Know your benefits

Health and Cancer HelpLine, Retiree Social Services


Are you or a close family member struggling to cope with a health-related problem? The UFT has created social services to help that are free, strictly confidential and only a phone call away.

Health and Cancer HelpLine

The UFT Welfare Fund’s Health and Cancer HelpLine provides confidential assistance to in-service members dealing with physical and emotional problems, whether it be a cancer diagnosis, multiple sclerosis, marital difficulties, the stresses of elder care, alcoholism or drug addiction. The HelpLine provides information and support, helps members plan job leaves and guides callers to the resources they need, including support groups, doctors or other health professionals, websites and union benefits.

Call the Welfare Fund at 1-212-539-0500 and ask to speak to a HelpLine counselor. The HelpLine is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the school year and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer. At other times, callers can leave a message, and their call will be returned within several hours.

The HelpLine’s team of counselors works closely with employee benefits counselors in the UFT Welfare Fund as well as other UFT service units, including Retiree Social Services, the Pension Department, the Victim Support Program, the Peer Intervention Program and the Capably Disabled Committee, which handles requests for job accommodations.

The HelpLine staff also works collaboratively with the UFT Paraprofessional Social Service Program, a free and confidential information and referral service for UFT paraprofessionals seeking social service assistance and professional counseling concerning non-workplace issues. Paraprofessionals can contact the program’s coordinator, who is a licensed social worker, at 1-212-598-9291.

While HelpLine counselors work primarily by phone, members can come to UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway to see a counselor in person if they prefer. It’s best to call ahead and schedule an appointment.

Retiree Social Services

The UFT’s interest in the well-being of its members carries through to their retirement years. Two full-time, licensed geriatric social workers and case managers in the Retiree Social Services Program, located on the 17th floor at 52 Broadway, provide an array of free and confidential social services to retirees and their families wherever they live in the United States.

The services include:

Nationwide telephone reassurance program: A case manager will make weekly, friendly telephone calls to retired members who are coping with an illness, a recent loss or family problems; who reside alone; or for any reason. These calls will continue until the retiree tells the program that he or she no longer needs such support.

Nationwide hospital stay-in-touch program: Because a hospital experience can be overwhelming, a social worker, at the retiree’s request, will be in touch on a daily basis throughout a hospital stay. The social worker will assist the retiree with discharge planning, as well as facilitate home care after the retiree returns home. The social worker will also make contact with the hospital’s social worker. You should call prior to a scheduled hospitalization to request this service.

Referrals to retirement communities and nursing homes: The decision to move to a retirement community or choose a nursing home for yourself or a loved one is always difficult. Retirees will receive information about when to start looking for such a residence and how to choose one.

Short-term counseling and referrals: Social workers will provide confidential counseling to retirees who need help with a problem or decision. After meeting with the retiree a few times, the social worker will make suggestions or make a referral to a therapist who can provide further counseling.

For additional information or to schedule an appointment, call Retiree Social Services at 1-212-598-6880, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (At other times, callers should leave their name and telephone number and the call will be promptly returned.)

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