More support for JHU employees during COVID-19

June 19, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

Johns Hopkins University employees have shown incredible strength and compassion as we have all faced the significant and far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have been gratified to see how you support each other, care for your families, and give back to your communities. I also know that many people are facing challenges they could not have forseen a few months ago, and JHU is committed to offering a number of resources that can help.

COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

A new addition to JHU’s support services is the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to assist employees with greatest financial need who are facing challenges brought about by the pandemic, such as health care needs, disruptions in work and child care situations, and family obligations.

Starting immediately the fund will offer up to $1,000 in tax-free grants on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible employees to offset expenses related to COVID-19. Third-party contractors working at JHU who meet the requirements will also be eligible for grants of up to $1,000.

Grant recipients must be full-time university employees or contractors earning $50,000 or less per year and have one year of service at JHU.

In order to meet Internal Revenue Code requirements, all eligible expenses must have been incurred after March 13, 2020, and must be reasonable and necessary costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Documentation of the expenses will be necessary.

Examples of eligible expenses are:

  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses (including mental health and wellness) not covered by health insurance if COVID-19 related
  • Child care and/or tutoring expenses due to school closings
  • Elder care support if COVID-19 related
  • Expenses related to a death in the immediate family if COVID-19 related
  • Support of dependent education during the COVID-19 crisis for grades K-12 (e.g., additional hardware or internet costs)
  • Additional transportation expenses (e.g., work relocation, change in mode of transportation to avoid public transit, etc.)
  • Transportation and living expenses for college students returning early

More information is on HR’s COVID-19 information page under the Financial Resources header. If you are eligible, an application link will appear on your personal enrollment page, which you can reach by going to the HR website’s Benefits & Worklife page, clicking on the myChoices Health & Life Enrollment header, and then clicking the View My Benefits link. Questions can be directed to the Benefits Service Center at 410-516-2000 or

Additional Financial Resources

In addition to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, JHU has several other resources for employees who may be suffering financial hardship during these uncertain times.

  • 403(b) Loans and Withdrawals. The university has adopted important changes for the 403(b) plans that are permitted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Those who qualify may withdraw some funds without penalty or defer payments on an outstanding loan. Details are on HR’s COVID-19 information page under the Financial Resources header, or employees can reach out to their retirement provider(s): Fidelity, or 1-800-343-0860; TIAA, or 1-800-732-8353; Vanguard,
  • Free Financial Counseling. The mySupport program offers 30 minutes of financial counseling at no cost, tax consultations by phone, referrals to community resources, and helpful articles and tools for understanding financial issues.
  • Emergency Loans. The university also offers emergency loans through its Financial Assistance Program in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Federal Credit Union. More information can be found in the application packet.

More resources related to working from home, supporting your health and well-being, and accessing mySupport for mental health needs are on HR’s COVID-19 information page.

I hope you will take advantage of the assistance we can offer if you are in need and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.


Heidi Conway
Vice President for Human Resources