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Union member gets help from Union Plus Disability Grant

Posted on July 8, 2013
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Having grown up on one of the many farms that blanket much of the state, Kurt Stewart, of Malcolm, NE, possesses a strong work ethic that few can match. For 25 years, his dedication has served him well with the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 286. But when an illness temporarily forced Stewart off the job, he was relieved to learn that union benefits, including a Union Plus Disability Grant, continued working for him even when he couldn't.

"It's a tough situation when you're not able to work. Money gets tight, and the stress level is already high because you're dealing with health concerns," says Stewart who received $1,250 in assistance. "The Union Plus Disability Grant was a big help. Even though I have been in the union for a long time, I never knew that financial grants were available to union members who carry the Union Plus Credit Card. I was skeptical that we would actually get help and was surprised when the check arrived in the mail."

Union Plus Credit Card cardholders who are unable to work due to illness or injury may be eligible for a Union Plus Disability Grant of up to $2,700.

Stewart, a counter operator at a local manufacturing plant and an activist with his union, was out of work for about seven months last year due to an illness. And he knows first-hand just how quickly being off the job can take a toll on a family's finances. In addition to last year's illness-related absence, Stewart was off the job in 2006 when his union was on strike for four months.

"It's never easy to be out of work when you have a family to support but I'm glad that I've always had solid job security. For 25 years the union has provided me with a good job, with good benefits. The Union Plus Disability Grant is another example of how the union looks out for its members," says Stewart, who earlier this year returned to his union job at a Goodyear subsidiary that produces automotive parts.

Financial Assistance Available from Union Plus

Union members who have had the Union Plus Credit Card for 3 months, have been out of work for at least 90 days, and who experienced a loss of 25 percent or more of household income due to the illness or disability within the past six months may be eligible for disability assistance. 

Other help available to union members participating in the Union Plus Credit Card, Insurance or Mortgage program includes:

  • Hospital Care Grants of $1,200 to help members cope with large, out-of-pocket hospital expenses.
  • Grants of $300 for Union Plus Credit Card holders dealing with a recent job loss or strike.
  • Mortgage Assistance to help Union Plus Mortgage holders, who are unemployed, disabled, or out on strike, make their mortgage payments.

Visit UnionPlus.org/Assistance for more information on grants that are available.


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Help if you don’t know your union

Your union membership dictates which Union Plus benefits you are eligible to use.

  1. What your national union’s name (not just your local number)? Scroll through the list we have to see if you recognize your union.
  2. What type of work do you do (select your occupation)?
  3. Do you have a union member card or union publication/letter that shows the name of your union? Find something with the name of your union, not just a local number.
  4. Is there a shop steward or work colleague you can ask what the name of your union is? You can even ask your human resources department to tell you the full name of your union?
  5. Do you have a Union Plus Credit Card? If so, the name and logo for your international union should appear on the front of the card.

Union Plus Credit Card

Union members are automatically eligible for their union's Union Plus benefits and you do not need to be a Union Plus Credit Cardholder in order to access your union's Union Plus benefits.

But - if you are a Union Plus Credit Cardholder, you could be eligible for additional discounts.