There are resources available to help you and your family navigate and plan for financial considerations involved in treatment and caregiving. For example, the National Cancer Institute has a database of support services, some of which provide financial assistance in various forms to patients and their families.
If you do not already have a financial planner or advisor, finding one during times of stress may not be at the top of your list, but it is still very important. The Financial Planning Association (FPA) offers resources to assist people in finding a financial planner and offers some basic financial planning information. Many banks offer financial planning assistance as well. Check with your bank to see what services may be available to customers.
When preparing to speak with a financial planner/advisor, below are some ideas to consider if you are facing a possible financial hardship:
- Explore social security benefits and eligibility requirements.
- Student loan creditors may have alternate payment plans or deferrals for proven financial hardship.
- Other creditors (credit card, mortgage, etc.) may have options to adjust monthly payments based on proven financial hardship.
- There may be early withdrawal capabilities in a 401K plan due to proven financial hardship.
Every circumstance is unique, making it difficult to provide common recommendations. Make sure to speak directly with a representative from your financial institution(s) to understand the options available to you, and be sure to consider any consequences before making adjustments.
The costs of medications can be overwhelming. It is important to explore all avenues of opportunity for assistance, including what might be available to minimize the financial impact of medications such as A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people medications that are not yet covered by insurance plans. Many of the main pharmaceutical manufacturers offer some type of assistance for a variety of their medications.
See Resources for Survivors for more information on finding pharmaceutical assistance programs.
In addition, many states offer prescription assistance programs. To find information on your state, use a search engine such as Google and enter “prescription assistance” followed by your state. Review the details of each program carefully to understand eligibility requirements, what programs can be used together, etc.
Before applying for and receiving any financial assistance, check with any existing assistance programs you are a part of to understand any potential impacts to your existing benefits.