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Volunteer Advocate
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The Financial Stress of Being Chronically Ill

Being chronically ill impacts the lives of people in many ways. You often hear about the emotional and physical pain caused by chronic illness, but some illnesses like cystic fibrosis also have an economic impact. There are a lot of costs associated with CF (not only treatments but also medical visits, procedures, transportation expenses) which often requires good insurance coverage to help. With the added difficulty of finding or maintaining full-time work while managing your health, being chronically ill can cause a lot of financial stress. Some of our community members shared their financial experience and how they cope with this reality:

“I have had to go onto Disability in the past couple of years, starting at a time when my health was declining. Being on Disability came with some emotional triggers about employment, or lack thereof. Over time, I have come up with ways to feel productive and to contribute to my community, such as part-time, flexible jobs, doing some volunteer work, and working from home. The flexibility is a key factor that is important to help me maintain my health, so I look for that in any employment that I take on.” – Terra Stephenson

“I don’t know if I have any great coping skills when it comes to dealing with financial stress. Everyone in the world has financial stress to some extent I’m sure. I think what’s difficult though is living within your means when you’re too sick to work. I’ve struggled with the fact that I can’t just pick up some extra shifts or another part-time job if we’re needing extra money, but I find if I view maintaining my health as my job, it allows me to let go of the desire to make more money. Keeping myself healthy is work so if I want to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible, I need to keep working on my health.” – Kim Wood

“I have struggled with poor paying jobs, periods of unemployment and debt. I am blessed with a spouse who has a good income and benefits now, but we had to overcome many financial pitfalls. Even now a large part of our income goes towards medical bills. I am currently on disability and only work a few days a week.” – Rob Burtch



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