Financial Assistance for Other MS-Related Needs

Lisa Emrich Health Guide July 06, 2009
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    In my last post, I provided a list of places that may be able to help you with financial assistance for your MS medications. But these are not the only costs associated with MS. In addition to pharmaceutical assistance, there are programs available to address other needs as well.  The primary organizations which offer assistance specific for MS-related needs include the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, and the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America.

     

    National Multiple Sclerosis Society

    Each chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society offers different support programs to patients and family members within their district.  Once you locate your chapter, go to the "Programs and Services" section of their website for more information.  Be sure to call the chapter to enquire as to programs which may not be listed on the website.

     

    Find an NMSS Chapter here or call 1-800-344-4867.

     

    Examples of resources available include:

    • One-time emergency funds to help with basic needs, such as rent, mortgage, phone bill, utilities, etc
    • Limited funds for repairs, requipment, or modifications to your home or vehicle
    • Items for loan and equipment assistance
    • Respite assistance and caregiver support
    • Transportation assistance
    • Employment assistance
    • Referrals to local vendors
    • Counseling and support
    • Education programs
    • Scholarships
    • Etc.

     

     

    Multiple Sclerosis Association of America / MRI Diagnostic Fund
    The MSAA MRI Diagnostic Fund helps individuals obtain an initial diagnostic MRI of the brain by working with MS centers, imaging centers and doctors' offices. In cases of insurance denials or non-insured individuals, MSAA can also assist with payment for a diagnostic MRI. Certain income limits apply.  Applicants household incomes must not exceed three times the federal poverty level for family size. Applicants must also have no insurance or have been denied coverage for the MRI exam. The MRI must be to make the diagnosis of MS; a physician letter is required.

     

    Do not schedule or have an MRI until MSAA has approved your application.  MSAA will direct you to an imagining center in your area.  Remember you are responsible for any associated fees or charges such as physician fees, fees to read your MRI, etc.

     

    706 Haddonfield Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
    Phone: (800) 532-7667 ext.120
    Fax: (856) 661-9797
    Email: mri@msassociation.org
    Program website: http://www.msassociation.org/programs/mri/
    Application: http://www.msassociation.org/PDFs/appl_MS_MRI_03302009.pdf

     

     

    Multiple Sclerosis Association of America / MRI Institute
    The MSAA MRI Institute will work with eligible individuals, their doctor, imaging centers and insurers, to assist in acquiring the necessary MRI. The MSAA Institute funds Cranial MRI for the purpose of monitoring or assessing the progress of multiple sclerosis.  For those with insurance but whose carrier is reluctant to pay for a physician-requested MRI, the MRI Institute will work to secure payment from the company. There is no income restriction for this service.

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    For those of low/moderate income who have medical insurance (including Medicare) but are unable to meet co-payment or deductible requirements, the MRI Institute may provide some financial assistance.  For those of low/moderate income who do not have medical insurance, the MRI Institute may provide full or partial payment for your MRI.  For those seeking financial assistance through the MRI Institute, household incomes must not exceed three (3) times the federal poverty level for family size.
    - Created in a partnership with EMD Serono and Pfizer pharmaceutical companies.

     

    Do not schedule or have an MRI until MSAA has approved your application.  MSAA will direct you to an imagining center in your area.  Remember you are responsible for any associated fees or charges such as physician fees, fees to read your MRI, etc.

     

    Anyone needing an MRI exam specifically to determine a diagnosis of MS is not eligible. Those individuals should apply to the MSAA MRI Diagnostic Fund.

     

    706 Haddonfield Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
    Phone: (800) 532-7667 ext.120 or ext.114
    Fax: (856) 488-8257
    Email: mriinstitute@msassociation.org
    Program website: http://www.msassociation.org/programs/mri_institute/
    Application: http://www.msassociation.org/PDFs/appl_MS_MRI_Institute_052009.pdf

     

     

    Multiple Sclerosis Association of America / Cooling Equipment Distribution

    The most common cooling product is a full-size vest that contains insulated pockets which hold small ice packs. The vests are worn over clothing and provide a temporary cooling relief which can last up to a few hours.

     

    Recently, manufacturers have also developed smaller, lightweight vests which are designed to be worn under clothing. These smaller vests offer less cooling relief but are easily hidden for discreet use and comfortable to wear while at work, on the go, or exercising. In addition to the vests, companies have created a variety of cooling wraps to fit the neck, wrists and ankles, giving people more options and the ability to stay active while cooling.

     

    The MSAA Cooling Program offers MS clients who qualify a choice of:

    •  A Cooling Kit which includes a vest worn under clothing with a variety of accessories for the neck, wrists and ankles; or

    •  A Standard Cooling Vest which is worn over clothing.

     

    MSAA encourages you to consider these options and make your selection carefully as there are no returns or exchanges.

     

    706 Haddonfield Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
    Phone: (800) 532-7667
    Email: clientservices@msassociation.org

    Program website: http://www.msassociation.org/programs/cooling/

    Application: http://www.msassociation.org/PDFs/appl_Cooling_052011_complete.pdf

     

     

     

    Multiple Sclerosis Association of America / Equipment Distribution

    Some people with MS experience difficulty with balance and coordination, fine motor skills, and mobility. The MSAA Equipment Distribution Program offers clients products designed to improve their safety, dignity, mobility, and independence. MSAA provides these products at no charge and ships directly to the client.

