Topic: Things that may help financially
These last 19 months since Charlie's diagnosis have been rough as I'm sure all of you have also experienced. There's no guidebook or carefully laid out instructions on how to get the help that is out there if you just know who to ask. I found out about most of these things by digging and research on the Internet. I love Google, if I want to find something, I start with www.google.com and go from there. I know everyone's situation is different, but I hope this helps some of you. Remember, be persistent and keep asking. I've been pleasantly surprised most of the time about what people have been willing to do if you ask.
If you have disabililty status, don't overlook other things you may be eligible for. We usually have to provide a copy of Charlie's official notification from Soc. Sec. with the amount of his monthly check on it as proof of disability.
-Discounted property taxes - this may vary from area to area. In our town, I sent in the above proof of disability and our yearly property taxes on our home were reduced by about $400.
-The National Park Service reduces fees to parks, etc. if disabled:
-YW or YMCA membership - depending on your financial situation and if you qualify, they will reduce their membership fee.
-Don't forget to ask for a handicapped sticker or placard if you need it. You can download the form from your state site, mine is www.ncdot.org so hopefully you can just insert the abbreviation for your state and find it. Charlie seldom uses it, but on the days when he's sick from chemo or his legs are weak, it's really nice to have.
-Financial aid for college. You have to fill the FAFSA form out. Right now, our daughter's community college tuition and books are 100% paid for by financial aid. (What a relief!)
-If you have school age children, you can save $100's a year if you qualify for reduced or free lunches. Your child's school should send a form to fill out at the first of the school year. Also, you can get an SAT fee waiver from your child's school guidance counselor, go online and register your child for the SAT.
-I don't know if Cancer Services is all over the country, but I'm sure there are similar agencies. It's a United Way agency. It definitely pays to make an appt., go in and fill out all the paperwork. They sent our info. to another cancer organization and we got a check for $125 because Charlie has cancer. They provide Charlie with Ensure. He can keep his weight up with those even if he doesn't feel like eating and they are expensive. We've been blessed so far to continue our insurance, but there are still a few things pertaining to cancer related prescriptions left to pay that Cancer Services pays for us.
-Hospitals have financial assistance forms you can fill out. You have to ask, they don't routinely offer them. If you qualify according to income, they will discount or write off your bill. This has been a great help to us paying off over $2,000 in deductible and out of pocket expenses. I didn't know this, but found out that if a hospital discounts or writes off your bill, be sure to get a letter from them specifying this. You can then send copies of the letter to other outside providers you may have (imaging centers, etc.) and they will sometimes also discount or write off your bill just because the hospital did. The main thing is to get that letter from the hospital.
I know this is long. I may add some more things later. Hope it's beneficial to some of you. Best wishes.