While a cancer diagnosis can present many challenges, keep in mind that you do not need to cope with this on your own. There are many local and national support services available to veterans.
Uninsured Veterans With Cancer
Being diagnosed with cancer and not having health insurance can bring many challenges that are stressful and emotionally difficult. Veterans may qualify for Veterans Affairs (VA) health care benefits if the veteran served in active military service and was released under any condition other than dishonorable. An application can be submitted regardless of how long it has been since service and discharge. Call 877-222-VETS (8387) or visit www.va.gov/healthbenefits for more information and to begin the application process.
Hospitals and clinics may offer charity care and sliding scale programs (fees based on income). Some hospitals are required to see patients who are uninsured. Contact your local department of public health, social services, or business office of your hospital of choice for more information.
For more resources, read CancerCare’s fact sheet titled, “Coping with Cancer When You’re Uninsured.”
Resources for Veterans
CancerCare’s A Helping Hand
CancerCare’s A Helping Hand is a searchable, online database of financial and practical assistance available for people with cancer. This comprehensive online tool features up-to-date contact information and descriptions for hundreds of national and regional organizations offering financial help to people with cancer. You can search by diagnosis, zip code and type of assistance.
Disabled American Veterans
Disabled American Veterans (DAV) helps more than one million veterans every year connect with health care, disability, employment, education, and financial benefits. Locate your local DAV National Service Officer (NSO) to get help filing a claim at https://www.dav.org/veterans/find-your-local-office/. All services provided by DAV NSOs are free of charge. DAV also provides transportation assistance. DAV’s fleet of vehicles around the country provides free transportation to VA medical facilities for injured and ill veterans. Locate the nearest VA Medical Center at www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp.
Fisher House Foundation
The Fisher House Foundation operates a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. Homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, close to the medical center or hospital they serve, and have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Also operates the Hero Miles program using donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of ill service members, as well as the Hotels for Heroes program using donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) assists veterans with information regarding disability compensation, disability pension, medical care, vocational rehabilitation, and employment. Veterans who meet specific VA criteria have access to vision and hearing exams in addition to free eyeglasses and hearing aids. Veterans with any compensable service-connected disability, former POWs, Purple Heart recipients, and certain housebound veterans are among those who qualify. The VA also maintains a caregiver hotline and website: www.caregiver.va.gov.
Oncology social workers are licensed professionals who counsel people affected by cancer, providing emotional support and helping people access practical assistance. CancerCare’s oncology social workers provide free, professional support services to anyone affected by cancer.
Counseling. Our oncology social workers can speak with you one-on-one to help you find ways to cope with the emotional and practical challenges of cancer. Counseling services are available in person or over the phone.
Support groups. Connect with other people who are in a similar situation in our free face-to-face, telephone, and online support groups led by professional oncology social workers.
Connect Education Workshops. Leading experts in oncology provide the latest treatment information in these free, one-hour workshops over the telephone and online.
Publications. Our free booklets and fact sheets offer up-to-date, easy-to-read information about the latest treatments, managing side effects, and coping with cancer.
Financial help. Our staff helps you manage financial concerns and provides referrals. Limited aid is also available to eligible individuals and families for cancer-related costs such as transportation and child care.
Referrals to resources. A CancerCare oncology social worker can help find local resources and programs that fit your needs for anyone affected by cancer.
To speak with a professional oncology social worker, call 800-813-HOPE (4673).