Online Books > Helping People Cope: A Guide For Families Facing Cancer
Help With Household And Living Expenses
Most of the time, people with cancer are able to continue working and
their style of living continues as it was before the illness.
Occasionally, however, people lose their jobs or are unable to return
to work due to advancing disease. Sometimes people lose their jobs for
reasons unrelated to their cancer and must temporarily depend on
financial assistance until they find a new job. In any of these
situations, you may be eligible for financial help.
You may be reluctant to ask for financial help, viewing it as
"charity" or something reserved only for the destitute. You did not
choose to get cancer. Unfortunately, because cancer can be a long-term
illness, sometimes a family's resources may become gradually
exhausted. Your tax dollars have contributed to financial-aid
programs. These programs are there for you now if you should need
Sometimes, if a person with cancer becomes temporarily or permanently
disabled, other family members who are not employed may need to take a
job. This situation can cause guilt and resentment even in the most
loving of families. Talking together as a family can help; sometimes a
professional counselor will be necessary. (See COUNSELING) Family
stress will inevitably make coping with cancer more difficult. Get
help for you or your family if you can't seem to resolve your
differences on your own.
EXAMPLES OF HELP YOU CAN RECEIVE
- Advice from a financial counselor or social worker about what
assistance is available.
- Cash grant and/or food stamps, if you have limited income and
- Disability benefits, if you have been or will be disabled for six
months or longer. These benefits are available from employers who
offer long-term disability plans or from the U.S. Social Security
HOW DO YOU FIND THESE SERVICES?
- Ask your social worker at your hospital to help you.
- Call the County Board of Assistance, Social Security
Administration, or a community agency recommended by your hospital
social worker. The social worker can then help you determine if you
meet the eligibility requirements.
- If you are having difficulty working because of the effects of
your illness, you may be eligible for vocational retraining. (See
- If you think you have been discriminated against either in your
present job or in finding a new job, there are grievance procedures
available to you. (See EMPLOYMENT REHABILITATION
for details about your legal rights.)
- Job retraining or reentry programs are available for people who
return to work after staying home to raise a family. Ask your hospital
social worker for information about these programs.
- Some people are temporarily unable to keep up with routine utility
expenses and mortgages. If you think you are headed toward that kind
of problem, don't wait until a crisis develops to do something about
it. Approach your creditors before they have to contact you. Most
utility companies have payment plans that can be arranged during
periods of financial crisis. Banks often are willing to reduce
mortgage payments temporarily or until you are able to get on your
feet again. Ignoring a problem won't make it go away. Take action
yourself before it becomes overwhelming. Your hospital social worker
can often help by contacting utility companies or banks if you are
unsure of how to proceed.
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