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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
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Colorectal Cancer: Newly Diagnosed: Government Benefits (Stages 2, 3, 4)


Following are federal and state government benefits that everyone with a diagnosis of advanced colorectal cancer should know about:

  • Health coverage.

    • Medicare provides health insurance for seniors and workers who are disabled for a sufficient period of time, and their families. Medicare provides limited amounts of home care and nursing home care. Premiums have to be paid for some parts of Medicare coverage. There are also deductibles and other amounts to pay.

    • Medicaid (Medi-cal in California) provides health care for people with low income and meager assets. Medicaid also covers nursing home care and long term care. If you do not qualify for Medicaid, steps can be taken so you can qualify.

    • Veterans get health care through the VA.

    • Some health care is provided through hospitals on a free or low cost basis because of a federal law referred to as Hill-Burton, or locally through local assistance. Emergency rooms in hospitals that receive federal funding cannot turn anyone away in the event of an emergency. This includes illegal immigrants.

  • Income benefits.

    • Disability income is provided through:

      • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for workers and their families.

      • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for people with low income and assets. Extra resources and/or income can be available to a person on SSI through use of a Supplemental Needs Trust.

      • You do not need to be totally unable to work to qualify for disability benefits. The definition of "disability" depends on the program.

      • If a work history qualifies you for benefits based on disability, now is a good time to start laying the groundwork for getting approved in case you want to stop working at some point in the future because of your health.

        • Start keeping a Work Journal .

        • Consider seeing a professional therapist (even if you feel you don't need one).

        • Take a few minutes to make sure your records with Social Security are correct so precious time doesn't have to be wasted if you apply for SSDI or SSI.

        • Tell your doctor each time you see him or her how your condition or treatment impacts your work or ability to work. Ask that the information be noted in your health record.

      • If you are applying for a disability benefit, keep in mind that only one out of three claims for Social Security Disability Insurance is approved. However, there are steps to take to help maximize your chances of obtaining the benefit which are described elsewhere on this site. If your claim is denied, appeal. Chances for approval improve on appeal.

      • Once you qualify for a benefit, there are steps to take to help assure they will not be cut off. When you are ready to consider returning to work, both SSDI and SSI encourage people to return to work by providing incentives. There are steps to take to ease the transition while retaining maximum benefits.

    • Retirement income through Social Security Retirement Income (SSRI) for workers and their families. People have been known to take a reduced SSRI benefit starting at age 62 because of their health condition.

    • Unemployment Insurance provides an income for people who become unemployed. This can be useful for people who do not qualify for SSDI or SSI.

    • Some states mandate short term disability income insurance.

    • Workers Compensation Insurance can provide an income for people who are injured on the job.

  • Food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as "food stamps").

To find out if there are other government programs for which you qualify, offsite link

Also check your state and local area to find out are if there are additional government benefits for which you do, or may, qualify. You can find state and local programs through the Department of Health and Human Services' Benefits CheckUp by clicking here offsite link.

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