Coping and understanding your child’s cancer and treatment plans can be stressful in itself. Most caregivers are forced to stop working in order to care for their child. Throwing the financial jumble into the mix is another challenging hardship that families face. So, what can you do to ease financial stress?
The first people you should speak with is someone from the hospital support staff such as a social worker. A social worker can be helpful in helping your family make financial changes because he or she usually knows of any funds that can help ease the financial burden, as well as apply for government assistance your family qualifies for. If you are a member of a church or temple, they may be willing to help set up a fund for out-of-pocket medical expenses. It can also help to decide what household expenses are necessities and which are luxuries. For example—expanded cable packages, wireless telephone bills, eating out, etc.
Monetary donations made to your family are considered gifts and are not taxable. In order to deduct your child’s medical expenses, the cost must be more than 7½% of your income for the year. (Given that tax laws remain the same.) Keep all of your receipts- gas, food, prescriptions, travel mileage and lodging. It’s smart to hire a tax preparer to assist you with your taxes the year of your child’s treatment. A licensed professional will be able to optimize your tax deductions.
It’s no surprise that hospital and doctor bills can become extremely confusing during your child’s treatment. It can be helpful to call the hospital billing department once a month to update your bills and combine them when possible. It’s important to remember that physicians charge separately from the hospital, make sure to take care of both sets of bills.
Remember that it takes a few months to adjust financially to having a child with cancer. Hopefully this financial plan can assist with guiding your family through this journey.