may provide a maximum payout of $1,000 for a total loss and $500 for major damage for members. Non-members may receive assistance at the non-member level.
  • Other emergency or crisis situations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If in doubt wardens, circuit administrators and supervisors are encouraged to give us a call to discuss the situation at 850-717-3712 or 850-717-3714.

DISASTER RELIEF

The Corrections Foundation has established a Disaster Relief Program to provide financial relief to those who have had their primary home and/or vehicle damaged by a natural disaster and may only be used for that purpose. Funding for the Disaster Relief Program is provided through a portion of payroll deductions from FDC employees to the Corrections Foundation. Should the Disaster Relief Fund be depleted at any time, funding from the Employee Assistance Program may be used to supplement.

A natural disaster is defined as any tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane, tornado, storm, flood, high water, tidal wave, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, snowstorm, fire, explosion, or other natural catastrophe.

If an individual believes he or she is affected by a natural disaster, he or she may request assistance from the Disaster Relief Fund. Requests shall be categorized as follows to determine eligibility:

  • Level 1: Primary residence and/or vehicle is a total loss and cannot be lived in or driven now or in the future. Those who have been determined to suffer Level 1 damages and are members of the Corrections Foundation may receive up to $1,000.
  • Level 2: Primary Residence and/or vehicle receive substantial damage and cannot be lived in and/or driven without major repairs. Those who have been determined to suffer Level 2 damages and are members of the Corrections Foundation may receive up to $500.

Nonmembers deemed eligible for assistance from the Disaster Relief Program may receive assistance at the current minimal level provided by the Corrections Foundation, not to exceed $100.

Only the main home and vehicles shall be considered for assistance. Damaged fences, damaged structures separate from the primary home, damaged secondary homes, and loss of food shall not be considered for financial assistance.

Proof of damages, including pictures and/or documentation from insurance companies and/or government agencies, must be submitted with requests. Requests submitted without proof shall be returned as incomplete. Returned requests may be resubmitted with appropriate documentation for consideration.

Requests must be made within 60 days of suffering damage. Requests made after 60 days shall be denied as not having been filed in a timely manner.

Those who receive relief from the Disaster Relief Fund may still qualify for financial assistance from the Employee Assistance Criteria if a request is made to the Employee Assistance Program 18 months or less from receiving financial assistance from the Disaster Relief Fund. There is no limit on lifetime assistance for the Disaster Relief Fund.

The Disaster Relief Fund is not insurance, should not be considered insurance, and should not be used in the place of insurance. The Corrections Foundation encourages all individuals to review their insurance policies to determine if they have an appropriate level of coverage.

SCENARIOS THAT DO NOT MEET CRITERIA FOR ASSISTANCE

NOTE: Each request should be based upon an unexpected emergency or crisis and a critical need for assistance must be demonstrated. If a critical need cannot be demonstrated, a request should not be recommended for assistance; however, it should still be sent to the Corrections Foundation for final review.

  • An employee’s extended family (parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, in-laws, etc.) dies unexpectedly and help is needed with funeral arrangements and/or medical expenses.
  • An employee’s parent, sibling, grandparent or extended family experiences a house fire.
  • An employee’s spouse or dependent child dies unexpectedly and life insurance is adequate to cover expenses and future care of the employee. Or if a family death was not preceded by excessive medical bills and assistance is only needed for funeral expenses.
  • An employee resigns or retires from the department and is no longer a current FDC employee or contractor providing services to the FL Dept. of Corrections.
  • An employee is pending dismissal or the Warden or Circuit Administrator has concerns over the legitimacy of the request for Employee Assistance. The request should still be sent to the Corrections Foundation with a recommendation of “Not Recommended” so that the request may be kept on file.
  • An employee is on medical leave, but has adequate insurance coverage. The employee has not missed a paycheck due to the illness and has not experienced substantial out-of-pocket medical bills of $1,000 or more and is not on leave without pay.
  • Dentist and eye doctor bills are outside the realm of assistance.
  • Routine medical bills such as co-payments or prescriptions without an emergency medical situation will not be considered.
  • Burglary or vandalism of the employee’s home or auto. These situations would be covered by homeowners and auto insurance.
  • Maternity/Paternity leave.
  • Elective surgery.
  • Financial hardships that are not created by an unexpected tragedy such as critical illness or accident shall not be considered for financial assistance. A level of critical need must be established before assistance is granted.
  • Legal representation.
  • Rent, mortgage, utility, and/or relocation expenses.

