Fitness Benefit Reimbursement Frequently Asked Questions

HSPH Fitness Benefit Reimbursement Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the HSPH Fitness Benefit?

A: The HSPH fitness benefit provides financial assistance to faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows who wish to enhance their well being through physical activity at a health club. For a complete list of what memberships are covered, please view the List of Eligible Memberships page.


Q: Who is eligible?

A: Benefits-eligible faculty, staff and postdoctoral members on the regular HSPH payroll who work at least 17.5 hours per week are eligible after one year of HSPH employment. Since not all faculty and postdoctoral fellows are eligible for the benefit, you should check with Sarah Keeping, HR Assistant, at before submitting an application for reimbursement.

Q: What is the amount of reimbursement?

A: Your maximum benefit for the year is dependent on your years of service at Harvard, according to the following schedule:

Less than 1 year: not eligible

Between 1 – 5 years: $350.00

5 or more years: $550.00

Q: How many times can I apply for the fitness benefit per fiscal year?

A: You may submit no more than two reimbursement requests within a fiscal year. For example:

HSPH Service: 8 years
Maximum benefit: $550.00
Application 1: $250.00
Application 2: $300.00
Total reimbursement: $550.00

Q. I submitted a fitness benefit application form for the amount of $350.00, but I have not yet received it. What do I do?

A: First, log on to “PeopleSoft Employee Self Service”. Click on “view paycheck”, then click on “view a different paycheck” (located on the top right hand side of your paycheck). This reimbursement appears as a separate line. This amount will be larger than your requested reimbursement because the amount is grossed up so that you receive the full benefit after taxes.

Please note that if you have multiple direct deposit accounts set up in PeopleSoft, your reimbursement amount will be allocated accordingly. If you do not see the bonus payment you should contact Sarah Keeping, HR Assistant, at so that the matter may be investigated.

The fitness benefit reimbursement takes approximately four to six weeks to process. If you turn in your reimbursement in June or the beginning of July, the full process can take up to eight weeks.


Q. I don’t like to share my credit card or bank statement information, what do I do?

A. We do require itemized receipts. For more information on the type of information required on your receipt, please visit our Receipt Criteria page.


Q: Is the fitness benefit based on a calendar year or fiscal year?

A: The fitness benefit is based on the fiscal year. When submitting the appropriate materials for reimbursement, all checks, invoices and receipts must be dated between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014 to be eligible for the FY2014 fitness reimbursement and submitted to the HSPH Human Resources department by July 15, 2014.


Q: What items are eligible for reimbursement under the fitness benefit?

A: Individual or family memberships to a health club such as the Harvard Athletic facilities, Vanderbilt Gym, YMCA, or Healthworks. For a full list of eligible health clubs, please visit our List of Eligible Memberships. If an item is not listed, it will not be reimbursed during FY2013.

Q: If I made a purchase in a prior fiscal year, may I get reimbursed for that purchase in this fiscal year?

A: No. You may only be reimbursed for services and items purchased in the current fiscal year (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013).


Q: How do I apply for the fitness benefit reimbursement?

A: Submit a fitness benefit application form for the 2013 fiscal year (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013), an original receipt, with detailed items need to be listed. Cash purchases will continue to be reimbursed for FY2013.  Please view the FY2013 Criteria for HSPH Fitness Benefit Receipts to make sure all guidelines are met.

Send the application and proof of payment to Sarah Keeping in HSPH Human Resources, 90 Smith Street, Suite 141 for approval. Once approved, the Office of Financial Services will process the reimbursement, and you can expect reimbursement in approximately four to six weeks (up to eight weeks if you submit your reimbursement form at the end of June or beginning of July). Your reimbursement will be included in your payroll check.

Please Note: Original receipts, invoices, canceled checks, etc. are accepted and are not returned, so please be sure to make a copy for your records before submitting.


Q: Where can I get the fitness benefit application forms?

A: You can download the Fitness Benefit Reimbursement Form here. If you have any problems downloading the application, please contact Sarah Keeping, HR Assistant, at


Q: I was unable to take advantage of the fitness benefit last year and the year before that. Can my benefit be accrued and carried over to this year?

A: No. The benefit is not carried over from fiscal year to fiscal year.


Q: I just joined the Vanderbilt Hall Gym and would like to submit a fitness benefit application form to be reimbursed. I will be paying for my membership through payroll deduction. What do I need for reimbursement?

A: You can purchase a Vanderbilt Hall Gym membership through payroll deduction or by check or credit/debit card. If you pay by check or credit/debit card, you will need to submit a fitness benefit application form with proof of payment and send to HSPH Human Resources for approval. If you choose to pay for your membership through payroll deduction you must wait until the year ends to submit payment as the fitness benefit is a reimbursement benefit for paid services and equipment.


Q: I lost my receipt for gym membership; what do I do?

A: Ask someone in the business office of your gym to write a letter on their letterhead stating how much you paid and date of payment. If you’ve had fees withdrawn from your checking account, ask them to include in the letter the following information: your name and address, date you paid, amount paid, frequency (whether monthly, weekly, etc.), and the total amount paid.


Q: I prepaid for a health club membership for fiscal year 2012 – 2013, but I made the actual payment on June 20, 2012. Can I be reimbursed for the next fiscal year since I’ll be using the membership during that time?

A: Yes. If the health club membership states on the receipt it is for the next year, but purchased at the end of June, we will honor it for the next year. Proper receipt is required and this assumes it was not reimbursed for the prior fiscal year.


Q: I have bought a family membership to the YMCA. Can I be reimbursed for all of this or am I just authorized for reimbursement for my own use?

A: You can use the fitness benefit to pay for your family’s membership at a health club. However, it must be a family membership. All other fitness items and services are available for reimbursement to HSPH benefits-eligible employees only.


Q: How are applications reviewed and by whom?

A: The fitness applications are reviewed by HSPH Human Resources. After approval, they are sent to Financial Services for processing. Payments are processed as additional pay compensation. Reimbursement takes approximately four to six weeks. If your form is submitted at the end of June or beginning of July, the process may take up to eight weeks.


Q: I am an HSPH employee who transferred from the Graduate School of Education (GSE) to HSPH. I had five years of service at GSE and I have been employed with HSPH for one year. I did not have a break in service when I transferred. What is my maximum benefit for the year?

A: Your maximum benefit for the year will be based on your benefits-eligible service at Harvard University, not just HSPH. Because there was not a break in service when you transferred you are eligible to receive up to $550.00. If you have had a break in service or if you are a transfer, please contact HSPH Human Resources to confirm your total years of service before submitting the application for an amount over $350.00. Please note that regardless of your years of service at another school in Harvard University, if you are new to HSPH, you must complete one year of service at HSPH before participating in the benefit.

Q: I recently began a new position at HSPH after 8 years of benefits-eligible employment at Harvard Medical School. How do I begin participating in the Fitness Benefit program?

A: After you have completed one year of service at HSPH, you may submit the form and paperwork required to apply for reimbursement of eligible fitness memberships. As you have completed more than five years of benefits-eligible service, you can apply for up to $550 to be reimbursed.