Cook County Resources
- Employment Rights & Job Search/Retraining Resources
- Legal Rights, Navigation & Case Management Resources
- Health Insurance Resources
- Financial Assistance Resources
- Prescription Drug Help
- Utility Assistance Programs
- Other Services
- Programs for Children
- Support Groups
Employment Rights & Job Search/Retraining Resources
Cancer and Careers
• This website provides working women and men with cancer, employers, co-workers, caregivers and health care providers with information on legal rights, job searching tools, how to talk with coworkers/managers and how to balance work and cancer. The website is also available in Spanish.
Career One Stop
• Career One Stop provides information on employment and job retraining programs. It also includes interactive tools for career development as well as online job coaches.
• A website run by the federal government that provides links for employees and job-seekers with disabilities, information on the ADA, job accommodations and vocational rehabilitation.
Easter Seals Disability Services
• Assists children and adults with disabilities with job-training.
• A job searching resource specializing in telecommuting, part-time, and flexible jobs.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chicago District Office
500 West Madison Street, Suite 2000
Chicago, Illinois 60661
Chicago District Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
• Enforces federal laws that prohibit job discrimination (e.g., ADA). Has a 24 hour automated system with answers to frequently asked questions and provides publications in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese and Braille. Publications can be downloaded or printed directly from the website and/or can be ordered through their toll-free number.
US Dept. of Labor Wage & Hour Division Chicago District Office
230 S. Dearborn Street, Room 412
Chicago, IL 60604-1591
(866) 4US-WAGE (487-9243)
Hours: Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST
Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
• A service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor. JAN provides free consulting, assistance with reasonable accommodations, and other services to increase the employability of individuals with disabilities.
Cook County Workforce Partnership
One-Stop Locations: www.workforceboard.org/career-resources
• Provides employment related assistance including: job information, vocational training, career counseling, and other services.
Marriot Foundation for People with Disabilities
• The Marriot Foundation’s “Bridges: From School to Work” program provides employment opportunities for young people with disabilities through the program.
National Center on Workforce and Disability/Adult (NCWD)
• Provides information on job retraining, technical assistance and legal rights.
The Work Site: Ticket to Work
• The Ticket to Work program is for people receiving SSDI or SSI by helping them obtain employment services, rehabilitation services or other support services to achieve a vocational goal.
Legal Rights, Navigation & Case Management Resources
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
• AAPD offers a comprehensive website for disability-related news and information.
Chicago Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service
Cook County Bar Lawyer Referral Service
• Provides an online tool to locate an attorney to hire.
Illinois State Bar Illinois Lawyer Finder
• Provides an online tool to locate an attorney to hire. You may also call (877) 622-0091 to be referred to an attorney for a 30 minute consultation for no more than $25.
National Cancer Legal Services Network
• A network of private law firms, non-profit legal aid organizations, medical-legal partnerships, bar associations, cancer support organizations, individual attorneys, social workers, and patient navigator programs. The NCLSN advocates for the provision of comprehensive cancer legal services to help individuals resolve nonmedical issues so that they may focus on their health and well-being.
Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF)
• The Patient Advocate Foundation provides insurance and employment case management services, and publications on job discrimination and disability.
Health Insurance Resources
U.S. Department of Labor – Employee Benefits Security Administration
230 S Dearborn St
Chicago, IL 60604
• Frequently Asked Questions: www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-consumer-cobra.html
Health Insurance Options:
• Get Covered Illinois
Find Local in-person help: https://getcoveredillinois.gov/get-help/
DHS Family Community Resource Center in Cook County - Lower North
Family Community Resource Center
2650 West Fulton Street
Chicago, IL 60612
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday (except state holidays)
• Receives applications for Cash, SNAP, and Medical Assistance by fax, mail or in person.
• Applications can also be downloaded at https://wb.dhs.illinois.gov/wbpublic/register/wb/wbHomePre.do
Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP)
• A free insurance counseling service sponsored by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Insurance.
To reach the SHIP hotline, call: (800) 548-9034.
Financial Assistance Resources
There are many programs available that provide financial assistance with co-pays, health care premiums, co-insurance, deductibles, and other expenses. Some of these programs are national, some are geographically or cancer specific. When looking for resources you may need to think creatively. Maybe you can get assistance with your utility bills, so that you can use the money that you have set aside for your utilities to pay some of your health care costs. Some health care providers may be willing to discount your medical bill or set up a payment plan for you. Consider setting up an online fundraiser to raise money to help pay for your medical bills or living expenses. There are also resources out there to help with transportation, lodging, house cleaning, clothing, utilities, food, and other necessities. The following are some resources that are available to residents in Cook County, IL.
Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition
• Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (CFAC) is a coalition of independent organizations that provide education about financial issues after a cancer diagnosis. Some of the individual member organizations provide direct financial assistance.
Prescription Drug Help
CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation
(866) 55-COPAY (866-552-6729)
• A nonprofit organization that helps people with cancer pay for co-payments for chemotherapy and targeted treatment drugs, ensuring their access to care for prescribed treatments. To determine if you are eligible to apply, call 866-55-COPAY and speak with a co-payment specialist.
Hours: Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• NeedyMeds is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit information resource devoted to helping people in need find assistance programs to help them afford their medications and costs related to health care.
Patient Access Network Foundation
• The Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation provides underinsured patients with financial assistance to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses such as co-payments.
• RxHope can help determine if you are eligible for pharmaceutical companies’ patient assistance programs (for free or discounted brand name drugs) and then help guide you through that process.
Low Cost Medical Care
A Silver Lining Foundation
• A program that provides free screening mammograms and follow-up diagnostic evaluations at six partner hospitals around Chicagoland.
Association of Jewish Family and Children's Agencies
• A coalition of agencies that provide help for medical equipment, supplies, prescriptions and transportation to medical care.
Friends of Man
• Provides assistance with paying for prostheses, wheelchairs, medical equipment, mobility equipment, hearing aids and orthopedic shoes. Application must be filled out by a healthcare professional.
• Hill-Burton facilities are hospitals and nursing homes that have received federal funding to provide low-cost or no-cost medical care to those meeting income guidelines. Visit http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/Search_HCC.aspx to view participating hospitals or nursing homes by zip code.
Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
A comprehensive list of locations is available at http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/womenshealth/IBCCP_Directory.pdf
• Provides free mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams and Pap tests to uninsured women 35-64 years old.
The Cancer Fund of America
• Provides for non-prescription medical needs such as nutritional supplements or incontinence supplies. Families can request to be placed in their database for specific needs.
Utility Assistance Programs
Assistance programs are offered by many gas, electric, water, and phone companies. If you feel you may have difficulty paying your monthly bills, contact the company before your balance becomes too large. Companies are more willing to work out a payment plan with those willing to work with them. Many states have regulations that prohibit companies from turning off utilities; your doctor or social worker may need to write letters describing why the service(s) are medically necessary. The regulations do not diminish your responsibility for paying the bills, but may allow you more time or lower your monthly payments. In an emergency situation, check with local help lines and social service agencies as some provide one-time emergency help with utility bills.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
• Helps low-income households meet their home energy needs. Make an appointment to apply for assistance in Cook County by calling (800) 571-2332 or for more information visit: http://www.cedaorg.net/www2/EnergyAssistance.html.
Free Gas USA, Inc.
• A nationwide non-profit assistance program for low-income people having trouble paying for gasoline. An income calculator is available at the website. Applications are only available online, must be substantiated by a human service agency, and must be accompanied by a $3 non-refundable cashier check or money order. Applicants must be residents of the United States.
Food, Housing, & Other General Financial Assistance Programs
Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund
• The BMCF supports patients ages 18-40 currently undergoing cancer treatment with services to meet daily needs. It provides home health care services, co-payments required by many health plans for medical care, temporary housing, and other expenses for those temporarily unable to pay bills like rent, insurance, and food.
(800) 813-HOPE (4673)
• Offers a variety of financial assistance programs including transportation to and from cancer treatment, Home care, Child care, and pain medication. To be eligible you must have a cancer diagnosis, be in treatment, and have an income at or below 250% of the FPL.
Catholic Charities, USA
• Some local offices have limited funding available to provide emergency financial assistance.
Cancer Financial Assistance Council
• The Cancer Financial Assistance Council (CFAC) is a coalition of financial assistance organizations joining forces to help cancer patients experience better health and well-being by limiting financial challenges, through educating patients and providers about existing resources and advocating on behalf of cancer patients who have financial burdens associated with the costs of cancer treatment and care.
• Provides financial assistance to help pay health insurance copayments, coinsurance, and premiums.
