Employee Emergency Fund

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Employee Emergency Fund

At the University of Pittsburgh, we care deeply about employees who are struggling, and already have programs that provide valuable help if and when you are facing a hardship.

However, we understand that sometimes you may need extra support.

To complement our current programs/services, the University recently established the Employee Emergency Fund, which originated from an idea developed by Staff Council. This collaborative program from organizations throughout our campus community makes available limited financial assistance for eligible employees facing an immediate and substantial financial need.

The fund is a joint venture between the University’s:

This fund provides financial support of up to $1,500 to eligible Pitt employees across all five campuses. To request help, employees encountering an emergency should fill out an application, via the Contact OHR form, and include supporting documentation (review following listing) to explain their financial needs.


Employees eligible under this policy include full-time and part-time active executive, staff, non-union faculty, research associates, and post doctoral associates. Union-eligible employees should check their collective bargaining agreement for eligibility. There are no service time requirements to receive funding. Employees on a leave of absence, regardless of payment status, are eligible. This program does NOT apply to temporary employees, volunteers, independent contractors or employees terminated by the University.

Undergraduate, graduate and professional students who have an immediate financial need should apply to the Student Emergency Assistance Fund.

An eligible employee can request a net amount up to $1,500 once every two calendar years. If an employee is awarded an amount less than the maximum and another financial need arises, that employee may submit a new application. However, there is a total cap of $1,500 per employee during a two-year period. An eligible employee may apply for financial assistance through the emergency fund when they have exhausted all other available resources.

Payment to employees is not guaranteed and must be supported with documentation. An employee is not required to pay the emergency funds received back to the University; however, we encourage employees who have utilized the fund to contribute back into it, if and when they are able to do so. Anyone in our campus community can make contributions through the Office of Philanthropic and Alumni Engagement.

Covered Hardships

Immediate financial needs are those that create temporary financial hardship. This includes both local or natural disasters and personal emergencies. This also includes disasters not covered by a federally declared event, such as a flood, hurricane, tornado or fire.

Eligible Financial Needs Required Documentation
Overdue medical care expenses for the employee, the employee’s spouse, employee’s designated domestic partner on file with the University, or dependents. Routine dental and vision expenses are not covered. Copy of non-itemized medical bills with balance owed and due date. If only an itemized bill is available, please redact any confidential health information.  
Payments necessary to prevent the eviction of the employee from the employee’s primary residence or foreclosure on the mortgage on that residence.

Copy of eviction or foreclosure notice with balance owed and due date.  

Expenses to repair damage to the employee’s primary residence that is destroyed or unlivable or otherwise requires costly repairs in excess of insurance. This includes damages caused by disasters such as a flood, tornado, or fire. Copy of estimate for repair or dated invoice/receipt for damages.  
Essential utility bills, which include water, gas, and electricity, that are scheduled to be shut off.

Dated shut-off notice from the utility company.

Additional University Benefits Available  

In cases when emergency childcare is needed, eligible employees can utilize the University Care.com benefit

Supplemental medical coverage is also available to eligible employees to elect during the annual open enrollment period. This includes accident, critical illness, and hospital indemnity insurance through MetLife. More information about these plans can be found at Pittperks.com.

LifeSolutions is the University of Pittsburgh's Faculty and Staff Assistance Program that provides a broad range of services to assist University employees and their household members to balance work and the stresses of daily life. LifeSolutions offers personalized care services, 24-hour support, online resources and tools, and more, all at no cost to you. LifeSolutions services include:

Personalized Work Life Referrals
Online Work Life Resources
Crisis 24/7 Contact Information
Counseling and Coaching Services
Disability and Family Medical Leave Outreach

You can speak with a LifeSolutions specialist in-person, through video, or by telephone. To speak with a specialist, or to schedule an in-person appointment, call 1-866-647-3432. Learn more about LifeSolutions

Application Process

To apply for this funding, eligible employees must submit an application via the Contact OHR form (see screenshot below), which includes the total amount being requested from the emergency fund and all supporting documentation needed to determine eligibility. 

The Office of Human Resources will respond to the request within three business days.

Review of Application 

The maximum payment for the emergency financial need is $1,500. Communication of whether your request has been approved or denied will be e-mailed to you by the Office of Human Resources. If denied, you will be provided with a reason for the denial. You may appeal a denial, as outlined in the following Appeal Process section. If the payment is approved, it will be processed through the payroll system and distributed as soon as possible consistent with payroll procedures. This payment is taxable. As such, the Payroll Department in collaboration with the Office of Human Resources, will estimate the amount of taxes, and increase the approved amount so that the employee receives the amount requested as a net payment.


Information provided by applicants will be treated as highly confidential and shared only with individuals directly involved in emergency fund administration and payroll processing. 

Appeal Process 

If an employee’s application was denied because it was incomplete, the employee may resubmit the application with all required documentation. If the application was denied because the reason for the request did not fall within the parameters of the policy, the employee may submit an appeal to the vice chancellor for human resources to review the situation and determine eligibility.


For any questions regarding the Employee Emergency Fund, please submit an online inquiry