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31 March 2020: Coronavirus Update. The situation is fast moving and we are continuing to monitor the global situation and its impact on our members, staff, exam candidates, students and the profession. More information for Members and Students in My CIMA.

Applying for assistance

Supporting members and their families in times of need

CIMA Benevolent Fund is a unique charity set up and funded by CIMA members specifically to help members and their families who are going through hard times. CIMA members and their families are as vulnerable as anyone else to life’s difficulties and unexpected misfortunes. The Fund responds quickly to meet individuals’ needs.

Here we answer a few questions frequently asked by individuals considering applying for Fund assistance.

Who does CIMA Benevolent Fund help?

The Fund is there to assist fully CGMA-qualified members of CIMA and their partners or other dependants who are in difficulties. As well as active, current members it can help former members who have retired or whose membership has lapsed for other reasons. It can also assist the partners and dependants of members.

To be successful, an applicant must demonstrate that they are in financial need. In assessing need, the Benevolent Fund Committee, which is responsible for decisions on individual applications, takes into account an applicant’s income (actual and potential) from all other sources (including welfare benefits and pensions), their savings and any exceptional needs arising from, for example, illness, injury or disability.

The Fund is unable to assist student members.

What hardship situations qualify for help?

Successful applicants have fallen into difficulties for a wide range of reasons. For example:

  • They may be unable to work due to a serious illness or injury.
  • They or a family member may require urgent medical treatment which is not publicly funded and they cannot afford.
  • A household breadwinner may be made redundant.
  • A household member may need expensive equipment, such as mobility aids, to help with a disability.
  • They may need expensive but essential household items, such as replacing a worn out gas boiler, but find themselves unable to cover the cost out of their own resources.

What types of help does CIMA Benevolent Fund give?

The Fund offers support tailored to an individual’s needs. For example:

  • basic living expenses to ensure that the recipient is able to maintain an acceptable standard of living
  • mobility and other aids and home adaptations for people with disabilities
  • essential household items
  • holidays and carers’ respite breaks
  • medical treatments and therapies which are not available free of charge
  • supporting dependants through higher education
  • the cost of further professional training where assistance of this type would be likely to relieve already existing financial hardship and
  • arrears on priority bills (such as rent, domestic heating, council tax) which pose a serious threat to the well-being of the applicant
  • referral to an outplacement organisation if the applicant is experiencing problems finding work

Sometimes, the Fund will refer an applicant to other sources of advice and support.

The Fund does not usually help with:

  • clearing credit card and other non-priority debts
  • school fees where school education is available free of charge
  • medical treatment where this is available free of charge and without undue delay
  • legal costs (other than bankruptcy fees) and
  • business and career development costs.

How do I apply for assistance?

Before you start the formal application process, you may want to contact the Manager, Benevolent Fund, who is always happy to discuss a possible application informally. She can be contacted at CIMA’s Helicon address or at benevolent.fund@aicpa-cima.com.

You will need to fill in an application form. There are different forms for UK residents and for applicants from outside the UK. We have also provided some guidance notes on completing the form.

If you prefer a hard copy of the form, please contact the Manager, Benevolent Fund, You should return the completed and signed form, together with supporting documents (see the guidance notes on filling in the form) to the Manager, Benevolent Fund.

If you live in the UK or Republic of Ireland and need help completing the form, the Fund’s local rep in your area could assist you.

What happens then to my application?

The Manager, Benevolent Fund, will contact you to acknowledge receipt of your form and, almost certainly, to ask for further information about your circumstances in order to get a clearer picture of your situation. She will then put your request to the Benevolent Fund Committee for its decision. In between Committee meetings, the Committee Chair has authority to make discretionary grants. This means that you should receive a decision in a relatively short time, usually of only a week or two.

Are applications confidential?

The only people who know the identity of an applicant are the Manager, Benevolent Fund, CIMA staff processing any grant payments and the local rep if they meet with the individual. No other CIMA staff know the identity of applicants. Cases are presented to the Benevolent Fund Committee on an anonymized basis. Application forms and other personal data are stored securely and separately from the Institute’s database.

For more information about how the personal data of applicants is processed see the Benevolent Fund’s Privacy Statement.

What if I am unhappy with the decision on my application?

You may appeal against the decision in writing to CIMA Council.