Living with cancer during COVID-19: A list of resources

Posted at 8:10 AM, Apr 23, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- Living with cancer can be difficult enough. Living with cancer during COVD-19 can add to that overwhelming feeling. From the isolation to the anxiety of going out in public for cancer treatments to the very basic question, "How does the coronavirus affect my cancer?"

Those are dire issues cancer patients face every day. That's why the American Cancer Society, VCU Massey Cancer Center and CBS 6 have teamed up to help guide you through these uncertain times.

At 12:30 p.m. Thursday, join us on Facebook LIVE to get answers to some of your COVID-19 and cancer questions. Scroll down to find other COVID-19 and cancer-related resources.

COVID-19 Resource List

RVA Strong – COVID 19 Resources: RVAStrong centralizes support for our neighbors who need it and amplifies those who are willing to offer it.

American Cancer Society

Massey Cancer Center Women’s Support "Virtual" Group
April, 27, May 11and May 25 at 6:30 p.m.

For conference information contact:
Freda Wilkins, MSW

Virginia 2-1-1

2-1-1 is an easy to remember phone number (and website!) connecting people with free information on available community services. A trained professional listens to your situation and suggests sources of help using one of the largest databases of health and human services in Virginia.

Housing Assistance: Homeward

If you need shelter in the Richmond area, contact the Homeless Crisis Line: (804) 972-0813

The Homeless Crisis Line facilitates access to resources and shelter alternatives for those who are three days or less away from losing their housing. This line is also available for those already experiencing homelessness.

Insulin Assistance

Novo Nordisk is offering a free 90-day supply of insulin to patients who were financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eli Lilly - Insulin - $5 monthly co-pays

National Updates

Taxes: Americans will now have an additional 90 days to file and pay taxes with an extended deadline of July 15, 2020:

Student Loans: The President has announced that the Education Department would allow federal student loan borrowers to suspend payments for at least 60 days without penalty and would not enforce federal rules on standardized testing for K-12 schools. Borrowers need to contact their student loan servicers to take advantage of the benefit. Additional details on this benefit will likely be out soon.

Student Storage: U-Haul has offered 30 days of free self-storage to college students subject to availability.

Mortgages: The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced that is would suspend foreclosures and evictions of homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, which applies to more than 8 million homes

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would also stop foreclosures and evictions of homeowners. Check to see if you have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage or check at

Several major banks and other financial institutions have agreed to provide financial relief to consumers.

Working & Taking Time Off: Congress passed a new law called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes unemployment benefits, paid sick leave, paid FMLA leave, provisions for diagnostic testing, and other health services.

Paid Sick Leave: The law is effective 4/2/20 and expires 12/31/20. It applies to private employers with less than 500 employees, government and school employees. A full-time employee is immediately eligible for 80 hours of paid sick leave, if they are unable to work or telework because the employee is:

  • subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19;
  • experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • caring for an individual subject or advised to quarantine or isolation; or
  • caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.If employees are caring for a family member sick leave is paid at 2/3 their regular rate. Part-time employees are eligible for the number of hours that they normally work over a 2-week period. The law limits paid leave to $511/day ($5,110 total) where leave is taken for an employee’s own illness or quarantine; and $200 per day ($2,000 in total) where leave is taken as a caregiver. An employee cannot be required to use accrued leave first, before accessing this new benefit.

Social Security Benefits: In response to COVID-19, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has made significant changes to its operations and policies.

Online services are available.

SSA is extending their deadlines for filing wherever possible.

SSA is not starting or completing any medical continuing disability reviews (CDRs), and has suspended processing and collecting most new overpayments. However, SSA will continue established collection activity for existing overpayments.

All in-person hearings before an Administrative Law Judge have been cancelled, and claimants and their representatives who are scheduled to have a hearing soon are being contacted to schedule telephone hearings.

Important Links

Triage Cancer: Comprehensive Update on Financial and Insurance Resources During COVID-19

Living Beyond Breast Cancer: Managing Stress During COVID-19

Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Managing Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19

Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Cancer Survivors - Staying Well While Staying at Home

World Health Organization (WHO): Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

National Resources

AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund

Area of Service: National

Change Date: 4/9/2020

Changes: New: Program provides emergency financial assistance to recent kidney transplant or dialysis patients impacted by COVID-19.

Link to Program: AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund

Program: PAN Foundation - COVID-19 Treatment and Prevention Fund
Area of Service: National
Change Date: 4/9/2020
Changes: New: Financial assistance for individuals who have been diagnosed with or directed to self-quarantine due to the COVID-19 virus.
Link to Program: PAN Foundation - COVID-19 Treatment and Prevention Fund

Program: Restaurant Employee Relief Fund
Area of Service: National
Change Date: 4/10/2020
Changes: New: Program provides financial assistance to restaurant and foodservice employees who have been impacted by COVID-19.
Link to Program: Restaurant Employee Relief Fund

Program: Salvation Army Nationwide Response to COVID-19 Health Crisis
Area of Service: National
Change Date: 4/11/2020
Changes: New: National assistance program delivering food, providing shelter and assistance with living expenses to people in need due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
Link to Program: Salvation Army Nationwide Response to COVID-19 Health Crisis

Depend on CBS 6 News and for the most complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.