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Know Your Benefits

Health and Cancer Helpline

New York Teacher

Receiving a life-threatening medical diagnosis can be an emotional rollercoaster. You may be shocked and overwhelmed to hear this life-changing news and wonder how it will affect you and your family members.

The UFT Welfare Fund has an array of programs to support you.

Its Health and Cancer Helpline provides free and confidential health services by phone for UFT members eligible for Welfare Fund benefits and their dependents who are diagnosed with a medical illness such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease. The helpline is staffed by full-time social workers and peer counselors, who can provide assistance and resources.

Call the UFT Welfare Fund at 212-539-0500 during office hours and ask to speak to a Helpline social worker.

Services include:

Confidential, immediate support: A Helpline counselor can answer questions, address concerns and offer guidance regarding health benefits, medical leaves and other health-related matters.

Guidance for a leave of absence: Helpline staff can outline for UFT members their right to take a leave and their leave options, and can help them determine the type of leave appropriate for a medical or family-related crisis.

Health benefits information: Helpline staff can help members navigate the health care system, providing accurate information regarding health plans and how to access the benefits and services members are entitled to.

Referrals: Helpline social workers can provide quality health care resources and referrals to health care professionals, social service agencies, individual and group therapy and nationally recognized health and wellness programs.

MSK Direct

The UFT Welfare Fund has forged a partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) that offers members and their eligible dependents fast, guided access to expert cancer care specialists and services.

MSK Direct ensures access to a dedicated and compassionate team of cancer specialists at Memorial Sloan Kettering. When faced with a cancer diagnosis, reliable information and timely, comprehensive care are crucial. Through MSK Direct, the experts at Memorial Sloan Kettering will help members make the right plan.

The MSK Direct team includes experienced nurses, social workers and care advisers who will guide members through the process of seeking care at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Talking with Children about Cancer

Through phone consultations and educational group workshops, MSK oncology social workers will provide school-based professionals with the tools they need to support students and their families who have a loved one with cancer.

MSK oncology social workers will provide insight into children’s thoughts and feelings about cancer as well as their reactions to a diagnosis. They will recommend effective communication strategies and suggest age-appropriate interventions to support children with a loved one who has cancer.

Medical Learning Series

The UFT Welfare Fund hosts a series of free educational seminars throughout the school year led by top physicians in their field. UFT members, both in-service and retired, are welcome to attend.

This year’s topics included breast cancer, mindfulness and the challenges of caregiving.