Examples of hardships that do not qualify for assistance include:

  • An employee’s air conditioning in their home needs to be replaced.
  • An employee’s car and only means of transportation breaks down.
  • An employee’s car is damaged in an accident, accident without injuries.
  • An employee’s bills are higher than their income and he or she does not have the means to meet their obligations.
  • An employee cannot meet financial obligations due to a recent divorce and legal expenses.
  • An employee is a victim of identity theft and is in need for legal representation.
  • An employee’s spouse loses their job and household income has declined.

LIMITATIONS ON ASSISTANCE

Employee assistance may be granted based on available resources. Memberships must be in existence for 30 days prior to the crisis situation and members may only receive assistance once in an 18-month period and a maximum of five times in a lifetime.

Assistance is available for FDC employees and their immediate family only. Immediate family is defined as spouse and dependent children residing with the member. In some cases an employee may be given financial assistance for his/her parents or grandchildren, if the employee is the primary caregiver and the family member resides with the employee and/or a financial hardship has been placed on the employee due to care of a critically ill family member.

Membership in the Corrections Foundation is not intended to create a right to receive assistance from the EAP. The decision to provide assistance is a matter of discretion retained by the Corrections Foundation. This decision is based upon the criteria within this document, Corrections Foundation interpretation of the critical nature of a request, and the availability of funds.

NOT A PERSONAL INSURANCE POLICY

The EAP is not intended to serve as an insurance policy or replace the need for fire, flood, home, auto, health and/or life insurance. Unfortunately, resources are not adequate enough to assist families with expenses that insurance is meant to cover. The State of Florida provides many affordable insurance options for health, life, and long-term care. In addition, we encourage officers and staff to participate in the deferred comp program to ensure employees are adequately prepared for retirement.

The death of a loved one is an event that every one of our members will someday experience and the funds available are not large enough to assist with funeral expenses. We strongly encourage you to seek life insurance coverage to prepare for funeral expenses for your entire family and to obtain other insurance policies to prepare for unexpected tragedies.

BECOMING A MEMBER

FDC employees and contractors may become a member of the Corrections Foundation to help others in need and to prepare if they should ever need to be a recipient of assistance due to a situation that meets the EAP criteria. Several options are available for becoming a contributing member of the Foundation:

Funds received through payroll deduction, annual membership dues and special fundraisers are used to assist employees and their families in times of emergency. A 15% administrative fee is utilized for operating costs for the Employee Assistance Program.

Members who are contract employees doing the work of FDC employees but are not state employees are considered “Supporting Members” and can join by completing an annual membership form and submitting a check for $52 annually. Contract employees both medical and non-medical can take part in other benefits of membership.

CONTRIBUTING MEMBERS

As more employees become members, the Corrections Foundation will be better able to provide needed assistance. Members are asked to help further the mission of the Corrections Foundation by bringing any information or suggestions to the attention of the Foundation board and the Foundation staff that may help to build and improve the organization. The Corrections Foundation shall keep contributing members informed of activities through email, our website at www.correctionsfoundation.org, and on social networks.

RECORDS

The Foundation keeps accurate and current membership records including the name and location of all members at its principal office. At any given time, records can be provided on employees who are members of the Foundation either through payroll deduction, annual membership or lifetime membership by institution/facility.

EMPLOYEE CONFIDENTIALITY

As the reviewing authorities for the EAP, Regional Directors, Wardens, Circuit Administrators, or Central Office Bureau Chiefs are entrusted with personal, confidential information on fellow FDC employees. It is of the utmost importance that the confidentiality of this information be respected as it is considered for financial assistance. Florida laws restrict the distribution and protect the confidentiality of medical information. The EAP form has a section for an employee’s signature granting the initiating authority permission to review the information and proceed for approval by the Corrections Foundation. The information on the request should at no time be discussed with anyone other than the initiating office and Corrections Foundation Board or staff.

QUESTIONS, CONCERNS, ONGOING SUPPORT

The Corrections Foundation staff is available at any time to answer questions or concerns regarding the EAP and these procedures. There can be exceptions to any rule and the uniqueness of every situation has not been addressed in this document. If you feel an employee has a legitimate request which doesn’t fit the above guidelines the Foundation Board of Directors can be asked to consider individual requests. Feel free to contact the Corrections Foundation staff any time.

For more information about the Corrections Foundation and the EAP, please contact Chris Akins, Executive Director (850) 717-3715 or Sheri Logue, Administrative Director at (850) 717-3714.

Revised: April 23, 2019

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