Many East Tennesseans who donated to the fund reached out to 10Listens with questions about exactly how the fund works.
The Gatlinburg Relief Fund is separate from Dolly Parton's "My People Fund."
Parton's fund helps people who lost their home in the fires. The Gatlinburg Relief Fund goes directly to both employees of business destroyed and the families of those who died in fires.
To determine eligibility for the fund, the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce compiled a list of destroyed businesses with help from the City of Gatlinburg and the Sevier County geographic information system office. According to Gatlinburg Chamber president Mark Adams, when additional businesses were identified, they were added to the list.
Individual people did not need to apply for assistance. The chamber relied on the employers to supply the names of their employees.
Around 250 employees from 51 businesses will receive $1,000 per month for three months.
The Sevier County Medical Examiner's office is providing the names of those who died in the fire.
Families of those who died will receive $25,000 per loss of life.
One body remains unidentified, but the chamber could not confirm if the family of Pam Johnson, who is still missing after the fire, will benefit from the fund.
Checks will be distributed at the Chamber of Commerce office. A chamber staff person will contact recipients directly to arrange a pick up time. Recipients must provide identification and sign for the checks.
Tax wise, money from the fund is categorized as a gift. Tennessee repealed its gift tax in 2012, but recipients may still have to pay federal taxes on the money they receive.
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