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Health and Cancer Helpline

The UFT Welfare Fund’s Health and Cancer Helpline is available in your time of need through our free and confidential tele-health services for UFT Welfare Fund members and their dependents who may be diagnosed with a major medical illness such as cancer, stroke or diabetes. Staffed with full-time social workers, our team is dedicated to providing the assistance and resources needed.

Phone number: 212-539-0515

  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year;
  • 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday during the summer

Services include:

  • Immediate tele-health support: When life-altering events occur, one needs quick access to a knowledgeable resource. A Helpline social worker can answer questions, address concerns and offer guidance regarding health benefits, medical leaves and other health-related matters. Whether from the individual’s home, work place, or even during a hospital stay, the Helpline offers prompt, confidential counseling over the phone.
  • Guidance for a leave of absence: 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, their rights to take a leave and determining the type of leave appropriate for their situation.
  • Professional support: Helpline social workers are available on an ongoing basis to provide professional assistance. The staff is trained to work with individuals/families to assess health risk needs, provide short-term counseling and references to healthcare services outside of the UFT.
  • Health benefits information: It is important to understand your health benefits and what your coverage allows. The Helpline staff guides you through the complexities of navigating the healthcare system, providing accurate information regarding your health plan and accessing the benefits and services you are entitled to.
  • Referrals: When diagnosed with an acute or chronic illness, you or your family members may need additional guidance. The Helpline social workers will assess, evaluate, and provide you with quality health care resources based upon your medical and behavioral health needs. Referrals include but are not limited to: healthcare professionals, social service agencies, individual and group mental health therapy, and nationally recognized specialized health and wellness programs.
  • MSK Direct: The UFT Welfare Fund’s partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center offers members and their eligible dependents guided access to expert cancer care specialists and services. Helpline staff is available to assist with all questions, inquiries and concerns about the program.
  • MSK Direct Cancer Screening Tool: The UFT Welfare Fund partnership with MSK Direct provides access to a short, no-cost assessment to receive personal screening recommendations from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. See the flier » In less than five minutes, you can learn if you are due for any cancer screenings. Take the screening »
  • Talking with Children about Cancer Program: The Helpline has expanded its collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) to offer NYC public school professionals access to this educational program. Through telephonic consultation 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. For more information, please contact the Helpline at the number below.
  • Caregiver support: Caring for an ill loved one can be difficult - emotionally and physically. The Helpline works closely with caregivers to alleviate the stress they may be experiencing by providing emotional support, tips for coping, and referrals to caregiving support groups.
  • Medical Learning Series: The Helpline team hosts free educational seminars throughout the year led by top physicians in their field on a variety of medical topics to include diabetes, sleep disorders and breast cancer to name a few. 
Can I meet with a Helpline social worker in person to discuss my needs?

Yes, but we ask that you call ahead to schedule an appointment as this will ensure that time will be set aside for you.

During what hours can I contact the Health & Cancer Helpline?

Monday through Friday between the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the school year and 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday during the summer months. Please call the Health and Cancer Helpline at 212-539-0515 to speak with a social worker. 

Why does the UFT Welfare Fund have a Health and Cancer Helpline?

When life-altering events occur, whether a recent medical diagnosis or a death in the family, it can be overwhelming and very often professional support is needed. The Helpline is available to provide invaluable information with appropriate guidance and resources.

When should I call the Health and Cancer Helpline?

When you or a loved one are affected by illness and are in need of information, direction and support.

Before calling the Health and Cancer Helpline, is there anything I should do to prepare?

Our caring staff will provide you with knowledge and information ranging from job leaves to accessing community resources. It may be useful to have a pen and paper available to take notes.

I don't have cancer. Can I still use the services of the Health & Cancer Helpline?

Yes. The Health and Cancer Helpline is available to individuals and their dependents who have been diagnosed with all types of medical or behavioral health illnesses.

What can I expect when calling the Health & Cancer Helpline?

You will receive immediate professional advice from a full-time social worker based on identified needs. The social worker will create a supportive plan and follow-up care with a series of telephone and/or in person contacts to assist the individual to resolve issues discussed during the initial assessment.

What services does the Helpline provide?

Services include but are not limited to: immediate access to a full-time social worker to assess the health and wellness needs of the caller, on-going support from the helpline social worker, assistance with planning a leave of absence, health benefits information, MSK Direct (cancer care program) inquiries, referrals to quality community resources, caregiver information and support, and hosting health seminars.

What is the UFT Welfare Fund Health and Cancer Helpline?

The Helpline is a free, confidential support service dedicated to helping individuals and families dealing with medical and behavioral health illnesses.

How do I contact the Health and Cancer Helpline?

Please call the Health and Cancer Helpline at 212-539-0515 and ask to speak with a Health and Cancer Helpline social worker.

Is my information and communication with the Helpline confidential?

All communication with the Helpline is confidential and private.

Does the Health & Cancer Helpline assist only in-service members?

The Helpline is available to assist in-service members and retirees as well as their dependents.

Is there any limit on utilization of the Helpline services?

There is no limit to utilizing the Helpline. The Helpline team is dedicated to helping you each step of the way and will be available on an ongoing basis.

What's New

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The American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraising walks in all five boroughs and on Long Island were canceled last year due to the pandemic, and UFT members showed their support through virtual events. This year, members...

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Dr. Larry Norton of Memorial Sloan Kettering comes to UFT headquarters in Manhattan every year to share the latest information in the medical treatment of breast cancer as part of the UFT Welfare Fund’s Medical Learning Series, a series of seminars...