Financial assistance program
A SERVICE TO LIFT YOU UP
Breast cancer can destabilize the budget of those affected, whether due to increased out-of-pocket expenses (e.g. transportation to treatment and follow-up visits, accommodation, domestic help etc.) or also, for many, due to work disruption that may lead to a decreased income.
To support people affected by breast cancer, those eligible for the financial assistance program of the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation may receive up to:
- $ 1000 / application, for persons diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (stage 4);
- $ 750 / application, for persons on sick leave due to breast cancer (stage 0-3) and who are under the age of 65;
- $ 250 / application for all other types of expenditure;
*A minimum of 6 months must separate each request;
The amounts granted and eligibility criteria are subject to change without notice.
|In order for your request for financial assistance to be considered, you must meet the following criteria:
* Exclusion: hormone therapy, reconstructive surgeries
Your gross family annual income, estimated for the current year, must be lower than the following, depending on your situation:
*The dependent child must be under 18 years of age.
If you meet the eligibility criteria, please send these documents:
1. the completed application form;
2. a copy of your provincial notice of assessment for the last fiscal year (the page with the detailed calculations)
3. a copy of your spouse’s (if applicable) provincial notice of assessment for the last fiscal year (the page with the detailed calculations)
4. Only if you are on sick leave: Proof that you had employment income in the year prior to your breast cancer diagnosis (e.g. your last pay stub, recent proof of salary or disability insurance, or employment insurance)
*If needed, we may ask you for other documents
Please send your application (with all the required documents) by mail, fax or email:
Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation – Financial assistance program
279 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 305, Montreal (Quebec) H2X 1Y1
Phone (toll-free) : 1 877 990-7171 #245
Fax : 514 871-9797
Financial Challenges of Breast Cancer
Having cancer is expensive
$300. This is, on average, the monthly excess expenses of a family in which one person has breast cancer. Travel expenses, parking, lodging, housekeeping, medication, specialized lingerie, lymphedema treatment and more, facing a breast cancer diagnosis can bring up some potentially frightening financial concerns. Suddenly, you have to stop everything to focus on your health. This usually means taking extended time off from work and finding help with your day-to-day responsibilities, such as child or elder care. If your cancer has advanced to stage 4, the situation is different because the impacts are long term, even lifelong.
It is important to know that you are not alone. Reach out to the services in your community that can help ease your mind and your wallet.
Everyone’s situation is different. Probably the biggest factor is whether you are the primary wage earner in your household. Depending on your professional circumstances and insurance, you may be eligible for compensation while undergoing treatment and recovery, but this may not match the income you earned before you became ill.
If you were employed before you became ill, you likely find yourself in one of these three categories:
- Eligible for wage loss replacement benefits: You probably fall into this category if you are a full-time employee or are self-employed and pay into a health, disability, or wage replacement insurance program. In this case, most of your wages may be replaced, but it will probably not be your full wages, and the duration of wage replacement may be limited.
- Eligible for employment insurance (EI): Typically, full-time employees and self-employed people who contribute to the government EI program are eligible. This covers 55% of your salary over 15 weeks. Unfortunately, treatment for breast cancer takes an average of 24 to 52 weeks, so you are not likely to be covered the entire time.
- Not eligible for benefits or EI: Many self-employed or casual employees may find themselves in this situation. This means your source of income will be completely cut off as soon as you are unable to work. If you do not have savings to fall back on, your situation may feel dire. You may be eligible for social assistance, but such programs can be quite limited.
On top of any lost income, you may also need someone to take over your day-to-day responsibilities while you are ill. This can include things like maintaining the home, grocery shopping and cooking, childcare, or care for elderly parents. In some cases, loved ones are able to pitch in, but not everyone has access to this resource. You may need to hire help, or other family members may need to take time off work to fill in the gaps.
We are fortunate that the Québec Health Insurance Plan covers the cost of medical care, but it may not alleviate all of the financial stresses that can arise from a cancer diagnosis. For instance, you may require some prescription or over-the-counter medications that are not covered by RAMQ or your insurance. Other medical devices, such as mobility aids, wigs, or prostheses may not be fully covered. You may also need to pay out-of-pocket for rehabilitation services, such as physiotherapy, or support services, such as psychotherapy for yourself and your family. Some people require the help of an at-home nurse, which may have some out-of-pocket costs. The cost of traveling and parking to multiple doctors’ appointments can add up, and if you need a caregiver to help you make these trips, that can mean time off work for a loved one.
The good news is that help is available. Below, we have compiled a comprehensive list of resources to assist you during this extremely difficult time. Please reach out for the support you need.
If you are facing a cancer diagnosis, the last thing you should have to worry about is your finances. It is important to know that help is available during this challenging time.
- Here are some ways to find out where to go for help coping with the financial challenges we described.
- Your employer: They can tell you what accommodations and insurance programs are available for employees facing a serious illness.
- Your healthcare team Often, healthcare workers are in the know about support programs specifically designed for the patients they treat.
- Foundations and support groups: Many of these provide financial support for those in need, such as our Financial Assistance Program. We can also assist you in identifying other support programs and resources that could benefit you, as example the different government programs (EI, disability benefits, social assistance). Every year, the Foundation offers financial assistance to almost 500 patients, accounting for 350,000$.
- Your insurance company: You paid insurance premiums for exactly this kind of circumstance. Find out what help you can now claim.
- Your credit card company: Many credit cards include insurance that covers your bill should you become seriously ill or allows you to pay it back more slowly.
- Your bank: Similarly, banks have loan forgiveness and other programs to help people with serious illnesses.
- Your financial planner: These experts know your situation personally and can help you make tough financial choices.
- An accountant: Accountants can tell you which medical expenses are tax deductible and how to claim those deductions. They can also assist you in withdrawing funds from retirement savings programs without incurring a large tax bill.
- Student loan/bursary programs: If you are a student, you may be receiving student loans or bursaries. These may come from a bank, a private institution, the government, or the school itself. The paperwork for your loan or bursary should include your contact information for the associate in charge of your file. That person can help you understand what the implications are if you have to take a break from school and how they can further assist you.
In collaboration with our Major Partner, National Bank, we have prepared videos to help you navigate through financial questions you may have : following your diagnosis, during your treatments and after surviving breast cancer.
When cancer strikes, it is normal to have many questions and concerns. Here are some answers that will help you manage your finances following diagnosis.
Discover the measures offered by financial institutions and the various levels of government to help you find financial relief while you fight breast cancer.
After surviving breast cancer, your priorities and plans have changed. Here is our advice on how to make these projects that are now close to your heart, a reality.