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Practical Needs Assistance & Resources for People with Cancer

In addition to cancer treatments, many cancer patients need assistance paying for transportation to and from medical appointments and basic living expenses such as food and housing. Listed below are organizations dedicated to helping cancer patients and their families during and after the patient’s treatment.

Financial Support Links | Practical Needs Support Links

Eldercare Locator is a referral service provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Eldercare Locator information specialists will link callers with state and area agencies on aging for information and referral to local agencies that provide a wide array of senior services. This service is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern time.
Telephone:    1–800–677–1116
Web site:    http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx

GovBenefits.gov is the official benefits Web site of the U.S. Government, with information on over 1,000 benefit and assistance programs. The Web site is maintained through a partnership of 10 Federal agencies and is designed to help users find Government benefit and assistance programs for which they may be eligible. The Web site features diverse benefit programs such as disability and financial assistance, insurance, and health care/living assistance. Users may complete a questionnaire on the Web site that identifies Government benefits for which they may be eligible, along with information about how the user can apply.
Telephone:    1–800–333–4636 (1–800–FED–INFO)
Web site:    http://www.govbenefits.gov

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the Government agency that oversees Social Security and Supplemental Security Income. Social Security provides monthly income for eligible retired persons, surviving spouses and family members, and the disabled. More information about these and other SSA programs is available by calling the toll-free number listed below. Spanish-speaking staff are available. Additional contact information for the SSA is available at http://www.ssa.gov/reach.htm on the Internet.
Telephone:    1–800–772–1213
TTY:    1–800–325–0778
Web site:    http://www.ssa.gov

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is administered by the SSA and supplements Social Security payments for aged, blind, and disabled people with little or no income. It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Information on eligibility, coverage, and how to file a claim is available from the SSA. The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool is available at http://connections.govbenefits.gov/ssa_en.portal on the Internet.
Web site:    http://www.ssa.gov/ssi

The SSA Compassionate Allowances initiative allows Social Security to target the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that can be obtained quickly. Information on the initiative and a list of qualifying conditions are available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances on the Internet.

The National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), which was formed by the merger of the National Brain Tumor Foundation and the Brain Tumor Society, provides financial assistance to patients through its Financial Assistance Program. This program assists brain tumor patients with treatment-related expenses such as medication copays, transportation to treatment, home health care and home adaptations (related to a brain tumor diagnosis), and childcare. Financial assistance applications are reviewed on a monthly basis, and grants range from $100 to $500. All applicants are eligible to receive up to two grants, but must wait 6 months before applying for the second grant.
Telephone:    1–800–934–2873 (1–800–934–CURE)
Web site:    http://www.braintumor.org

The Lymphoma Research Foundation (Patient Services) offers a patient aid grant program, which provides up to $250 for “quality of life” expenses, including travel and transportation, temporary lodging, childcare, home care, cosmetic aids, medical devices, and hygiene products. In addition, uninsured or underinsured applicants can indicate on their application and discuss with the Program Coordinator if they have accumulated medical debts. Funds are available to reimburse health care providers for patients’ hospital or physician bills that insurance will not reimburse.
Telephone:    1–800–500–9976
Web site:    http://www.lymphoma.org

The American Cancer Society
(ACS) offers programs that help cancer patients, family members, and friends cope with the treatment decisions and emotional challenges they face. To get information about these programs, call the national ACS office, or find a local ACS office by typing your location into the search boxes on the “My Local ACS Office” Web page at http://www.cancer.org/asp/search/mla/mla_global.asp?navToScreen=mla_0 on the Internet. Some materials are published in Spanish. Spanish-speaking staff are available.
Telephone:    1–800–227–2345 (1–800–ACS–2345)
TTY:    1–866–228–4327
Web site:    http://www.cancer.org

  • The Health Insurance Assistance Service (HIAS/ACS) aids cancer patients who have lost or are in danger of losing their health care coverage, along with identifying policy solutions to help others in similar situations. The service connects cancer patients who call the ACS cancer information number with health insurance specialists who work to address their needs.
  • Hope Lodge, a temporary housing program supported by ACS, provides free, temporary housing facilities for cancer patients who are undergoing treatment. For more information about this program, or to find locations of Hope Lodges, call the ACS’s toll-free number above or visit the Hope Lodge Web page at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/SHR/content/SHR_2.1_x_Hope_Lodge.asp on the Internet.
  • The Road to Recovery is an ACS service program that provides transportation for cancer patients to their treatments and home again. Transportation is provided according to the needs and available resources in the community and can be arranged by calling the toll-free number or by contacting the local ACS office.
  • The ACS offers Taking Charge of Money Matters, a workshop for people with cancer and their loved ones about financial concerns that may arise during or after cancer treatment, regardless of the person’s health insurance coverage. The session provides an opportunity to discuss financial matters with guest speakers who are knowledgeable about financial planning. More information about this workshop is available on the ACS Web page at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/SHR/content/SHR_2.1_x_Taking_Charge_of_Money_Matters.asp on the Internet.
  • The ACS's "tlc" Tender Loving Care® publication contains helpful articles and information, including products for women coping with cancer or any cancer treatment that causes hair loss. Products include wigs, hairpieces, breast forms, prostheses, bras, hats, turbans, swimwear, and helpful accessories at the lowest possible prices. The publication strives to help women facing cancer treatment cope with the appearance-related side effects of cancer. To request a copy of “tlc,” call 1–800–850–9445, or visit “tlc” at http://www.tlcdirect.org on the Internet.


CancerCare operates the AVONCares Program for Medically Underserved Women, in partnership with the Avon Foundation. This program provides financial assistance to low-income, under- and uninsured, underserved women throughout the country who need supportive services (transportation, childcare, and home care) related to the treatment of breast and gynecologic cancers.
Telephone:    1–800–813–4673 (1–800–813–HOPE)
Web site:    http://www.cancercare.org

The LIVESTRONG™ SurvivorCare partnership between the Lance Armstrong Foundation, CancerCare, and the Patient Advocate Foundation provides financial assistance to cancer survivors. For patients who are 6 months post-treatment with no evidence of disease, limited financial assistance is available for transportation to follow-up appointments, medical copays, cancer-related medications, and neuropsychological evaluation.
Telephone:    1– 866–235–7205 or 1–866–673–7205
Web site:    http://www.livestrong.org/survivorcare

The National Patient Travel Helpline provides information about all forms of charitable, long-distance medical air transportation and provides referrals to all appropriate sources of help available in the national charitable medical air transportation network.
Telephone:    1–800–296–1217
Web site:    http://www.patienttravel.org

Ronald McDonald Houses, supported by Ronald McDonald House Charities, provide a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. Ronald McDonald Houses are temporary residences near the medical facility, where family members can sleep, eat, relax, and find support from other families in similar situations. In return, families are asked to make a donation ranging on average from $5 to $20 per day, but if that isn’t possible, their stay is free. To search for a Ronald McDonald House location, go to http://www.rmhc.org/who-we-are/chapter-search/ on the Internet.
Telephone:    630–623–7048
Web site:    http://www.rmhc.org

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Information found on this website is not intended to be used to diagnose and/or treat a health condition or disease. Please consult your healthcare practitioner with concerns you may have regarding your condition. Information provided is for educational purposes and not intended as diagnosis, treatment or prescription of any kind.

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