MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund

The MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund provides financial assistance to MIT staff and postdoctoral scholars (associates and fellows) who are experiencing an immediate and temporary financial hardship due to a sudden or non-recurring emergency (e.g., loss of family income, new or additional expenses directly related to COVID-19, death of a family member, serious illness or injury, natural disaster).

Financial assistance can be granted, up to a maximum of $1,000 per applicant, to assist MIT staff and postdoctoral scholars with rent, mortgage, utilities, food, child care, medical, funeral, or other essential expenses (see FAQs below for additional information). The amount granted is based on the applicant’s demonstrated need, short-term nature of the financial hardship, and available balance of the Fund. The financial assistance does not need to be repaid; however, it is generally considered wage income and hence subject to applicable taxes.

MIT staff and postdoctoral scholars who meet the Fund’s eligibility criteria can apply for financial assistance online. Applications are strictly confidential, and any identifying information will be removed before the application is shared with the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund Review Committee. The Review Committee reviews and approves applications, and is made up of a small but diverse group of MIT community members from across the Institute.

Apply to the Fund

Eligibility requirements

Applicants must:

  • Be either an active full-time or part-time benefits-eligible MIT staff member or a postdoctoral scholar (associate or fellow);
  • Be in good standing with the Institute, with no current disciplinary actions;
  • Provide supporting documentation (e.g., lease, mortgage statement, bills, spouse/partner's layoff notice, paystubs, death certificate, fire or police report);
    • A temporary financial hardship is one caused by a defined, time-limited, specific event, such as loss of family income, new or additional expenses related to COVID-19, death of a family member, serious illness or injury, or a natural disaster. Long-standing financial issues (such as ongoing credit card debt) do not meet the temporary hardship requirement.
  • Not have previously received financial assistance from the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund.

Application process

  • The applicant completes and submits the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund application.
  • The applicant and the MIT Center for WorkLife and WellBeing each receive an email notification that the application has been submitted.
  • The applicant submits supporting documentation using a secure, encrypted process (instructions are included in the email sent to the applicant immediately after submission of the application).
  • The MIT Center for WorkLife and WellBeing completes an initial review of the application and verifies the supporting documentation.
  • The MIT Center for WorkLife and WellBeing removes all identifying information of the applicant to ensure confidentiality, and sends the application to the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund Review Committee.
  • The MIT Center for WorkLife and WellBeing sends the applicant an email notification of the committee’s decision. The MIT Center for WorkLife and WellBeing will also refer the applicant to additional resources, such as MyLife Services, and other MIT and state/federal benefits and services, as appropriate.
  • If the application is approved, funds will be disbursed as soon as possible (and no later than 10 business days after all required supporting documentation has been received) through direct deposit. In some cases, payment may be made directly to the vendor or creditor to which the applicant has a financial obligation.

Before you begin

  1. Before applying for financial assistance using this form, be sure you have reviewed the eligibility requirements and application process above. 
  2. You must have supporting documentation available (e.g., spouse/partner's layoff notice, lease, mortgage statement, paystubs, bills, death certificate, fire or police report). Instructions for the secure, enrypted transmission of your supporting documentation will be sent to you as soon as your application has been received.

 MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund Application

Donate to the Fund

Credit Card or PayPal via the Giving to MIT website

 Donate via Credit Card or PayPal

Payroll Deduction via Community Giving at MIT

 Donate via Payroll Deduction

  • Under About Me, go to Money Matters > Charitable Contributions
  • Click the Donate Now button
  • Select payment method (credit cards also accepted) and frequency
  • Enter “MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund” in the Charity field
  • Enter your donation amount
  • Select your preference for acknowledgement/recognition
  • Submit
Wire Transfer

 Instructions for Wire Transfer

  • Reference the "MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund 2732211" in the wire details
Discretionary Fund Transfer via Journal Voucher

 Donate via Journal Voucher

  • Initiate a JV in Atlas
  • Choose Revenue Transfer:
    • From Cost Object: [Discretionary Fund]
    • From G/L: 800326
    • To Cost Object: 2732211
    • To G/L: 800325
    • Description: Include the faculty's Name, Title, and Department - Discretionary Funds
    • Details: MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund 

If you have any questions about transferring funds to the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund, please contact Mary Ellen Royer (maryelle@mit.edu) or Maura Rizzuto (rizzuto@mit.edu).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for financial assistance from the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund?

An applicant must be either an active full-time or part-time benefits-eligible MIT staff member or a postdoctoral scholar (associate or fellow), and be in good standing with the Institute, with no current disciplinary action. See Eligibility Requirements above for additional detail.

What emergencies qualify for financial assistance from the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund?

The Fund provides financial assistance to MIT staff and postdoctoral scholars (associates and fellows) who are experiencing an immediate and temporary financial hardship due to a sudden or non-recurring emergency.

A temporary financial hardship is one caused by a defined, time-limited, specific event, such as loss of family income, new or additional expenses directly related to COVID-19, death of a family member, serious illness or injury, or a natural disaster. Long-standing financial issues (such as ongoing credit card debt) do not meet the temporary hardship requirement.

What types of expenses are eligible for financial assistance from the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund?

The financial assistance can be used to cover rent, mortgage, utilities, food, child care, medical, funeral, or other essential expenses.

Does the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund cover commuting expenses, such as Uber/Lyft rides to work?

Generally, replacement or recurring commuting expenses, including rideshares, are not eligible for financial assistance from the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund.

Does the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund cover equipment and technology expenses for working from home?

Staff and postdocs should check with their DLC to learn what types of equipment are provided or eligible for reimbursement. See MIT HR’s Guidelines on Providing Equipment for Working Remotely for additional information.

Is the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund confidential?

Yes. All applications are received by the MIT Center for WorkLife and WellBeing, which will remove all identifying information of the applicant to ensure confidentiality before sending to the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund Review Committee.

Who is on the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund Review Committee?

The Review Committee is a small group of MIT community members, including support, service, research, and administrative staff on Campus and at Lincoln Laboratory; as well as faculty.

If my application for financial assistance is approved, how much money will I receive?

Financial assistance can be granted up to a maximum of $1,000 per applicant. The amount granted is based on the applicant’s demonstrated need and available balance of the Fund. All decisions of the Review Committee are final.

How will the money be dispersed?

Funds will be dispersed through direct deposit. In some cases, payment may be made directly to the vendor or creditor to which the applicant has a financial obligation.

How soon will the money be dispersed?

If approved, funds will be dispersed as soon as possible, and no later than 10 business days after all required supporting documentation has been received.

Can I receive financial assistance more than once, if I experience separate emergencies?

You may only receive financial assistance once. However, you may apply for financial assistance more than once if you have experienced a separate emergency, and have not already received funds from the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund.

How is the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund funded?

The Fund consists solely of voluntary charitable donations from alumni/ae, faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and friends of the Institute.

How can I contribute to the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund?

You can make a one-time or recurring donation online via credit card or PayPal.

What percentage of my donation to the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund goes to providing financial assistance to those in need?

100% of donated funds are used to help MIT staff and postdoctoral scholars (associates and fellows) in need.

Who can I contact with additional questions?

The MIT Center for WorkLife and WellBeing manages and administers the MIT Staff Emergency Hardship Fund. You may reach out to a member of the team at worklife@mit.edu or 617-253-1592.