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    Items distributed through the program include a variety of bathroom and home safety products such as shower chairs, grab bars, and hand rails as well as mobility devices including canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. Those applying to the program must include a doctor's prescription which confirms the person's diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Please know that there are no product returns or exchanges.

     

     

    706 Haddonfield Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
    Phone: (800) 532-7667
    Email: clientservices@msassociation.org

    Program website: http://www.msassociation.org/programs/equipment/

    Application: http://www.msassociation.org/PDFs/appl_PersonalEquip_062010_complete.pdf

     

     

     

    Multiple Sclerosis Foundation Home Care Assistance Grant Program
    The MSF Home Care Assistance Grant Program provides direct support for the use of in-home services including personal care, homemaker companion services, physical, occupational, and speech therapy, transportation services and caregiver respite. The MSF’s Temporary Homecare Assistance Program provides short-term custodial care in the home to encourage independence, facilitate management of all health problems related to MS, and improve functional status and quality of life, when possible. This program also helps to maintain caregiver and other family support mechanisms. MSF has provided hundreds of hours of homecare, respite, and therapy services to those of all ages, with limited or fixed incomes.

    - Partially funded through a charitable donation from the EMD Serono, Inc..

     

    6350 North Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
    Phone: (888) MSFOCUS or (888) 673-6287
    Fax: (954) 351-0630
    Email: support@msfocus.org
    Program website: http://www.msfocus.org/Homecare-Grant-Program.aspx
    Application: http://www.msfocus.org/PDF/Homecare%20application.pdf or apply online

     

     

    Multiple Sclerosis Foundation Cooling Program
    The MSF Cooling Program offers the practical and popular cooling vest, along with brim hats, work collars, skull-pads, wristbands, cooling pillows, and neckties. Our cooling program cycle begins on February 1st and continues through June 1st. All applications are confidential and will be reviewed by the grant committee.
    - Partially funded through a charitable donation from the Bayer Foundation
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    6350 North Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
    Phone: (888) MSFOCUS or (888) 673-6287
    Fax: (954) 351-0630
    Email: support@msfocus.org
    Program website: http://www.msfocus.org/Cooling-Program.aspx

     

     

    Multiple Sclerosis Foundation's Brighter Tomorrow Grants Program
    The MSF Brighter Tomorrow Grants Program helps to make dreams come true for individuals with multiple sclerosis across the country. The goal of the grant is provide individuals with MS with goods or services (valued at up to $1000.00 per recipient) to improve their quality of life by enhancing safety, self-sufficiency, comfort, or well-being.

     

    Recipients of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation's Brighter Tomorrow grant have received car repairs, ramps, wheelchairs, walkers, eyeglasses, computers, appliances, televisions, furniture, therapeutic equipment, hobby supplies, retreats, and various home modifications.

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    To qualify, a person must be 18 years of age or older and diagnosed with MS, or the parent of a minor child diagnosed with MS, and be a permanent U.S. resident. They must not have any other means of fulfilling the need they express.  Applicants are asked to provide basic personal and financial information, and to write a brief essay of 100 words or less to describe how the grant would help them have A Brighter Tomorrow.
    - Partially funded through a charitable donation from the Bayer Foundation.

    6350 North Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
    Phone: (888) MSFOCUS or (888) 673-6287
    Fax: (954) 351-0630

    Email: support@msfocus.org
    Program website: http://www.msfocus.org/Brighter-Tomorrow-Grant.aspx
    Application: http://www.msfocus.org/PDF/BTGGrant08.pdf or apply online

     

     

     

    Multiple Sclerosis Foundation Assistive Technology Program
    The MSF Assistive Technology (AT) program provides direct support for services and devices that increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. This includes aids for daily living, communication devices, computer, home, and vehicle modifications, orthotics, mobility aids, and aids for visual and hearing impairment. Various home modifications, including rails, grab bars, widened doorways and accessible bathrooms have also been provided. 

Questions will be asked regarding symptoms, level of disability, income, family support, and assistance requirements. This information helps the AT coordinator to assess the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive needs of the patient. Financial status also plays a role in determining eligibility for the MSF Assistive Technology Program.  Upon review, the AT coordinator will determine what AT will be provided through the MSF or if a referral to another resource is needed. All equipment is ordered from a licensed medical equipment supplier.
    - Partially funded through a charitable donation from the Bayer Foundation.

     

    6350 North Andrews Avenue. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
    Phone: (888) MSFOCUS or (888) 673-6287
    Fax: (954) 351-0630
    Email: support@msfocus.org
    Program website: http://www.msfocus.org/Assistive-Technology-Program.aspx
    Application: http://www.msfocus.org/PDF/AssistTech-Application.pdf or apply online

     

     

    Multiple Sclerosis Foundation Computer Grant Program
    The MSF Computer Grant Program provides refurbished laptop or desktop computers for individuals with MS on limited or fixed incomes. For those who do not know how to use a computer, training may be provided. The application process requires verification of a diagnosis of MS and a brief essay from the applicant explaining how a computer will enhance their quality of life. A computer, monitor, keyboard and mouse will be granted. Internet access and technical support will be the responsibility of the grant recipient. Applications are accepted from July 1 to October 1 of each year.

     

    6350 North Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
    Phone: (888) MSFOCUS or (888) 673-6287
    Fax: (954) 351-0630
    Email: support@msfocus.org

  • Program website: http://www.msfocus.org/Computer-Grant-Program.aspx

    Application: http://www.msfocus.org/PDF/Computer%20application.pdf or apply online

     

    Lisa Emrich is author of the blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers.