Archive for FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

got Cancer? meet CancerCare

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Despite the fact that CancerCare is a national organization providing free support services to anyone affected by cancer in the US and Puerto Rico, not everyone knows about them or about the amazing assistance they offer.  Candidly, I wish I had known about them when we were battling my husband’s cancer.

CancerCare literally helps anyone touched by cancer, and I mean A-N-Y-O-N-E -patients, caregivers, survivors, family and even friends.   Services include free individual counseling, free support groups, free resource referrals, free meals, financial assistance and even the ability to connect with leading cancer experts.

 

FREE Counseling Services

CancerCare‘s free counseling is available over the telephone, online or in person. All support groups are led by masters level oncology social workers and allow participants to connect and identify with others in similar situations.

  • In-person groups are held at CancerCare offices in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. If people don’t live in these areas, CancerCare will help them find face-to-face support groups in their community.
  • Password-protected online support groups can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Telephone support groups connect people with others from across the country who share similar concerns. Regularly scheduled, one-hour sessions take place over six weeks.

To learn more about CancerCare‘s support groups or to register for one, visit www.cancercare.org/support_groups or call 800-813-hope (4673).

 

Connect with a Leading Oncology Expert

CancerCare Connect Education Workshops share the latest information from leading oncology experts. Like all of CancerCare’s services, these one-hour workshops are completely free of charge.  Registrants can listen in live over the phone or online as a webcast.  Topics range from latest advances in specific cancer types to understanding the Affordable Care Act to practical advice for caregivers and so much more.

To see the upcoming schedule of workshops, click HERE.  To listen to past workshops, click HERE.

 

Financial Assistance

In addition to the emotional stress and anxiety that a diagnosis of cancer brings, the financial implications can become burdensome.  Co-pays for chemotherapy, RXs, tests and office visits as well as OTC meds add up quickly.  Other cancer-related costs include travel expenses like gas and parking fees at doctor’s offices; paying for childcare coverage during treatments; the list goes on and on.  Some people even have to stop working during their treatment or the treatment of their child.  Out-of-pocket expenses can put people into debt or make it nearly impossible for them to follow or complete their cancer treatment plan.

CancerCare offers financial assistance for cancer-related costs such as:

  • Transportation to and from cancer treatment
  • Home care
  • Child care
  • Pain medications
  • Lymphedema supplies (breast cancer only)

Check the CancerCare website for specific requirements and grants.  Please note:  If CancerCare does not currently have funding to assist your specific situation, their professional oncology social workers will work to refer you to other financial assistance resources. 

Also check out the CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation which helps people afford co-payments for chemotherapy and targeted treatment drugs.  To learn more, visit www.cancercarecopay.org.

Meal Assistance

CancerCare partners with Magnolia Meals at Home™, a meal delivery program that helps patients by providing nourishing meals to households affected by breast cancer so that loved ones can spend more quality time together.  This program is currently available in and around Woodcliff Lake, NJ, Andover, MA and Raleigh-Durham, NC as well as areas in New York, New Hampshire and Boston, MA. Eligible participants will receive up to two months of home meal deliveries, each of which will include ten meals and up to ten additional meals for their family members, if requested by the participant.  Visit the Magnolia Meals at Home website for more information.

 

The bottomline:  CancerCare social workers are well trained and experienced in helping patients and their families find the resources and support they need to cope with cancer… free of charge.  So if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, connect with CancerCare… they can offer help and hope.  

The 411 on Cancer Immunotherapy

 

One of the most promising areas in cancer research and precision medicine today is “Immunotherapy.  Credited as the first therapy ever proven to extend the lives of patients with metastatic melanoma, immunotherapy is changing the way some cancers are treated.

 

Here’s the dealio (as my daughter always says)…  Immunotherapy refers to a class of treatments that use the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer.  Some treatments boost the body’s immune system in a very general way, while others help train the immune system to attack cancer cells specifically.  Today, most people who receive immunotherapy have cancers that are advanced. Their cancers have either recurred and spread after primary treatment, or were diagnosed in an advanced stage.  Often times, patients receiving immunotherapy treatments are enrolled in a clinical trial.

 

Because immunotherapy is a rapidly evolving field, understanding the “basics”  can be complicated and confusing.  One of the best resources I’ve found to help explain the complexities of immunotherapy is the Cancer Support Community’s  new program… Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Your Immune System & Cancer Treatment.  

 

Additionally, the Cancer Support Community is hosting several FREE webinars on immunotherapy for patients diagnosed with melanoma, leukemia, lymphoma and lung cancers.  “Immunotherapy Advances in Melanoma” is scheduled for September 9, 2014 at 6:30pm EST.

