TRENTON – Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez today welcomed families helped by a state fund that pays the high costs of children suffering from medical problems.
The Catastrophic Illness in Children’s Relief Fund was established by the Legislature in 1988. Since 1989, approximately 5,500 families have received financial assistance, for a combined total of $132 million.
In fiscal year 2012, some 167 families will be helped with $3.4 million in financial assistance, according to fund Executive Director Claudia Marchese.
The trust fund stays afloat by businesses contributing $1.50 for every employee who works for them.
Guadagno took the opportunity to thank Tom Bracken of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and Melanie Willoughby of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.
Guadagno and Velez today paid recognition to some of the recipients and also called attention to the fund for families who think they may be eligible to receive some help.
Guadagno said awards are given based on needs, as opposed to a household’s income.
She added that even if money isn’t given to pay a family’s bill, they could receive help by negotiating with vendors on lowering the price of needed equipment.
Families who spoke at the Wednesday afternoon press conference said the fund afforded them things such as a handicapped-accessible van and a home elevator.
In general, financial help is given if a child’s unreimbursed medical and related expenses are more than 10 percent higher than the family’s annual income up to $100,000, and 15 percent over a salary that’s at least $100,000.
The fund covers hospital and doctor bills, medicines, medical equipment, and home care, among other things.
Guadagno said residents can call 1-800-335-FUND to make a claim or for more information.