23April2024

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Flood Response Volunteer Expense Reimbursement

The Victorian State Government has announced that an expense reimbursement process has been implemented for all CFA, SES and LSV volunteers who have been deployed in response to the 2022 Victorian Flood Event. Any volunteer who has incurred direct out-of-pocket expenses may apply for a streamlined payment of up to $300 reimbursement to cover expenses incurred. Reimbursement for expenses above $300 may be claimed through the normal expense reimbursement process.

In summary, the details are:-

• Claims for out-of-pocket expenses such as consumables, petrol and travel expenses if directly incurred as a result of your deployment
• The payment of up to $300 can only be accessed once, and providing your expenses are less than $300, you only need to provide details of the expenses, you are not required to produce receipts
• Expenses equalling more than $300 may be reimbursed, but will go through a different process, and receipts must be provided for claims over $300
• Only members deployed for a cumulative period of 24 hours or more are eligible (This doesn’t need to be consecutive or all at once – it can be made up of multiple deployments across the campaign)
• If you are a volunteer with more than one service – you may only apply once
• The scheme closes on the 31 January 2023, and claims must be submitted before then

CFA have now launched an online claims form on Members Online.

There is no requirement for receipts to be submitted for claims up to $300. However, receipts should be retained in the event of a volunteer being activated multiple times and, hence seeking multiple claims that may exceed $300 in total. Further information on claims over $300 can be found on Members Online.

You may be asked to provide information related to your response to enable your claim to be validated against FIRS (Fire and Incident Reporting System) data where possible.

When your claim has been approved, you will be notified by CFA and the payment will be processed within the next 7-10 business days.

You must not claim the $300 payment through multiple emergency service organisations.

From a VFBV perspective, our aim has always been to ensure processes are in place to minimise or eliminate any expenses being incurred by volunteers on deployment, but we understand from time to time there may be things that crop up, so we encourage any volunteer who has incurred any out-of-pocket expenses to consider making a claim. We will seek to monitor de-identified data of the most common type of expenses claimed to inform future work to minimise these costs occurring in the first place.

As you can only claim once and given that brigades will have needed to have submitted and completed their FIRS reports before the system can validate your attendance, members are advised to hold off on making any claims until towards the end of the flood response activities. We will send a reminder prior to the closing date.

If you don’t know the FIRS numbers of the incidents you attended, you can access this information from Members Online, by logging into members.cfa.vic.gov.au and clicking on “manage my profile” from the top right corner, then scroll down to the bottom of that page and selecting the red “Turnouts” button, which will take you to the online FIRS database. You are encouraged to start documenting this info now, while it is fresh in your mind.

CFA have added a FAQ section to the Members Online section on their website.

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CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.

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