Financial & Employment Issues
A transplant is an expensive procedure, and the bills don't stop once you get home. Things like transportation and parking fees for doctor's visits, co-pays for medications and treatment, and lost wages can stress families financially.
If you have not already done so, take a few minutes to look at your monthly income and expenses, and potential sources of additional cash. It may help to have an accountant or financial planner review your finances with you so that you are aware of all potential sources of income, and the pros and cons of accessing them.
After your transplant, you will be unable to work for a period of time. You may be eligible for disability benefits from your company or federal social security disability benefits.
When you return to work or apply for a new job, you may be protected from job discriminaton under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). You may also have the right to reasonable accomodations to help you perform your job. The anti-discrimination provisions apply not only to you but to your caregiver as well.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers protections for patients and caregivers who must take time off work to for treatment or to care for a family membe who is ill. FMLA protects not only your job but your right to insurance benefits as well.
Cancer and Careers offers information about managing work and cancer treatment, how to manage a resume gap, and tips for communicating with your employer and co-workers about your disease and treatment.
Fundraising and Financial Aid
A number of organizations provide financial assistance for everything from drugs to insurance co-pays to transportation. You can find them listed in our Resource Directory.
If you had a transplant with an unrelated donor, you may be eligible for financial aid from the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) for up to six months after your transplant. Click here for more information or phone 888-999-6743.
If you are having difficulty meeting financial obligations such as your mortgage, utilities, or car payments, talk to the lenders as soon as possible. Sometimes, if you explain the situation, they will work with you to set up a payment schedule that is easier for you to meet.
Family members and friends may be willing to hold fundraisers to help you pay for the extra medical expenses you are incurring. Organizations such as the National Foundation for Transplants or the HelpHOPELive offer ideas on how to conduct fundraisers and will even manage the funds for you to make sure they are applied toward legitimate medical expenses.
Ask the social worker at the hospital whether there are any special funds available to help recovering transplant patients. The social worker can help you complete the forms needed to apply for financial help. Often, a local fund is available to meet emergency needs of patients.