 

Other fantastic resources on immunotherapy include:

Cancer Research Institute

The Cancer Research Institute (CRI) is dedicated to advancing the immune system’s power to conquer all cancers. Click HERE to see brief statistics on specific cancers as well as an overview of the current and potential impact of immunotherapy for each cancer type. All content on this site has been reviewed and verified by experts in cancer immunotherapy.

 

TheAnswerToCancer.org

Great informational site for patients and caregivers who are interested in learning more about cancer immunotherapy as a treatment option.  Hear firsthand from patients who have benefitted from this novel approach to cancer treatment.  

 

Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Finder  

Many patients are not aware of opportunities to participate in clinical trials and may find it difficult to identify trials that may be appropriate for them.  The Cancer Research Institute has partnered with EmergingMed to provide the Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Finder, a tool designed to help patients quickly search for clinical trials that match their specific cancer diagnosis and treatment history.  

The Cancer Research Institute also has Clinical Trial Navigators available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST who can help you find personalized trial matches, connect with study sites, and answer many of your questions.  Simply call (toll-free) 1-855-216-0127.  This service is free and completely confidential.  

 

Lazarex Cancer Foundation  

If you need help navigating clinical trial options or financial assistance to attend a clinical trial, connect with Lazarex Cancer Foundation.  Lazarex can help with the costs associated with participating in a clinical trial, including:

  • Transportation (airfare, gas, rental cars, taxi fare, parking/tolls)
  • Lodging (short- and long-term housing)
  • Certain medical expenses not covered by insurance and necessary for clinical trial treatment.

 

A Brief History of Immunotherapy

In case you’re interested, Targeted Oncology (fantastic site for the latest news and insights from leading researchers and cancer centers) has a great article on the history of immunotherapy which dates back to the late 19th century.

 

Make sure to discuss any findings with your doctors and health care team.  Knowledge is power…

 

Financial Assistance from Walk In My Shoes Cancer Foundation

 

 

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and are having a hard time making ends meet, check out the Walk In My Shoes Foundation.

Walk In My Shoes Foundation assists cancer patients with paying rent, mortgages, utility bills, medication, purchasing gas cards, buying groceries, etc.  To qualify for assistance, which is based on availability, the following guidelines have been set:

  • Only patients undergoing cancer treatment are eligible for assistance.
  • Only bills in patient’s name are eligible for payment.
  • Maximum assistance is $500.00 per patient per calendar year.
  • First come first serve basis.
  • No income guidelines.
  • Men, women, children are welcome to apply regardless of type of cancer.
  • Cash will not be disbursed.

To apply, please complete the form on the Walk In My Shoes Foundation CONTACT US page or email them directly at info@walkinmyshoesfoundation.com.  Someone should contact you within 48 hours.

If You’ve Been Touched By Breast Cancer & Are Planning A Wedding, Read On…

Image credit:  123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: 123RF Stock Photo

 

It’s that time of year again when The Wedding Pink presents one couple whose lives have been recently touched by breast cancer with a FREE dream wedding, valued between $30,000- $40,000.  OMG! So amazing!!

 

Founder Cheryl Ungar is a 23-year breast cancer survivor and a wedding photographer.  She has put together an extraordinary team of some of Colorado’s top wedding vendors — all of whom have generously agreed to donate their services and products to ensure The Wedding Pink is a spectacular event for one very special couple.

 

Here’s the dealio (as my daughter always says)…  If your life has been recently touched by breast cancer (fyi, the experience is not limited to the bride, but could be with the bride or groom’s extended family member) AND are engaged or soon-to-be-engaged, you could be the lucky winner of this fairy tale wedding.

 

This year’s Wedding Pink will will take place May 15, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.  Applications are open to ANY legal resident of the US regardless of what state they live in.  Submissions will be open from August 1 – August 10.  The winning couple will be selected in early September 2014.  There are no income qualifications.  Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges.  To learn more about the submission criteria, click HERE.

Wishing you all a lifetime of health, love & happiness together….

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Cancer

 

Meet GUEST BLOGGER Ram Meyyappan. Ram is the senior editor and manager of the Social Security Disability Help website.  Social Security Disability Help contains information on how to apply for disability with over 400 conditions, helpful tips, FAQs along with an extensive disability glossary.

 

If you are a parent suffering from any type of cancer, the condition or the effects of the treatments you are undergoing may make it difficult to take care of your kids, let alone returning to work. In such cases, financial assistance may be available through one of the two Social Security Disability programs. There are two disability programs available to those who qualify under the SSA’s disability criteria. These include the SSI (Supplemental Security Income) program and the SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) program.

