Being diagnosed with a brain tumor takes a toll on a patient and the family physically, emotionally, and financially. Even with the best of health insurance plans, many are left with medical bills, related costs of travel, housing, utilities and others. Below you will find information about various sources of financial assistance that may help alleviate some of the stress of this difficult time. In addition to this list, check with your hospital social worker to locate community-based resources and programs.
Please click on the appropriate link for more information:
- Medical Care
- Gasoline Assitance
- Programs for Children
- Food Programs
- Other Programs
- Viatical Settlement Companies
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI)
Contact your local Social Security Office to determine if you qualify for SSI or SSDI. The medical requirements and disability determination process are the same under both programs. Eligibility for SSDI is based on prior work under Social Security, while SSI is based on financial need.
Hill-Burton Funds are federal grants that allow hospitals and nursing homes to provide low-cost or no-cost medical care to those meeting income guidelines. Contact Hill-Burton to receive a listing of hospitals or nursing homes participating in the program. Funding and sites are limited.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Bureau of Primary Health Care
Provides information on public programs for the uninsured.
Assistance programs are offered by many gas, electric, water, and phone companies. If you feel you may have difficulty paying your monthly bills, contact the company before your balance becomes too large. Companies are more amenable to working out a payment plan with those willing to work with them.
Many states have regulations that prohibit companies from turning off utilities; your doctor or social worker may need to write letters describing why the service(s) are medically necessary. The regulations do not diminish your responsibility for paying the bills, but may allow you more time or lower monthly payments.
In an emergency situation, check with local help lines and social service agencies as some provide one-time emergency help with utility bills.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Helps low-income households meet their home energy needs.
For state and local contact information, please access: http://liheap.ncat.org/profiles/energyhelp.htm
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Free Gas USA, Inc.
A nationwide non-profit assistance program for low-income people having trouble paying for gasoline. Applications can be made for gas grant cards that range in value from $50 to $1200, depending on need and circumstances. In order to be eligible for a gas card a person's yearly income must be at or below the "very low limit" category as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. An income calculator is available at the website. Applications are only available online, must be substantiated by a human service agency, and must be accompanied by a $3 non-refundable cashier check or money order. Applicants must be residents of the United States.
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Programs for Children
Clayton Dabney Foundation for Kids with Cancer
Provides gifts, last wishes and financial assistance to families which will facilitate quality of family life and create everlasting memories. Child must be considered terminal, under the age of 21 and be referred by a healthcare professional. Cap per family is usually $2,000.
First Hand Foundation
First Hand Foundation assists individual children who have health related needs and no financial resources to cover these expenses.
Foundation for Children with Cancer
Family must be referred by a healthcare professional and payments go directly to the vendor. There is currently a $500 limit per family.
Provides nonmedical financial assistance to children, up to the age of 18 at the time of diagnosis, afflicted with brain tumor and currently undergoing medical treatment. Requests must be submitted by a social worker.
Jake Owen Raborn Foundation
Provides financial assistance to children diagnosed with pediatric cancer.
Kelly Ann Dolan Memorial Fund
Provides financial assistance to families of terminally, critically and chronically ill children. Referral must come from a healthcare worker. Child must reside in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware.
Supports the needs of children with cancer and their families who are seeking alternative methods of healing. The foundation also disperses funds to patients for treatment needs and to the families for their personal needs.
National Children's Cancer Society
Provides financial and in-kind assistance to children with cancer.
New England Serve
Offers a publication entitled, Paying the Bills, which offers tips for families on financing healthcare for their children with special needs. It is available by calling or is downloadable at their website.
Nicki Leach Foundation
Provides financial assistance to children and young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 diagnosed with a life threatening, malignant medical condition. Helps with the costs of items they normally would not ask for but would love to receive and provides a momentary diversion from the reality of living with cancer. Funding may help with car expenses, clothing, hair or makeup as well as for the purchase of a camera, computer or special trip.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Offers treatment protocols for pediatric brain tumors. All patients accepted are treated without regard to the family’s ability to pay. Referral must be made through a physician.
United Healthcare Children's Foundation
Offers financial assistance to cover medical services beyond what insurance will cover or if service is not covered by the policy at all. Children are eligible up to the age of 16, who are US citizens and are currently covered under a commercial health insurance policy. Generally assistance must be requested before services are obtained and funds will generally be paid directly to the facility. Grants up to $5,000 per year.
