Cancer is such a difficult burden to bear, not just physically and mentally, but also financially. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology describes in detail what we already know: almost three-quarters of cancer patients “experience material and psychological financial hardship” caused by this disease.
We understand that now, more than ever, you need access to financial programs that can help you get through this difficult time. All of the programs included in our directory are available to patients and families in the USA and are free of any charge. Some programs offer aid with medical bills, while others provide money for basic needs like food and housing.
The three programs below offer legal, financial and housing support. Our national directory has so many more products, programs, and services available to you. For more financial resources, check out these listings. For grants, care packages, and scholarships, visit this link. If you need any help locating a specific program, please reach out and we will help you find it.
The Legal Services Corporation
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is a nonprofit corporation established by the United States Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. LSC was created as a result of the Nixon administration’s efforts to consolidate and centralize all federal programs that provided assistance to the poor. To be eligible for help from LSC, an individual must have an annual income below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines or be receiving public assistance.
LSC helps people who can’t afford a lawyer with specific legal problems such as housing discrimination, domestic violence, child custody, and unemployment benefits. LSC-funded programs also work to improve access to the justice system for people who speak limited English and have disabilities.
LSC is the largest single funder of civil legal aid in the country, providing grants to 133 independent nonprofit legal aid organizations across the United States. The organization’s mission is “to promote equal access to justice under the law.” In 2017, LSC had a budget of $375 million. The majority of LSC’s funding comes from Congress, with additional funding from Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) and other sources. LSC is governed by an eleven-member Board of Directors, which includes the President and Vice President of the American Bar Association, as well as experts in the field of civil legal aid.
To find a free legal services program, visit the LSC link here for the location near you.
SSA Compassionate Allowances
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a program called Compassionate Allowances (CAL) which expedites the processing of disability claims for applicants who have severe medical conditions. CAL is intended to provide benefits to those who need them the most, as quickly as possible.
To qualify for CAL, an applicant must have a qualifying medical condition that meets one of the following criteria:
- The condition is life-threatening.
- The condition severely limits the applicant’s ability to perform basic activities of daily living.
- The condition significantly impairs the applicant’s mental or physical abilities.
Applicants with qualifying conditions can receive a decision on their claim within days, rather than months or years. If you have a severe medical condition, the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program may be able to process your disability claim more quickly.
In order to apply for CAL, you must provide evidence of your medical condition and complete an application form. You can get an application form from your local Social Security office or online at socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances/. The SSA will also need copies of your medical records to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria for CAL.
The USDA Housing Repair Grant
The USDA Housing Repair Grant is a grant program that helps low-income homeowners with necessary repairs to their homes. To be eligible for the grant, applicants must meet certain criteria, including income eligibility and home ownership.
The maximum amount of assistance available through the grant is $7,500.
Eligible repairs include exterior painting or stucco repair, roof repair or replacement, plumbing repairs, electrical work, and heating and cooling system repairs.
In order to apply for the USDA Housing Repair Grant, you must contact your local Rural Development office. Go to this page to see the list of all Rural Development offices and to locate the office nearest you.
Get More Help
The three programs we’ve highlighted in this blog post can provide assistance to those who need it most. The Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program can process disability claims more quickly for applicants with severe medical conditions, the USDA Housing Repair Grant can help low-income homeowners make necessary repairs to their homes, and LSC helps people who can’t afford a lawyer with specific legal problems.
These are just a few of the hundreds of free programs available. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please check out our national directory of free programs and services for cancer patients here.