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Work, School & Finances

Work and School

Some people continue to work or attend school through cancer treatment, but others are not able to do so. Talk to your healthcare team to know what to expect from treatment so you can make the decision that is best for you.

Learn how to advocate for your rights in the workplace. An employer cannot treat you differently because of your cancer history. You may also have the right to take medical leave under your employer’s policies, state law or federal law such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Learn more about workplace law from the following organizations:

If you are a student, you may need to take a medical leave of absence. In most cases, a medical leave of absence means you will have the option to return to school when you are able. Schools have different policies for medical leave absence. Talk to your school’s administration to discuss your options.  Learn more about college and cancer from Triage Cancer.

If you have federal student loans, you can defer your student loan payments throughout treatment and then for six months afterward. Contact your loan servicer to learn more about deferment. You may also be eligible for scholarships for YAs with a history of cancer such as from the Ulman Fund  or other organizations.

When you return to work or school after cancer treatment, you may need to make changes so you can do your job or schoolwork to the best of your ability. Let your employer or teacher know. Some special accommodations may be protected by law.

 Download or order The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's free booklet, Cancer and Your Finances.

Finances and Health Insurance

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26. If you are on FMLA leave from your job, your employer must continue to provide health insurance. If you are uninsured, check to see if you qualify for your state’s Medicaid program which provides coverage for eligible, low-income individuals and families.

Even with health insurance, cancer treatment can put a strain on your finances. Besides paying for treatment, you still have to pay for all your basic needs such as food, rent, and gas. You may also have to take time away from work for treatment. It may be difficult to make ends meet. Create a detailed budget to get a better handle on your financial situation. Government and nonprofit organizations offer financial assistance programs. You may be eligible for assistance based on your diagnosis, income, employment status, or other factors. Learn more about financial assistance programs.

 Use these printable financial worksheets  to help you stay organized.

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