|Guides help flooding victims recover from financial loss, plan ahead
The recent flooding that devastated Colorado communities was a striking reminder of the physical destruction and harm caused by natural disasters. The financial toll for individuals is often less apparent, but no less devastating.Those affected by floods may have a difficult time recovering financially. Some may be unsure what steps to take next. That’s where the free booklet “Disaster Recovery: A Guide to Financial Issues” can provide help.
It outlines steps to regain financial stability that must be addressed immediately – and in the weeks and months following a disaster. This collaboration between the National Endowment for Financial Education, the AICPA Foundation and the American Red Cross outlines:
Preparing for the future
The state’s recent floods, forest fires and other disasters may have some thinking about how to prepare and mitigate the effects of a disaster. That’s where the companion guide “Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness” can prove helpful.
The booklet details measures to help families avoid a financial crisis in the event of a disaster. Topics include:
From Employee Services:
University of Colorado employees on all four campuses had their lives disrupted by the recent flooding.
Understanding that the recovery process can be long, difficult and trying, Employee Services and the CU Health and Wellness Trust have arranged to make the following services available to employees whose lives were directly affected by these natural disasters.
Faculty Housing Assistance Program loan options available
Full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty members who own homes damaged in the recent floods, who have equity in their homes and who plan to take out home equity loans to make their homes habitable after storm damage, may qualify for Faculty Housing Assistance Program loans from the university.
Such faculty members would need to apply at https://www.cu.edu/content/faculty-housing-assistance-program, use the university’s approved financial institution for their new first mortgages and provide documentation of the losses suffered. General information about the Program can be found at https://www.cusys.edu/academicaffairs/documents/FHAP-description.pdf.
Faculty members with existing shared-appreciation loans through the university’s Faculty Housing Assistance Program should contact the Treasurer’s Office, 303-837-2182 or https://www.cu.edu/treasurer, if making major repairs or improvements due to the recent floods. If expenditures qualify as capital improvements, these expenditures could reduce the amount owed to the university when the existing loans are repaid.
Enrollment extended for all benefits
Understanding that many employees were in the midst of their benefits enrollment period when the flooding occurred, the university has arranged an enrollment extension for all benefits.
Accommodations for using CU Health Plans
Employees directly affected by the floods and enrolled in health plans administered by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield may take advantage of the following services:
These medical and pharmacy guidelines are effective for the next 30 days. For additional questions, members should call the phone number on the back of their membership card. If employees do not have their card or need replacement cards, call 1-800-735-6072.
As of Sept. 16, all Kaiser Permanente medical offices are open in Colorado to serve CU Health Plan members. Additional resources:
Distributions from Pension and Savings plans
Several university pension and savings plans allow for plan loans or hardship distributions, which may be helpful as employees rebuild and repair.
University of Colorado 403(b) Plan
Plan Loans are available only from annuity contracts with TIAA-CREF, MetLife or VALIC, under the following terms and conditions:
Hardship distributions are available under the following terms and conditions:
Regular distributions are available if terminated from employment or if over age 59.5; employees should contact their investment vendor to begin the distribution process.
If an employee has made rollover contributions into the 403(b) Plan, such contributions are eligible for distribution at any time.
Please note that regular distributions, hardship distributions and a distribution of prior rollover contributions made into the plan are includable in income, and are subject to the 10 percent early withdrawal tax penalty if made to an active employee who is not yet age 59.5 or to a former employee who separated from service with the university prior to attaining age 55.
PERA 401(k) Plan
Plan loans are available under the PERA 401(k) Plan under terms and conditions similar to under the university’s 403(b) Plan discussed above.
Hardship withdrawals are available under the PERA 401(k) Plan under terms and conditions similar to under the university’s 403(b) Plan discussed.
Regular distributions are available if terminated from employment or if over age 59.5. For more information regarding available plan loans and distributions from the PERA 401(k) Plan, employees should contact PERA directly at 1-800-759-7372, because the university does not administer the PERA 401(k) Plan.
PERA 457 Plan
Plan loans are available under the PERA 457 Plan under terms and conditions similar to those under the university’s 403(b) Plan discussed above.
Hardship withdrawals (referred to as “unforeseeable emergency withdrawals”) are available under the PERA 457 Plan under terms and conditions similar to those under the university’s 403(b) Plan discussed above.
Regular distributions are available only if terminated from PERA employment. For more information regarding available plan loans and distributions from the PERA 457 Plan, employees should contact PERA directly at 1-800-759-7372, because the university does not administer the PERA 457 Plan.
If you have questions about using these services, please contact the Employee Services benefits professionals at 303-860-4200 or toll-free at 1-855-216-7740, and select option 3.