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Welfare funds reimbursement

Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:30 pm
by quicky
A Bishop in one of our wards did not know how to write a check to a landlord in a fast-offering emergency situation. Late at night, many miles from the church bldg., etc. At any rate, he paid the landlord from his own checkbook.

He says he will eat the expense rather than trigger some kind of problem with a fast-offering reimbursement to himself. Any advice? Thanks, KQ

Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:41 pm
by jdlessley
I have seen this happen before. A bishop lends emergency financial assistance with his own funds and then seeks reimbursement. Since this involves the bishop directly and fast offering funds, the stake president has to be involved. It can be done but documentation of the entire situation is very important.

First the bishop needs to have a receipt or invoice for the payment he made from his personal funds. For this situation just a lease agreement is not sufficient by itself since the bishop most likely is not listed on that lease. The receipt or invoice establishes that the bishop paid rent for and on behalf of someone else. The receipt would have the check number (optional), the amount of the check, the date, the beneficiary of the payment, the payee (landlord), and the purpose (rent payment). The lease agreement could be attached to verify the need for the payment but is not necessary in this situation.

With the supporting documentation described above the bishop fills out a reimbursement request for fast offering funds and signs it as the requestor. It would not hurt to make a statement on the request that the payment to the landlord was an emergency and that personal funds were used. The fast offering assistance beneficiary should be included on the reimbursement request. It would not hurt for the beneficiary to also sign the reimbursement request. The stake president then signs as the approver instead of the bishop. The check is then cut from the fast offering category to the bishop as the payee instead of the landlord. The bishop can not be one of the signers of the check since he is the payee.

Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:37 pm
by crislapi
In my opinion, he should not just eat it. This will not trigger problems with the fast offering reimbursement so long as there is documentation. There is an audit question that asks if any fast-offering assistance provided to the bishop was approved by the stake president. This isn't really assistance, it's reimbursing. Still, I'd bring the stake president in on it so he is aware, but I see no issue with reimbursing the bishop from the fast offering account.

If you're really worried about it, you could cut the check to the landlord for the next month's rent and have the member pay next month's rent to the bishop, thereby reimbursing him without paying him directly from fast offering funds. A little more questionable, though, if you ask me.