The NCLSN promotes access to healthcare and seeks to increase the availability of legal services for people living with cancer, their families and caregivers.

Legal services programs assist with:

  • Insurance disputes
  • Public benefits
  • Housing
  • Employment issues
  • Future care and custody planning
  • Immigration
  • Advance directives

Doctors, nurses, social workers, patient navigators, and caregivers who work with cancer survivors have shared their different perspectives about cancer legal programs.  Click here to read their stories and quotes in Community Voices.

Additionally, many cancer survivors have shared their stories with us, demonstrating the significant impact of free legal advocacy:

John’s Story  

John, diagnosed with esophageal cancer, sought assistance from Cancer Legal Advocacy & Services Project after he was informed that he would be losing Medicaid coverage due to increased income. He had been approved for Social Security Disability benefits and was notified by the Department of Social Services that he had to meet a large spenddown each month to continue his Medicaid.  He would not have been able to pay his mortgage.  The CLASP attorney advised John of the option to enroll in a community supplemental needs pooled trust which would allow him to place his “extra income” in a special account to be used for his needs and still qualify for Medicaid. CLASP promptly helped him enroll in the trust and his Medicaid was reactivated without a lapse in coverage.

 

Laura’s Story  

A social worker referred Laura, a single mother with breast cancer and no income or medical coverage, to LegalHealth. At that time, her medical services were provided as charity care. LegalHealth helped Laura have her application for Social Security Disability benefits approved and advised Laura to apply for Medicaid, which she did in 2009. However, she never received a decision from the Medicaid office. LegalHealth requested a fair hearing and represented her. The Administrative Law Judge directed Medicaid to approve Laura for coverage dating back to November 2009 through August 2010, which would cover her NYU medical bills totaling $319,253.

 

Ms. J’s Story  

In 2007, Ms. J, a 46-year old low-income woman was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer while going through a divorce proceeding from her then husband.  Given the advanced stage of her breast cancer, the judge awarded her husband primary physical custody of their two young children.  Her ex-husband promptly moved 1,600 miles away and continually tormented Julia by saying she would die without seeing their children again because he had primary custody. This year, when Ms. J’s ex-husband moved back to Georgia with their children and she was in a position to have more frequent contact with them, he would threaten to withhold visitation from her and tell her he was going to move again with the children. Through the Breast Cancer Legal Project, Ms. J filed a court action and BCLP attorneys helped her obtain shared custody of the children.  Ms. J now has a firm custodial schedule where she can spend quality time with her children as long as she is able, free from her ex-husband’s threats and torments.

 

Lillian’s Story  

Lillian was referred to The Family Center by Calvary Hospice after the death of her mother from stomach cancer.  Lillian was 21 years old, a full-time college student and worked at Costco, part-time.  She was struggling with taking care of her brother, grieving for her mother and somehow, keeping her own life on-track.  She had a lot of questions and concerns.  A Family Center attorney visited Lillian at her home and laid out a plan of action as to dealing with emerging problems with housing, benefits (social security) and guardianship of her brother.  With a lot of work and, in once instance, meeting Lillian to sign papers at Costco, TFC placed Lillian in control and responsibility of her mother’s apartment, secured benefits for her brother so that Lillian didn’t have to quit school to work more and helped her to obtain guardianship for her brother.