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Welfare Fund Frequently Asked Questions

VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund

Download the VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund brochure here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my brigade use part of their CFA allowance to pay the annual welfare fund contribution fee?

Yes. Each brigade can decide to use funds from their own resources to make the welfare fund contribution payment. Brigade allowances are one source of available funds that may be used to cover the annual contribution fees. Membership of the VFBV Welfare Fund is a brigade decision, as is the use of funds from whichever source including the annual CFA Brigade Allowance, to pay the contribution fee.

How is the annual brigade contribution fee decided upon, and will it alter from year to year?

The Welfare Fund Committee of Management will seek advice on the level of activity of the fund, the resilience of monies invested and the ability of the Fund to sustain itself without eroding the invested capital. This advice will be sought every six months.

The annual contribution will be set in the last quarter of each financial year and will be based on the return on investments, take-up of brigades electing to contribute as Welfare Fund members, the number of claims and their value. Every attempt will be made to keep brigade contribution fees as low as possible, and affordable for all brigades.

Our member is incapacitated by illness or a medical condition. Do we send originals of medical reports or certificates to support our application?

No. Copies that may support the application are useful. The Committee of Management members make their decisions based on the information available in the application, so provide plenty of detail.

Does the VFBV Welfare Fund cover long serving ex members?

Yes. Any ex member of a contributing CFA Brigade who was a registered member for 20 years or more is covered by their former brigade's membership to the fund.

How are payments (grant/monies) paid to the claimant?

In the majority of cases, grant monies are paid directly to the member brigade via the Brigade Captain or Brigade Secretary.  There are occasions where the Welfare Fund will make direct payments to organisations to clear outstanding debts or arrears. The Welfare Fund Secretary can advise.

Can the VFBV Welfare Fund accept donations and provide receipts?

Yes. Our taxation status as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) allows the VFBV Welfare Fund to accept cash donations and provide a receipt for taxation purposes to the donors.

In the claim process, does the Brigade send originals or copies of bills or invoices as part of the application?

No. Be as detailed as possible in the items and amounts that are sought in the application, on the application form or any attachment. If originals are sent, please include a self addressed envelope for their return.

What are some examples of financial help sought in past applications for Welfare Fund support?

A - Members who find themselves in severe financial hardship due to illness/injury.  - Unable to make payments on utility and household bills and accounts, mortgage repayments, rent.  - Help to meet funeral expenses.  - Purchase specialist medical equipment.  - Assist with travel expenses during family crisis, hospitalisation etc.

Why do brigades have to affiliate with VFBV before they can join the Welfare Fund?

The administration costs associated with managing and operating the VFBV Welfare Fund are being met from VFBV funds. This will ensure that costs will not erode the funds available for claims to support brigade members.

Can individual brigade members make a direct Welfare Fund application?

Generally no. Brigades are the Fund members and in devolving the responsibility to brigades to manage any funds awarded, confidentiality and governance of member funds is maintained at this level. Should any individual not wish to approach their brigade management, they should consider speaking to their District Council representatives or State Councillors for advice.

Who is eligible for support for Welfare Fund grants?

Registered CFA members of brigades that contribute to the VFBV Welfare Fund are eligible to make application. Also immediate dependent family members of a brigade member, are eligible to make application. Ex members of a Welfare Fund member brigade are also eligible subject to the member having been a registered CFA volunteer for 20 years or more.

Will the applicant be contacted about the claim?

Unlikely. In most cases, contact is made between the Brigade Captain and / or Secretary and the Welfare Fund Secretary. Should additional information be required to clarify details of an application, the Welfare Fund Secretary will contact the Brigade Captain and / or Secretary.

How does the Brigade manage the funds if a welfare grant is made?

VFBV will provide payment to the Member Brigade by cheque, payable to the Brigade. Most grants are untied funds and thus, we expect the Brigade to dispense the funds to meet the application criteria ie. payment of accounts in arrears, to cover funeral expenses etc.

The letter accompanying payment to the Brigade from the Welfare Fund Secretary will explain how the grant monies have been awarded, and for what specific purpose they are to be used.  However, we understand Brigades are in a much better position to assess their member’s immediate needs particularly at the time of the grant being received. Ultimately, brigades provide the support most appropriate at the time.

Is there an appeal process should the Brigade disagree with the Committee of Management’s decision?

No. The decision of the VFBV Welfare Fund Committee of Management is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Important: the level of detail supplied in the application is critical to provide the Committee members with a comprehensive picture of the circumstances and the assistance sought.

Does the Brigade need to report how any grant funds are spent? Do we provide receipt?

No. The strength of the process lies with the VFBV and the Brigade managers jointly managing the application and the grant. Most grants of monies are untied, thus VFBV entrust the Brigade to dispense the funds to the benefit of their member. VFBV Welfare Fund does not require a receipt(s) for the untied monies granted to the Brigade.

Is there a limit to the funds that are granted per application?

Initially Yes. Although there are exceptions allowed by the Welfare Fund Rules – adopted in October 2008, the Committee of Management can make grants to a maximum of $5,000 for any application. On average most grants are around the $2,000 to $2,500 mark. A grant in excess of $5,000 would need to be referred to and approved by the VFBV Board.

Are personal fund financial details of the application required to be provided?

No . Although the application pack is made up of 3 parts. Part 3 is a budget calculator that not only assists claimants to prepare their own personal/family budget, but if submitted may provide the Committee of Management with a clearer picture of what level of assistance is required.

It is important to note that the clearer the picture presented to the Committee of Management in the application form, the easier it will be for an informed and quick decision to be made.

Many applications have been received with an attached statement by the brigade that explains the member’s circumstances and clearly indicates the type and level of support sought. This can assist the Committee to arrive at an informed decision.

What privacy provisions relating to the applicant and their personal details have been established?

Ideally, Brigade OIC’s/Secretaries along with the Welfare Fund Secretary process the claim, with all details contained to protect the privacy and details of any claim. Every effort is made by VFBV staff and Committee of Management to be discrete and to keep details of the claim strictly confidential. No external reporting of details occurs.

Will full details of claims and personal details be divulged or published?

No. Details of the applicant, the Brigade, or the circumstances surrounding the application or processing of a claim are NOT communicated or reported. The VFBV Welfare Fund Committee of Management reports broadly to the VFBV Board, the number of claims processed and total value of claims on a monthly basis.

Is GST payable on the Welfare Fund Contribution?

No. VFBV Welfare Fund brigade contributions do not attract GST.

Download the VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund brochure here.


Read 17522 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 15:26
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