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The Children’s Project provides gift bags, camp scholarships and limited emergency funding to pediatric oncology patients under the age of 18, in the United States.
Meals On Wheels
Coordinates thousands of programs throughout the United States dedicated to delivering meals to those who are homebound. Some programs require a small donation. Each program determines eligibility.
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Association of Jewish Family and Children's Agencies
Agencies provide help for medical equipment, supplies, prescriptions and transportation to medical care.
Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund
The BMCF supports patients ages 18-40 currently undergoing cancer treatment with services to meet daily needs. It provides home health care services, co-payments required by many health plans for medical care, temporary housing, and other expenses for those temporarily unable to pay bills like rent, insurance, and food.
Offer a variety of financial assistance programs, call for eligibility requirements.
Catholic Charities, USA
Some local offices have limited funding available to provide emergency financial assistance.
Friends of Man
Friends of Man is an all volunteer charity to help people with basic or special needs that cannot be provided elsewhere. They will assist with prostheses, wheelchairs, medical equipment, mobility equipment, hearing aids and orthopedic shoes. Application must be filled out by a healthcare professional.
Hardest Hit Fund, U.S. Department of Treasury
A foreclosure prevention program that is available for homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage. It is available in 19 states and each state has varying qualifications to apply.
Lazarex Cancer Foundation
Offer financial assistance; transportation, lodging, relocation expenses, medical expenses not covered by insurance for patients participating in clinical trials.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Co-Pay Assistance Fund
Provides co-pay assistance funds for patients with CNS Lymphoma, up to $5,000 per calendar year. This program offers assistance towards the cost of private health insurance premiums and co-pays as well as Medicare co-pays and premiums. As well as costs related to prescription medications.
Macmillan Cancer Support
Provides financial help for those individuals in the UK only who are having financial difficulty as a result of their illness.
Mission4Maureen is dedicated to providing financial assistance to families who are burdened with the staggering cost of brain cancer treatment. Financial aid is available for medical bills as well as child care, housing payments, utility bills, transportation, medication and other areas of assistance. An application with supporting documentation is required.
Will provide assistance, up to $500.00 for those who are able to demonstrate a financial need.
No Wooden Nickels
Provides assistance to cancer patients in the following areas: medical expenses, transportation assistance, utilities, meals, home care, child care and special clothing needs.
Rise Above It
RAI is focused on providing financial assistance to young adult patients battling cancer. Patients need to have been diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 39 and must be undergoing or actively pursuing clinical trial treatment options. Requests may be made for medical expenses, housing costs, travel expenses as well as food, clothing and utility bills.
Local units can offer emergency financial assistance to families.
Surviving and Moving Forward:
The Samfund for Young Adult Survivors of Cancer
Provide various grants and scholarships to young adult survivors, ages 18-35, to help supplement the money that they and their families have lost during treatment, and pay for specific transitional issues, such as education, fertility options, living, job search and lingering medical expenses.
Cleaning for a Reason
This non-profit offers free professional housecleaning services to improve the lives of women undergoing treatment for cancer. Provides once a month cleaning for four months. Currently available in approximately 40 states and Canada.
Dental Lifeline Network
This organization offers a Donated Dental Services (DDS) program. DDS tends to the dental needs of the disabled, elderly or medically compromised individuals who cannot afford the necessary dental treatment. Their website offers contact information for each state to help you locate a participating program in your area.
Patient Advocate Foundation
Website offers a state by state directory of information for patients seeking financial relief for a broad range of needs including housing, utilities, food, transportation to medical treatment, and children's resources. Click on Resources, then Publications and finally, The National Financial Resources Guidebook for Patients, to search this directory.
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Viatical Settlement Companies
Viatical companies purchase a patient's life insurance policy at a discounted rate, providing funds for the patient to use in any way they wish. The seller, in turn, signs over the policy to the viatical company. In general, any life insurance policy - group or individual - can be sold. The rate of return and eligibility criteria varies with each company, so carefully consider the offers of several companies. Tax implications and/or the effect of a viatical settlement on assistance programs should also be explored.
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