Guidelines and Application for the Disaster Relief Fund

We know that many of our California brothers and sisters suffer financial hardships as a result of natural disasters in our state.  In response to fires, floods and earthquakes in the past, local unions from across the nation have joined to donate their personal funds to members who may be suffering financial hardship as a result of the disaster.  Our goal is not to replace insurance or governmental assistance, but to provide a supplemental reimbursement for those unusual costs which often stretch our budgets during a natural disaster.

Available Assistance

Eligible members and their families can receive two types of assistance up to the maximum amount(s):

  • Housing Assistance: may include cost of temporary housing or repair to existing housing.  Maximum assistance amount:  $1,000 per SEIU household
  • Other Needs Assistance: costs of disaster related expenses and serious needs including medical and dental expenses, funeral and burial costs, repair or replacement of household items such as clothing, furniture, necessary occupational tools and educational materials, costs for clean-up, excess utility costs, and other disaster related expenditures.
  • Maximum assistance amount:  $2,000 per SEIU member

No single member shall receive more than $2,500 in assistance.  Members sharing living quarters or otherwise sharing financial responsibility for each other shall be limited to a maximum of $4,000 per household.

Eligibility Requirements

Membership: You must provide your Local number on the application to receive assistance.  The State Council will contact your local union to verify you are a member in good standing with your local union.  A “member of good standing” has been a full dues paying member of an SEIU California local union for a minimum of six months in the last two years.  The months of membership do not need to be consecutive.

Incurred Loss:  Your current or previous residence must have been located in a California county affected by the disaster during the last twelve (12) months and any losses claimed should have been caused by the natural disaster or its immediate consequences.

Documentation:  Actual receipts or other 3rd party documentation for the amounts being requested must be provided to document an actual expense.  This may include service orders for repairs completed, rent statements, cancelled checks, or other statements from vendors and service providers.

Direct Vendor Payments: Some vendors are willing to have the State Council pay them directly on behalf the claimant.  If, when purchasing replacement items and housing, your vendor is willing to take payment directly from the State Council, email with vendor contact information (name, phone number, email), eligible items descriptions and their costs to be procured on your behalf by the State Council.  These amounts are included in your maximum award.

Cash Advance:  Up to $600 cash assistance can be advanced for individuals who reside with the disaster zone.  Once purchases have been made with the cash advance, eligible receipts must be submitted equal to or greater than the cash advance amount received.  The cash advance amount is included in the maximum award amounts noted above (that is, the combined amount of cash advance, direct vendor payments and reimbursement checks cannot exceed the total award maximum).

All documentation should include a name, address, and phone number for the service provider or retailer, who must actually receive payment from you for the service or item.
(For example: we cannot reimburse for repairs performed by a neighbor or family member even if they provide you with an “invoice” for the value of the repairs unless you actually paid cash for the service.  However, we can reimburse for any equipment, parts or tools which were needed to achieve the repair.)

Application Instructions

Download and complete the application and submit it with your documentation to: 

SEIU California State Council
Attn: Disaster Relief
1130 K Street, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA  95814

Download the Disaster Relief Fund Application here.

Contribute to the Disaster Relief Fund

SEIU members and staff can support the families of those devastated by the California wildfires by making a financial donation to the SEIU California Disaster Relief Fund which helps support members in times of need.

Our sisters and brothers in California are among the hundreds of thousands of people impacted by the out of control wildfires that have burned through communities.

It’s time like this when being united with matters. We must band together and use our power in numbers to provide support and relief to our brothers and sisters in California.

Make a donation to the SEIU Disaster Relief Fund through PayPal here.