Much has changed in the 97 years since the TBF was founded, so adjustments in benefits come as no surprise.
Founded in 1923, the Transport Benevolent Fund CIO (TBF) has been providing help and support to those working in the public transport industry for 97 years. Many things have changed since then, and today’s 67,000 members have needs that are very different from when the charity was founded.
As a result, the transport industry charity has decided to make some significant changes to the range of benefits that it offers to its members.
TBF chief executive officer John Sheehy explained: “Even before we were all dealing with the devastating effect of Covid-19, it is a sad fact that, in modern Britain, there are cases of need, hardship, and distress amongst those working within the industry. This is best illustrated by the fact that, during the past 12 months, the Fund has paid more than £2.8 million in awards to its members.”
Changes to benefits
There is no doubt that, in the current challenging times, there are going to be even more instances of need, hardship and distress amongst those working within the industry. To try and ease this need, the TBF’s trustees have agreed to an increase in the amount of benefit payable for the wide range of complementary and alternative therapies available to Fund members.
John continued: “Later in the year, each TBF member, their partner and dependent children will have access to two different types of therapies in a rolling 12 month period, as is the case now, but the amount for each will be raised to £300. Of course, the ability to access these therapies will be dependent on social distancing guidelines at the time.
“The trustees have also had to make the very difficult decision of no longer offering massage as a benefit. Sometime ago, office-based staff discovered a series of attempted fraudulent claims for massage; these are not always easy to detect. This has created a hugely increased workload as members of the claims staff have to double-check the validity of every single request and this situation is no longer workable.
“Our principal concern is to ensure that beneficiaries who are off sick and experiencing hardship receive their grants on time. Therefore, as from 1 September 2020, massage will no longer be offered as a benefit, although members with a massage benefit claim already open at that date will continue to receive reimbursement until the full £250 allowance is exhausted.
“We will, of course, continue to offer chiropractic and osteopathy treatments and physiotherapy, so members will have other options for treatment if the need should arise.
“The budget allocated for the massage benefit will now be redistributed within the sickness hardship grant budget and other therapy treatments,” John explained.
Keeping the wheels turning
Many TBF members have been working through the current crisis, helping to keep the wheels of the public transport industry turning to support the country’s key workers during these difficult times.
John said: “The TBF team works tirelessly to help members and their dependants who find themselves in situations of genuine need and to help improve members’ work-life balance and reduce staff turnover for the employer.”