Members assigned to VISTA positions play the unique role of helping organizations build capacity in order to help address poverty. These members serve "behind the scenes" helping organizations with activities such as program development, grant writing, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and community outreach.
Below are brief descriptions of benefits associated with our program. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our VISTA Team Leader for more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upon assignment as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, you will begin receiving a living allowance. The Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) determines the living allowance rate, which varies according to the local cost of living in the area where you serve. Members receive a $911.40 living allowance per month, with certain standard deductions (social security, income tax, etc.). Member living allowances are computed on a daily rate and paid every other week. Living allowance payments cover a 14-day period. Direct deposit payments to AmeriCorps VISTA members are made five days after the pay period ends.
Many AmeriCorps VISTA members move to a new community for their VISTA service. If you are one of them, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance from the VISTA program for the move. Relocation Assistance is financial support intended to help defray the costs associated with establishing yourself in a new community for VISTA service, but it may not cover all expenses or alleviate all inconveniences associated with the move. Relocation Assistance consists of a Relocation Travel Allowance and a Settling-In Allowance. Relocation Travel Allowance: This allowance is based on the direct mileage between your home address and your VISTA service site. The allowance is calculated at $0.34 per mile, up to a maximum of $1,000, and is paid six to eight weeks after you submit a relocation voucher. Settling-In Allowance: This one-time payment of $550 is intended to help cover initial settling-in costs, such as utility deposits and rental application fees. The allowance is automatically included in your first living allowance payment. (Please note that federal taxes are deducted from your settling-in allowance but state and local taxes are not. You must pay state and local taxes on this allowance come tax time.) Direct deposit is required of all members.
Members are expected to serve a minimum of 40 hours a week. Members are allowed 10 personal days & 10 sick days. AmeriCorps VISTA members enjoy the national holidays that are recognized by their sponsoring organization and/or service site. Make A Difference Day and Martin Luther King Day are service project days that you are required to attend. These service projects can fall on a weekend or holiday (MLK Day).
As an AmeriCorps VISTA member, you are covered by the AmeriCorps VISTA Healthcare Benefits Program for the duration of your service term. Under the Affordable Care Act, all Americans, including VISTAs, are required to have health insurance; therefore, you are expected to have health insurance when you become an AmeriCorps VISTA member, unless you are exempt from this requirement. The VISTA healthcare program provides a benefit to all of its members at little to no cost. Although an excellent support for most VISTAs, the healthcare benefit program is not insurance and does not satisfy the individual responsibility requirement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Upon completing a successful term of service, members earn a $5,815 education award. The amount of the education award is directly tied to the maximum amount of the Federal Pell Grant. A maximum of two education awards can be earned in a lifetime. You may use your education award to pay off current student loans, but they must be federally funded. Please check with your loan holders to see if you can use the education award on them. If you are 55 or older, you may be able to gift your award to a child or grandchild. Be aware that some consolidated loans may not be covered by the award. Your award may also be used toward future education at any educational institution accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. The award must be used within seven years of its receipt. The award is taxable in the year in which it is used; however, it may be taxed less if used during a year in which you have a relatively low income. Some schools will match the education award, either in part or even fully. Loan Deferment/Forbearance Members are eligible to put their qualified loans into forbearance during their term of service. It is a good idea to contact all your loan lenders to make sure you can receive forbearance during your term of service with AmeriCorps. After your service term has started, you will fill out an online form for each of your loans to put them into forbearance. We highly recommend you contact all your loan lenders to let them know what you will be up to in the coming year. AmeriCorps will pay interest that accrues on qualified school loans during a member's term of service. The payment will be made after the member successfully completes the term of service. This payment is counted as taxable income.