Housing Authority of Cook County
• Provides affordable housing in to low and moderate income individuals, families, elderly and/or disabled within suburban Cook County.
Meals On Wheels
• A national organization that coordinates thousands of programs throughout the US that delivering meals to people who are homebound. Some programs require a small donation and each program determines eligibility. Search by zip code on their website for the closest program.
• Provides financial assistance to families who dealing with brain cancer. Financial aid is available for medical bills, child care, housing, utility bills, transportation, medication and other areas of assistance. An application with supporting documentation is required.
• Provides assistance, up to $500.00 for those who are able to demonstrate a financial need. NetWish will issue gift certificates or provide payments directly to pay bills. Apply online.
No Wooden Nickels
• Provides assistance to Illinois cancer patients for medical expenses, transportation assistance, utilities, meals, home care, child care and special clothing needs.
Rise Above It
• Provides financial assistance to young adult patients between 15 -39, battling cancer who are undergoing or actively pursuing clinical trial treatment options. Requests may be made for medical expenses, housing costs, travel expenses as well as food, clothing and utility bills.
The Pink Fund
• Provides short time financial assistance for women coping with breast cancer. Assistance is limited to help pay health insurance premiums, house, rent, car, utility, or car insurance payments, and license plate tabs.
Surviving and Moving Forward: The SAMFund for Young Adult Survivors of Cancer
• Provide various grants and scholarships to young adult survivors, ages 18-35, to help supplement the money that they and their families have lost during treatment, and pay for specific transitional issues, such as education, fertility options, living, job search and lingering medical expenses.
Cancer Fairy Godmother
• A website that provides various resources for people coping with cancer from translation services to transportation, to how to get free wigs.
• Provides ways to connect with people during any type of health event such as personal sites, a SupportPlanner and an online volunteer community, the Amplifier Hub. CaringBridge services are available online 24/7 to anyone, anywhere at no cost.
Cleaning for a Reason
• A non-profit organization that offers free professional housecleaning services to improve the lives of women undergoing treatment for cancer. You may be eligible for cleanings once a month for up to four months.
Community Crisis Center - Economic Crisis Services
• A toll-free hotline staffed by crisis professionals who can help people with individuals and families dealing with economic problems due to job loss, foreclosure, medical emergency or other increases in financial responsibilities leading to crisis. The program provides case management, personal and financial counseling, and emergency food. Rent assistance, utility assistance and transportation help is also provided when funds are available.
Pace Bus Dial-a-Ride
• Low cost transportation services for individuals with disabilities. There are multiple providers in Cook County. Please visit the website for phone numbers for your city
• A website that allows users to create fundraisers for medical and non-medical costs. There is no fee to establish a fundraiser and GiveForward will collect 7.5% of any money you raise.
• Helps manage healthcare reimbursement process from start to finish, maximizing benefits. A fee may be associated with services.
• A non-profit organization that encourages cancer patients and caregivers to create free, customized websites.
Programs for Children
Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation
23 W. Hubbard St., Floor 3
Chicago, IL 60610
• Supports families affected by childhood cancer by providing limited financial assistance like phone cards and parking vouchers to families and grants "wishes" for patients. Families must live in Illinois, or the patient must be receiving treatment at an Illinois facility listed on the Bear Necessities website.
Clayton Dabney Foundation for Kids with Cancer
• Provides gifts, last wishes and financial assistance to families which will facilitate quality of family life and create everlasting memories. Child must be considered terminal, under 21 years old, and be referred by a healthcare professional. Cap per family is usually $2,000.
First Hand Foundation
• First Hand Foundation assists individual children with health related needs and limited financial resources to cover these expenses.
Foundation for Children with Cancer
• Direct financial assistance for families of children with cancer. Families must be referred by a healthcare professional. There is currently a $500 limit per family for financial assistance and payments go directly to the vendor.
Jake Owen Raborn Foundation
• Provides financial assistance to children diagnosed with pediatric cancer. Applications should be submitted by the family's social worker over the phone or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Children’s Project provides gift bags, camp scholarships and limited emergency funding to pediatric oncology patients under 18, living in the United States.
• Supports the needs and provides financial assistance to children with cancer and their families who are seeking alternative methods of healing.
National Children's Cancer Society
• Provides financial and in-kind assistance to children with cancer and their families.
American Cancer Society
Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force listing of Chicago area Support Groups:
Cancer Wellness Center at Lutheran General Hospital (Park Ridge)