• Principal Consultant

Financial Security Options When Facing Terminal Cancer

Updated: Aug 14, 2018

Terminal Cancer and Fiscal Hardship
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Everything changes when you receive a terminal cancer diagnosis. Along with an altered perspective, chances are you need to cover substantial treatment costs. How do you manage so you and your loved ones can feel financially secure during this difficult time?

Establish security. A terminal diagnosis is devastating to you and your family in many ways. It’s important to create a financial safety net to cover the costs associated with treatment and to provide for family members after you’re gone. In the midst of an overwhelming time, sorting out the details of money and bills can seem like a luxury, but by putting things in proper order you can face your situation with some peace of mind.

Access cash. Along with cancer and a terminal diagnosis, many people face the almost immediate loss of income. Not only do you need time off for any treatments you’re receiving, your spouse is likely taking time to help. MoneyTalksNews suggests tapping into any resources of cash outside of routine income. Some insurance policies provide a living benefit option. In other words, you might be able to receive a portion of a death benefit in advance. Also, some insurance policies offer supplemental benefits for those with terminal cancer. For example, some Medicare Advantage plans can cover medications, dental work and other treatments related to your diagnosis.

Photo Image courtesy of Pixabay

Other sources of cash.  Perhaps you own assets that are no longer practical, such as an extra vehicle or retirement fund.  Look around for items of particular value such as expensive tools, a camper or motorcycle.  Another idea is to take out a mortgage on your home.  If you are single, own your home outright and don’t have anyone you plan to pass your estate to, it’s an option worthy of consideration. 

Government assistance. When you stop working, you can apply for Social Security disability funds. People diagnosed with a terminal illness can receive expedited processing of their disability claim, however, they still will wait five months before receiving benefits. That means you’ll need to find other means for filling in that gap. Note that even if your diagnosis is for less than five months of survival, it still makes sense to apply, especially if you have a spouse or children.

Lifestyle changes. Depending on the nature of your diagnosis, Time explains it may make sense for you to downsize your home. A more manageable home can be easier for you and loved ones to navigate, both physically and financially. As treatment and care burdens change, living in a smaller, single-floor home can help with the upkeep of the house, easier movement coming and going and reduced utilities.

Networking and resources. There are many viable personal networking options to help pay for cancer treatments. Reach out to friends and family, your local community and online friends. You can benefit from bake sales, silent auctions and yard sales. Some experts suggest electronic outreach since thanks to the Internet and social media funds can be raised far and wide through websites such as GoFundMe.com. Also, note there are many resources available through national service organizations.

Plan for later. In the midst of your financial concerns, the future of loved ones can weigh on your mind. You should establish a will and check the beneficiaries on your various accounts and insurance policies. As Forbes points out, you also should consider the impact of your situation on income taxes. Many times your final year means a drastic income reduction for your household, followed by a substantial increase the next year as benefits payout. Consider consulting a tax advisor or other financial professional regarding the particulars of your situation.

Some of the trials involved with facing a terminal diagnosis are navigated more comfortably when you have secure economic footing. Find funds to help pay for your treatments, adjust your lifestyle and reach out to potential resources. Your journey can be eased with solid financial planning.