SSI

SSI is a needs-based program. In order to be eligible, you must be deemed disabled by the Social Security Administration and you must meet certain financial criteria. As of 2013, to qualify for SSI, you must not earn more than $710 as an individual or $1,060 as a couple. You must also not have assets that exceed $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 as a couple.

SSDI

Unlike SSI, SSDI is not a needs-based program. There are no financial criteria to meet. You must, however, have earned enough work credits through your previous work history. In order to have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, you must have worked five of the past ten years. If you are not old enough to have worked five of the past ten years, you need to have worked half of the time you were able to do so.

Cancer and Meeting the Medical Requirements

The SSA uses a manual called “the blue book” to evaluate whether or not a condition qualifies for disability benefits. Cancer is covered in Section 13 of the SSA’s blue book under Malignant Neoplastic Diseases. Just being diagnosed with cancer alone does not mean that you will qualify for benefits unless it is a type of cancer that is listed in the compassionate allowances program. In most cases, the cancer has to be inoperable, have distant metastases (has spread), or be recurrent after surgical procedures or irradiation.

You will need to prove through your medical records and work history that your cancer prevents you from working at the job at which you were previously working or any other job for which you are qualified.

Qualifying Under the Compassionate Allowances Program

Certain types of cancer can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits in less than two weeks under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program. Under this program, individuals who are suffering from very severe conditions can bypass the standard disability claim process and be approved for benefits a lot faster. You will need a physician’s opinion stating that the cancer is not operable or an operative note stating that the cancer was not completely resected in order to qualify under this program. If an operative note is not available, a pathology report indicating positive margins can be used. When applying for benefits, make sure you include this medical documentation and make it clear how you qualify for benefits under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

There are numerous cancers that are listed in the compassionate allowance program. For a complete list of all compassionate allowances conditions, please visit: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/compassionate-allowances.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

You can apply for Social Security Disability benefits online or in person at your local Social Security office. Make sure that you have all of the medical evidence that you will need at the time of your application. While the SSA will have you fill out forms that allow them to request copies of your medical records, it is always best to submit medical records on your own as a part of your application to ensure that the SSA receives complete documentation that supports your disability claim.

FREE Dream Wedding…

Image credit:  123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: 123RF Stock Photo

 

It’s that time of year again when The Wedding Pink presents one couple whose lives have been recently touched by breast cancer with a FREE dream wedding, valued between $30,000- $40,000.  OMG! So amazing!!

 

Founder Cheryl Ungar is a 22-year breast cancer survivor and a wedding photographer.  She has put together an extraordinary team of some of Colorado’s top wedding vendors — all of whom have generously agreed to donate their services and products to ensure The Wedding Pink is a spectacular event for one very special couple.

 

Here’s the dealio (as my daughter always says)…  If your life has been recently touched by breast cancer (fyi, the experience is not limited to the bride, but could be with the bride or groom’s extended family) AND are engaged or soon-to-be-engaged, you could be the lucky winner of this fairy tale wedding.

 

This year’s Wedding Pink will will take place May 15, 2014 in Larkspur, Colorado.  Applications are open to ANY legal resident of the US regardless of what state they live in.  Submissions will be open from August 15 – August 25.  The winning couple will be selected in early September 2013.  There are no income qualifications.  Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges.  To learn more about the submission criteria, click HERE.

Wishing you all a lifetime of health, love & happiness together….

Financial Assistance for Young Adult Cancer Survivors (Applications Due July 19)

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Common challenges facing many 20 & 30 year olds include paying off school loans, finding a job, securing health insurance and learning to live on their own.  These challenges are often compounded if there’s a history of cancer. When many young adults are finished with treatment, medical bills may have piled up, they are now too old to be on their parent’s insurance, and the debt starts spiraling out of control… but there’s help….

 

The SAM Fund provides financial assistance to young adults as they move forward with their lives after cancer.  Grants & scholarships can cover a wide range of post-treatment financial needs, including (but not limited to): current and residual medical bills, car and health insurance premiums, rent, utilities, tuition and loans, family-building expenses, gym memberships and transportation costs.  In 2011, SAM Fund awarded a total of $135,000 in grants and scholarships to 92 young adult survivors all over the country.  BTW, SAM Fund stands for Surviving And Moving Forward.  LOVE IT!

