You may have a legal right to certain benefits. There are also many local and national support services available to assist you.
Know Your Rights
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (a federal law), you may be entitled to unpaid leave from your job to care for a loved one with cancer. If you leave your job or are laid off, a federal law called Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) may allow you to keep your health insurance coverage for up to three years. Oncology social workers are licensed professionals that can help you understand and apply for benefits you may qualify for. A CancerCare oncology social worker can help you find resources that fit your needs. To learn more, visit www.cancercare.org or read CancerCare’s fact sheet titled “Patients’ Bill of Rights and HIPAA.”
Legal Services Resources
CancerCare’s LegalHealth Clinic
CancerCare and the LegalHealth division of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) have joined in a collaboration called the Palliative Care Advocacy Project, funded by the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, to establish free onsite legal clinics for New York City, the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn, NY CancerCare clients (persons with cancer and their caregivers).
LegalHealth, a division of NYLAG, focuses on assisting people with health care-related legal needs. LegalHealth attorneys will provide assistance with government benefits, immigration, insurance disputes, debtor/creditor issues, employment matters, housing, custody planning, estate planning and advance directives.
The LegalHealth Clinic will be at held at CancerCare’s national office every other Thursday. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 800-813-HOPE (4673).
Cancer Legal Resource Center
The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC) is a national, joint program of the Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School Los Angeles. The CLRC provides free information and resources on cancer-related legal issues to cancer survivors, caregivers, health care professionals, employers, and others coping with cancer. Offers a toll-free Telephone Assistance Line (866-THE-CLRC) where callers can receive free and confidential information about relevant laws and resources for their particular situation.
LawHelp.org helps low and moderate income people find free legal aid programs in their communities and answers to questions about their legal rights. Use the state list on the website to find help related to housing, work, family, bankruptcy, disability, immigration and other topics.
National Cancer Legal Services Network
The National Cancer Legal Services Network promotes increased availability of free legal services programs so that people affected by cancer may focus on medical care and their quality of life. A network of over 40 programs nationwide.
National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership
National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership aims to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable individuals, children and families by integrating legal assistance into the medical setting. Search for local programs through their MLP Network by visiting http://medical-legalpartnership.org/partnerships/.
The Samfund: Support for Young Adult Cancer Survivors
The Samfund provides support to young adults who are struggling financially due to cancer. Twice a year, The Samfund gives grants to survivors aged 21-39 to help with medical bills, living expenses, educational/professional development, graduate tuition, student loans, cosmetic or reconstructive procedures, family building options/procedures, health insurance supplementation, mental health, physical therapy, residual and current medical expenses, transportation-related expenses, legal expenses and rent/mortgage supplementation.