Financial Help for Kidney Patients

by Mike Andrews ; Updated July 27, 2017
People with end stage kidney disease may require regular dialysis.

According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 527,283 people received treatment for kidney disease in the United States in 2007 -- and 87,812 passed away from end stage renal disease. In the early stages of kidney disease, patients may manage to maintain employment but may still struggle financially due to the high cost of treatment for their conditions. In the later stages of their illnesses, patients may need to undergo kidney dialysis several days each week and may find it impossible to work. This can lead to financial difficulties.

Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance pays a monthly cash benefit to some people that cannot work for at least one year due to kidney disease, including those that need kidney transplants. Those that are expected to die due to their disease can also qualify for benefits. In order to qualify, you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes in the past. Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance online or apply at your local Social Security Administration office.

Supplemental Security Income

Supplement Security Income pays a monthly cash benefit to some people that can’t work for at least one year or that are expected to die from their kidney disease. Typically people apply for Supplemental Security Income if they do not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. You must meet strict income guidelines. Apply at your local Social Security Administration office.


Medicare provides health insurance for elderly people, including those with kidney disease, and for people that have qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income for two years. It pays for treatment for kidney disease, including dialysis, as well as many other health care services unrelated to kidney problems. If you are at least 65 years old, you must apply for Medicare. If you’re on Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, you don’t need to apply, you automatically qualify.


Medicaid provides health insurance for some elderly and disabled people and for pregnant women and children that have low incomes. People that cannot work due to kidney disease often qualify. In some states, if you receive Supplemental Security Income you automatically qualify. Otherwise, you can apply at your county welfare office. You may qualify even if you receive Medicare, as long as you meet the income guidelines.

American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund offers grants to help kidney patients with low incomes pay medical bills. Patients can also use grants to help pay health insurance premiums if needed. Download an application from the American Kidney Fund website to apply.

About the Author

Mike Andrews is a freelance writer and serial entrepreneur focused on small-business and entrepreneurship for average people. He holds a bachelor's degree in biblical studies and a master's degree in theology and has appeared in a wide array of print and online periodicals including "HiCall," "Mature Living" and "Caregivers Home Companion."

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