We are pleased to announce that the comfort fund service has now resumed in accordance with our updated criteria as outlined below.
Please read this criteria before completing and submitting an application form. The link to the new online application form is at the end of this page.
*Please note, the Comfort Fund is a ‘once off’ service. Only one application per patient will be considered by the Marie Keating Foundation
What is the Comfort Fund?
The Marie Keating Foundation provides financial assistance to people who are currently receiving treatment for any kind of cancer and who find themselves in financial difficulty as a result.
Being diagnosed with cancer comes with a lot of additional costs which include but are not limited to the following:
- Increased medical costs such as consultant fees and medications
- Additional expenses from hospital travel and parking
- Increased utility bills due to extra time at home while recovering
- Increased costs due to extra child-minding services etc.
This can all happen while a person has reduced earnings or is not earning at all because they are too unwell to work and family members may have to take time off to help them recover.’
Many people find themselves overwhelmed by these costs and this adds to the stress of their cancer diagnosis. The Marie Keating Foundation hopes to lessen that burden through the Comfort Fund which has been operating since 2004.
Each year, the Marie Keating Foundation allocates a specific budget for men and women who are undergoing cancer treatment but who find themselves struggling financially. As this budget is entirely based on the Foundation’s own voluntary funds and thus is limited, Comfort Fund applications will be evaluated with our outlined new criteria in mind to ensure that Comfort Fund grants are given to those who need it the most. Children under the age of 18 and on active treatment for a cancer diagnosis can access the Irish Cancer Societies ‘Children’s Fund’ for financial support.
Advice for Health Care Professionals:
The Comfort Fund application must be completed by a Medical Social Worker or other Health Care professional on behalf of a cancer patient. All applications must now be filled out online. We will no longer be accepting hard copies. To ensure that the Marie Keating Foundation can effectively process the application on behalf of your patient in a timely manner, we require your assistance in ensuring that all sections of the application form are completed in full. All mandatory fields must be complete otherwise submission online will not be possible.
All Comfort Fund application forms submitted must be completed and signed by the HCP, i.e., Medical Social Worker, Cancer Nurse Specialist or other Health Care Professional caring for the patient. The patient must give their HCP consent to submit the Comfort Fund application form on their behalf.
We will not accept applications forms completed by anyone other than the patient’s HCP.
All applications submitted by an HCP to the Marie Keating Foundation in respect of the Comfort Fund service must comply with the following criteria:
- The HCP must demonstrate that their patient is in financial distress as a result of a cancer diagnosis and is undergoing treatment at the time that the application is submitted
- The patient must be able to demonstrate to the HCP that they are experiencing immediate financial needs associated with their cancer diagnosis and treatment
- It is mandatory that these needs are outlined on the form. The HCP must further verify they have viewed the patients receipts/bills and itemise them on the application form.
Examples of what Comfort Fund grants can assist with include but are not limited to the following:
- Medical costs
- Household bills
- Transport costs
- Childcare expenses
Applications for travel/transport costs will be considered. However, applications for costs from patients who meet the criteria /have benefited from for any other scheme operated by statutory or voluntary agencies e.g. Travel 2 Care may not be approved.
If a patient is in full-time employment and in receipt of full income or other benefits, that patient cannot be considered for financial support. This will also apply if the patient’s spouse/ partner is in full-time employment. This is to ensure that those without regular income are prioritised for assistance. (The only exceptions to this are if the patient’s illness has a direct effect on the family income because the spouse/partner has had to reduce their working hours or become the carer)
Once again, the Comfort Fund service is a ‘once off’ service. Only one application per patient will be considered by the Marie Keating Foundation.
The Marie Keating Foundation will undertake to process each application over a period of 14 days, however this may not always be possible. Any questions from your patients in respect of the application should be made directly to you and not the Marie Keating Foundation.
All applications to this service must now be completed online. No hard copies will be accepted.
All fields are now mandatory. You will be unable to submit the form to the Marie Keating Foundation if you do not complete all sections of the form.
Advice for people with a cancer diagnosis who wish to avail of the comfort fund service:
There are certain criteria that need to be met before an application to the Comfort Fund service can be made on your behalf.
Your financial distress should be as a result of your cancer diagnosis and treatment period. You must be able to demonstrate that you are in immediate financial need.
It is mandatory that you show receipts to the Health Care Professional which demonstrate your financial distress e.g. outstanding utility bill, childcare bill, travel expenses etc.
Applications must be made on your behalf by the health care professional involved directly in your care. Your health care professional may be your medical social worker, specialist cancer nurse or other health care professional caring for you while you are receiving treatment for your cancer diagnosis. If you do not know who this is, please ask in the hospital where you are receiving treatment.
The Marie Keating Foundation cannot accept applications directly from patients or their family members. Unfortunately, all applications submitted directly to the Marie Keating Foundation by patients will be returned to you.
If you are in full-time employment you cannot be considered for financial support. This will also apply if your spouse/ partner is in full-time employment. Each application will be considered on a case by case basis.
The Comfort Fund provides a “once off” assistance. Only one application per patient will be considered as the budget allocated to the comfort fund is limited.
Each application will be assessed on its own merit and any assistance given will be managed in a confidential and empathetic manner. Whilst the Marie Keating Foundation will do its best to award applications that meet the criteria set out in the Comfort Fund application criteria, this cannot be guaranteed due to limited budgets and the discretionary nature of the Fund.
For a full disclaimer of the security procedures in place to keep applicant’s personal information safe, click here.
If you are a healthcare professional and would like further details about the Comfort Fund Service, please email: [email protected] or call 01 628 3726.