While a cancer diagnosis brings many challenges, 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 be stressful and emotionally difficult. Veterans Affairs (VA) health care benefits may be available to veterans who served in active military service and were released under any condition other than dishonorable. An application can be submitted no matter how long it has been since service. Call 877-222-VETS (8387) or visit www.va.gov/healthbenefits for more information.
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 department of public health, social services or your hospital 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 is an online listing of financial and other support programs for people with cancer. This tool has up-to-date information about hundreds of organizations that offer 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 www.dav.org/veterans/find-your-local-office/. All services provided by DAV NSOs are free of charge. DAV also 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 runs a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay while a loved one is receiving treatment. These are free of charge. Homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide. They are close to the medical center or hospital they serve, and have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Also available is the Hero Miles program. This uses donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of ill service members. The Hotels for Heroes program uses donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has information about disability compensation and pensions, medical care, vocational rehabilitation and employment. Veterans who meet specific VA criteria have access to vision and hearing exams and free eyeglasses and hearing aids. Veterans with service-connected disabilities, former POWs, Purple Heart recipients, and certain housebound veterans are among those who can qualify. The VA also maintains a caregiver hotline, at 855-260-3274, and website with more: www.caregiver.va.gov.
Oncology social workers are licensed professionals who counsel people affected by cancer. They can provide emotional support and help people access practical assistance. CancerCare’s oncology social workers provide free, professional support services to anyone affected by cancer.
Resource navigation and counseling. Our oncology social workers can speak with you one-on-one to help you find resources you need. Counseling services are available in person, over the phone and via a secure video platform for residents of New York and New Jersey.
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).
Edited by Sarah Paul, LCSW, OSW-C