Financial Assistance for Melanoma Patients
Not only is it important to learn about all of the melanoma treatment options after a diagnosis, but you should also learn about all of the financial assistance resources available. Below are a variety of organizations, links and contacts to help you if your melanoma diagnosis becomes a financial burden on you and your family. We encourage you to take advantage of some or all of these resources. If you know of a helpful resource that is missing, please email [email protected]
Pharmaceutical Patient Assistance Programs
- Amgen’s Assist Program® (Imlygic®)
- ArrayACTS™ (Braftovi™; Mektovi®)
- Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Access Support® (Yervoy®; Opdivo®)
- Genentech’s Access to Care Foundation® (Zelboraf®; Cotellic®)
- Novartis’ Patient Assistance Now® (Tafinlar®; Mekinist®)
- Merck’s Access Program® (Keytruda®)
Government Agencies & Other Organizations
- Government Benefits – find benefits you might be eligible for
- US Dept. of Health and Human Services – find free or reduced cost healthcare
- Cancer Support Communities
- Patient Advocate Foundation – find assistance with insurance issues
- Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation – an independent charitable foundation providing financial support for out-of-pocket medication costs
- Patient Services Inc. – a non-profit premium and co-payment foundation
- The Assistance Fund – a non-profit financial aid foundation
- The Healthwell Foundation – when health insurance is not enough
- Kelly’s Dream – melanoma awareness and financial assistance for patients in the state of Maryland
Social Security Benefits
This article was provided by Disability Benefits Center, an independent resource dedicated to helping people across the country receive the disability benefits they need. For more information, please email [email protected].
How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits with Melanoma
If you or a loved one has melanoma, there could be financial resources available in forms of Social Security disability benefits. Social Security disability benefits, which are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), are benefits for those who can no longer work full time due to a disability or a serious ailment, such as melanoma. Once you get approved for Social Security disability benefits, you can use that money to help pay for treatment related to your melanoma, medicine you are taking and basic day to day living expenses, like groceries, bills around the house and car payments. Here is how to qualify for Social Security disability benefits with melanoma.
How to Medically Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits
The first part of the qualification process of applying for Social Security disability benefits is the medical qualification. In order to qualify, your melanoma diagnosis, must keep you from being unable to work for at least 12 months. The SSA uses their own medical guide, which is informally known as the Blue Book. When reviewing your application, the SSA will review your medical documents and records to see if it matches with one of the following listings for melanoma. Standard imaging processes can be discussed with your oncologist to determine if you’ll meet a Blue Book listing. You may be able to qualify if:
- Your melanoma is recurrent after widespread skin or eye melanoma was removed surgically
- Your melanoma has spread to the extent that it meets one of the following criteria:
- The melanoma is visible on one or more “clinically apparent” nodes by using standard imaging technology
- The melanoma is not visible, but has spread to four or more nodes
- The melanoma has spread to adjacent skin or another organ
- You have mucosal melanoma
How to Technically Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits
After you meet the medical aspects of the qualification process, you’ll need to meet the technical qualifications as well. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you’ll need to have a sufficient amount of work credits. Work credits are calculated by your age and how long you have worked. It’s quite easy to earn work credits. In 2019, a you must earn $1,360 in one year to earn one work credit, the most number of work credits you can earn in a year is four. Also, in order to earn work credits, you’ll need to have paid FICA taxes into the Social Security system.
How to Start the Application Process
The application process for Social Security disability benefits is a lot easier that the qualification process. To start, you can simply go on the SSA’s website and apply online whenever is most convenient for you. You are also able to have someone else, such as a spouse to apply on your behalf if you physically cannot. You also have the option to apply in person at a Social Security office if you wish to do so, just make sure to call ahead of time to schedule an appointment. It usually takes around three to five months to hear back from the SSA regarding whether your application is approved or not. If you have any further questions, you can call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213.
- SSA Website
- SSA Blue Book
- Melanoma Listing
- Work Credits
- Online Application
- Social Security Office Locations
Many hotels near cancer centers and major healthcare facilities offer discounts to patients. Below is a list of housing resources for patients and their families when they travel for medical treatment. Please contact the treatment centers directly via their websites or toll-free numbers for more information.
- American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge – find a Hope Lodge in one of 22 states
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston, MA)
- Fox Chase Cancer Center (Philadelphia, PA)
- Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle, WA)
- Hosts for Hospitals (Philadelphia, PA)
- Joe’s House – a nationwide lodging guide for cancer patients
- Johns Hopkins (Baltimore, MD)
- Mayo Clinic (Arizona, Florida and Minnesota)
- MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX)
- UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (Chapel Hill, NC)
Travel Assistance – Flights
Though some airlines offer compassionate airfare, similar to bereavement airfare, the following organizations help people in need seek free air transportation to specialized health care facilities.
- Air Care Alliance
- Corporate Angel Network Inc.
- Mercy Medical Airlift
- Patient AirLift Services (PALS)
- The National Patient Travel Center
Do you know of a financial assistance organization that needs to be added to this list? If so, please email [email protected].