Know your benefits

Health & Cancer Helpline; Retiree Social Services

First Aid Box and Stethoscope

Are you or a close family member experiencing difficulty with a medical or a personal issue? The UFT can help with information, support, guidance and social services that are free, confidential and only a phone call away.

Health and Cancer Helpline

The UFT Welfare Fund’s Health and Cancer Helpline is a health advocacy program dedicated to assisting members and their dependents in need of support and guidance. Staffed by full-time social workers and peer counselors, the Helpline provides assistance to both in-service and retired members. Services include:

Supportive telephone calls: A Helpline counselor can answer questions, address concerns and offer guidance regarding health benefits, medical leaves and other health-related matters.

Leaves and benefits: During a medical or family-related crisis, it may be necessary to take time off from work. The Helpline staff assists UFT members with understanding their leave options and helps them to plan a medical leave. Helpline counselors provide accurate information regarding members’ health plans and how to access health benefits and services appropriately.

Advocacy: The Helpline team advocates for members whose benefits are delayed or denied by third parties such as medical carriers, health care providers and social service agencies.

Referrals: Whether it’s a medical or behavioral health issue, the Helpline provides external referrals to the appropriate health care professionals throughout New York City.

MSK Direct: The UFT Welfare Fund’s partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan offers members and their eligible family members guided access to expert cancer care specialists and services. Helpline staff is available to assist with all questions, inquiries and concerns about the program.

Medical Learning Series: The Helpline team hosts free educational seminars led by expert physicians on a variety of medical topics including diabetes, sleep disorders and breast cancer.

Please call the UFT Welfare Fund at 212-539-0500 during office hours and ask to speak to a Helpline counselor.

Retiree Social Services

The UFT’s interest in the well-being of its members carries to their retirement years. Three 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 such support is no longer needed.

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.

Information and Referrals: If a retiree needs help with a problem or decision, our professional staff can evaluate the situation and provide assistance with issues such as choosing a nursing home or assisted living community, finding a support group or identifying home care services. They can also make referrals to other resources for the retiree or a family member.

Short-term counseling: 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 212-598-6880 during office hours.

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