Restaurant Employee Relief Fund

FAQs : Application Information

The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (“Fund”) was created to help restaurant industry employees experiencing extraordinary hardship in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Through this Fund, grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, including a decrease in wages or loss of employment.

The following questions and answers are intended to help applicants understand what is involved in applying for aid from this Fund. If you have additional questions, please use the contact form below to send us a message.

I am registered. When will I receive the invitation to complete my application?

All 60,000 individuals who registered to apply to the Fund have now been invited to complete their applications. If you previously registered and do not believe you have received your email invitation yet, please check your clutter, junk, and spam folders for automated emails from either of these addresses: or

If you still cannot locate your invitation, please email us at for assistance and include the email verifying your registration.

In what order are applications reviewed?

Applications receive an initial review in the order in which they were received. Applications that can be immediately approved are moved forward and grants are awarded. Applications with errors, omissions, or documentation issues are held for further, more detailed review. This will result in some applications taking longer to finalize than others.

Who should apply for aid?

Funds will be available for restaurant and foodservice employees who can demonstrate that they:

  • Worked on a part- or full-time basis in the restaurant industry for at least 90 days in the past year; and
  • Have had a primary source of income in the restaurant industry for the last year; and
  • Have experienced a decrease in needed wages or loss of job on or after March 10, 2020 that results in a lack of resources to pay for essential expenses; and
  • Live in the United States, an overseas U.S. military base, or any U.S. territory*; and
  • Are over the age of legal majority in their U.S. state or territory; and
  • Meet other requirements demonstrating financial need as determined by the NRAEF.

* Depending upon the terms of certain contributions to the Fund, certain amounts may only be available for distribution in limited geographic areas.

Individuals related to employees or board members of the National Restaurant Association or National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation ARE NOT eligible for grants. All grants are made at the discretion of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

All grants will be made in the NRAEF’s sole discretion, and the NRAEF reserves the right to change eligibility requirements at any time based on changing conditions and in accordance with tax rules.

Additional questions regarding eligibility? Contact us at:

What documentation will I need to provide with my application?

In addition to completing the application, applicants will need to provide and upload the following:

  • A pay stub dated before December 10, 2019 which shows:
    • Your name
    • Your employer’s name
    • Employment beginning prior to December 10, 2019
    • Hours and/or Amount Year to Date (YTD)

AND, one of the following to demonstrate a significant decrease in income:


  • A pay stub dated after March 10, 2020 which shows:
    • Your name
    • Your employer’s name
    • Date on or after March 10, 2020
    • Hours and/or Amount Year to Date (YTD)
    • Demonstrates a significant decrease in income from the first paystub


  • In lieu of a second pay stub, applicants can also upload a notice or letter of termination or a claim for unemployment dated after March 10, 2020 that must show:
    • Your name
    • Employer’s name
    • Date of termination


  • A claim or proof of unemployment benefits that shows:
    • Your name
    • Date of claim

Can I submit a W2 instead of a pay stub?

We use the pay stubs to verify decreased work hours or loss of job. Because of this, we are not able to accept a W2 at this time.

Will I need to provide my Social Security Number (SSN)?

You do not need to provide a Social Security Number (SSN) to apply.

When will I know if I am awarded?

You should receive an email within 2 to 4 weeks of application submission.

When should I expect the funds?

If awarded, funds will be disbursed to the applicant within three to four (3-4) weeks of receiving notification of award pending availability of funding. Because this program is funded through donations, there may be times when we will put applicants on a waitlist for available funding and will send the grant funds out as soon as funding is received.

How will funds be sent?

Funds will be sent via check to the address provided in the application and made out directly to the applicant. Feel free to contact us at if you have been awarded and need an update on the status of your funds.

Will I need to pay this back?

No! If awarded, the funds are yours to use to help cover the cost of any of the following:

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Car payments / transportation costs
  • Utility bills
  • Student loan payments
  • Child care
  • Groceries
  • Medical bills

Are these funds considered taxable income?

Reporting requirements and taxation may differ between individuals and their specific situations. We strongly recommend checking in with a tax professional, e.g. a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), tax lawyer, or tax preparation service, for guidance on how to report a receipt of grant funds when filing taxes.

Does receiving these funds affect my unemployment benefits?

Please check with your local benefits office or case worker if you have questions on whether receiving grant funds affects your current or pending benefits claims.

How will I hear from you?

All communications regarding the RERF will be sent via email from either of these addresses: or

If you are expecting a response from us, please add these addresses to your contacts and check your clutter, junk, and spam folders, periodically. 

Why can’t I deposit my RERF check by mobile deposit through my bank?

The check you received is valid. Mobile deposit apps may sometimes have issues reading some checks, causing error messages like “already deposited” or “zero balance”. Please contact your bank directly for help on resolving issues with mobile deposit.

Where can I find additional sources of aid for restaurant workers?

Please see this “Hospitality Relief Dashboard” (external link) for a portal of many links to help and support for the culinary, foodservice, and hospitality industries. 

About Us

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund

Through the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s community support, training and education, and career development efforts. Learn more at:

Tax Information

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to the NRAEF are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Our tax identification number is 36-6103388.

For assistance or more information, please contact us.

Get in Touch!

Please contact us if you have any questions, comments, stories to share, or need assistance making a donation or applying for a relief grant. We will do our best to get back to you, as soon as possible!

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, 2055 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20036

Call Us: 800.809.6032

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