 

2013 Application Process is NOW OPEN.  Here’s how it works:

1.  Applicants must be between the ages of 17 and 39; a resident of the United States; and either finished with active treatment and free of cancer OR be one year following the completion of planned therapy OR be in remission on maintenance therapy.  If you have questions about eligibility, please email grants@thesamfund.org.

 

2.  Anyone interested in applying must first submit Part One of the application which is due by Friday, July 19th at 5:00 pm EST.  After a review period, selected applicants will then be invited to submit Part Two. Those applicants will be notified in November as to whether they have received a grant.

 

3.  Interested in learning more?

 

Financial Assistance For Cancer Patients Who Can Not Work Due to Cancer Treatments

 

The financial hardship that a diagnosis of cancer can bring has the potential to be tremendous.  Many people are unable to work during treatments and without income, it is difficult for many to cover their every day living expenses not to mention all of the added expenses related to having a medical condition like co-pays, RXs, supplements, OTC meds, testing that insurance doesn’t cover.  What are people in this situation to do? 

 

Check out The C.H.A.I.N. Fund, Inc… they provide financial assistance to cancer patients who are unable to work as a result of undergoing strenuous cancer treatments.  The C.H.A.I.N. Fund grants can assist in areas such as mortgage, rent, utilities, doctor visit co-pays, prescriptions co-pays (for cancer drugs only), insurance co-pays, & special food needs.   These grants can not be used for any medical treatments, insurance deductibles, car payments, car insurances, cable television, internet services or cell phones.

 

Click HERE for more information as well as an application.  All assistance is made at the sole discretion ofThe C.H.A.I.N. Fund, Inc.  Assistance is given on an interim basis (up to 12 months at most) and any payments awarded will be  made directly to the recipient’s service providers. Additionally, the following exclusions apply:

  1. You do NOT qualify if you are currently receiving monthly financial aid through your State and/or Social Security Disability Programs OR a local Department of Human Service or Welfare.
  2. You do NOT qualify if you are retired and receiving a monthly pension check from a former employer.
  3. You do NOT qualify if your utility bills are currently being paid through a local Low income Home Energy Assistance Program.

 

 

FREE Discount Drug Card…. Clip & Save


Financial Assistance for Families of Children with Brain Tumors

 

The Butterfly Fund (created by The Brain Tumor Foundation for Children) provides financial assistance to needy families of children and young adults with brain and spinal cord tumors.

 

Who qualifies for assistance from The Butterfly Fund?

Families of children and young adults with brain or spinal cord tumors who have an unmet financial need that is a direct result of the child’s brain tumor diagnosis and who are receiving treatment/care at one of the following facilities:

  • All Children’s Hospital – St. Petersburg, FL
  • Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children – Orlando, FL
  • Bi-Lo Children’s Cancer Center – Greenville, SC
  • Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children – Jackson, MS
  • Child Life Institute – West Palm Beach, FL
  • Children’s Health Memorial – Savannah, GA
  • Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) – Atlanta, GA
  • Children’s Hospital – New Orleans, LA
  • Children’s Hospital of Alabama (Birmingham Children’s) – Birmingham, AL
  • Columbus Regional Women & Children’s Center – Columbus, GA
  • Dana-Farber/Children’s Cancer Center – Boston, MA
  • East Tennessee Children’s Hospital – Knoxville, TN
  • Georgia Health Sciences University – Augusta, GA
  • Kentucky Children’s Hospital – Lexington, KY
  • Kids Cancer Foundation – Loxahatchee, FL
  • Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital – Charleston, SC
  • Miami Children’s Hospital – Miami, FL
  • Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital – Columbia, SC
  • Pediatric Oncology Support Team (POST) – West Palm Beach, FL
  • Shands Children’s Hospital @ University of Florida – Gainesville, FL
  • St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital of Tampa – Tampa, FL
  • T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital – Chattanooga, TN
  • Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital – Nashville, TN

 

Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Assistance with rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, car loan payments, car repairs, miscellaneous household expenses, etc., which a family may be unable to afford due to loss of work at the time of a child’s diagnosis and treatment
  • Items not normally covered by some health insurance plans, such as special medications, long-term or special rehab services, hearing devices, wigs and prosthetic devices, home health services, tutoring, etc.
  • Travel and lodging expenses associated with seeking and/or obtaining treatment at locations outside of the patient’s city or state
  • Funeral expenses

All requests for financial assistance through this program must be made through social worker at any of the medical facilities listed above.  Once a family’s application is completed and signed by appropriate medical personnel, it is submitted to the The Brain Tumor Foundation for Children.  Most applications are approved within 2 -5 business days.  Funds get disbursed directly to the creditor.