Massachusetts Resources


This page has information specific to this state, including contact information for federal and state agencies, and some key information about laws and consumer protections. Sometimes, state laws are more protective than federal law. For more information on this state's specific laws (e.g., on employment or health insurance), visit Triage Cancer's Charts of State Laws.


Disability Insurance

Federal Disability Programs

Private Disability Insurance

  • You can also purchase short-term and/or long-term disability insurance directly from a private insurance company or this type of insurance may be offered by your employer as an employee benefit. See our Quick Guide to Long-Term Disability Insurance for more information.


Federal Fair Employment

  • The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, transgender status, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits. For more information about the EEOC, including how to file a complaint, visit the EEOC's websitecall 800.669.4000, or email
  • The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, that provides free, expert, and confidential guidance on job accommodations and disability employment issues. They also have several resources on how to approach an employer to request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and a Searchable Online Accommodation Resource where individuals can find suggested accommodations based on job duties or limitations that they are experiencing. For more information, visit the JAN website, call 800.526.7234, or email

State Fair Employment

State Unemployment

Vocational Rehabilitation

  • Your state's Vocational Rehabilitation agency provides vocational rehabilitation services that are designed to help job seekers with disabilities obtain competitive employment in integrated work settings. For more information on their services, eligibility requirements, and how to apply, visit the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services website, or call  617.573.1600.

More Information

Employment – Taking Time Off

Federal Leave Laws

State Family & Medical Leave (for self & for caregivers)

Massachusetts’s Paid Family and Medical Leave law went into effect January 1, 2021.

  • Who’s eligible? All W-2 workers who work in Massachusetts and have earned at least $5,700 in the previous 12 months. Self-employed individuals can opt into the program.
  • Who can be cared for? Paid Family and Medical Leave can be taken to care for a family member with a serious health condition or manage one’s own serious health condition. Family member includes a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent or in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.
  • How much time is given? 12 weeks to care for others, 20 weeks for one’s own serious health condition. An individual can take a maximum combined leave of 26 weeks/year, depending on the type of leave they are combining.
  • How much is paid? Benefits are calculated as a percentage of your earnings, with a maximum benefit of $1,084.31/week.
  • How do I apply? To apply, or to get more information, visit the Paid Family & Medical leave website, or call 833.344.7365. You will need to provide the following information/documents:
    • Proof of ID
    • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
    • Employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    • Bank account information
    • Information from your health care provider about the serious medical condition you or your family member is experiencing

State Paid Family Leave (for caregivers)

  • Some states have paid family leave that benefits caregivers. Caregivers can use Massachusetts’s Paid Family and Medical Leave to provide care for qualifying family members.

State Paid Sick Leave (for self)

  • Massachusetts passed a mandatory paid sick leave law, effective July 1, 2015. The law covers employers with 11 or more employees; employers with less than 11 employees are required to allow employees to accrue sick time but it does not have to be paid. Under Massachusetts law, employees must earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked; however, an employee cannot use more than 40 hours of paid sick leave in a year. Any unused, accrued hours roll over to the next year, subject to the 40-hour maximum. Employers who offer their own paid leave policy that is comparable to the law's requirements are not required to provide additional paid sick time under the law.
  • More information on Massachusetts's paid sick leave law

State Paid General Leave (for any reason)

  • Some states provide general paid leave. Massachusetts does not currently have a general leave law.

State Bone Marrow Donation Leave

County & Local Leave

  • Some cities and counties have additional leave laws.

Workplace Leave Policies or Employment Contracts

  • Everyone’s situation is different. Check your employee handbook, your workplace policies, and/or your employment contract (if you have one) to see whether you are eligible to take paid or unpaid time off from work.

More Information


For information on financial assistance resources, you can visit the Financial Assistance Resources module at You can then pick from the different categories of financial assistance, to find organizations that may provide financial help to you. Think creatively. For example, if you cannot find anything to help with your medical bills, you may qualify for utility assistance and shift the money you had dedicated to utilities to your medical bills.

Health Care

Health Insurance Information

Health Insurance Options

  • For information about options for buying health insurance from private insurance companies, as well as whether you are eligible for marketplace financial assistance, visit the Health Connector website, or call 877.623.6765.
  • COBRA provides a way for workers and their families to temporarily maintain their employer-provided health insurance during situations such as job loss or a reduction in hours worked. If you have questions about COBRA, visit the Employee Benefits Security Administration website, or call 1.866.444.3272.
Children's Health Insurance
More Insurance Information

Health Insurance Appeals

  • To apply for an Independent Medical Review (an external appeal of a health plan denial) or to file a Consumer Complaint about your health plan, visit the Office of Patient Protection website.
  • If your health insurance company has denied coverage for your care, you can appeal that decision. The process depends on the type of health insurance that you have. Visit the Health Insurance Appeals module on to learn more about appeals.
  • If you have private health insurance (e.g., through an employer or the Marketplace), you can also file an external appeal with an entity outside of your insurance company, to see if the insurance company is required to cover your care. The external review process is either handled by the state’s insurance agency or the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Visit our Chart of State Laws on Health Insurance Coverage & Navigation to see who runs the external appeals process in your state.


  • Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease or ALS. For information about Medicare, to create a personal account where you can view your Medicare information, and to learn about plan options, visit, or call 800.MEDICARE (800.633.4227)
  • Download a copy of Medicare's handbook, “Medicare & You.”
  • For help navigating Medicare, contact the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (800.243.4636).
  • For more information, visit Triage Cancer's Medicare Topics Page.


  • Medicaid provides free or low-cost health coverage to eligible individuals, including people with low-incomes, families, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Each state has its own rules for eligibility. Read Triage Cancer's Quick Guide to Medicaid to learn more.
  • States have the option to expand Medicaid eligibility to individuals with incomes at or below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level. Visit Triage Cancer's Guide to Medicaid Expansion to see whether your state has expanded Medicaid.
  • Visit this site to learn more about Medicaid benefits in your state.
Health Insurance Premium Payment Program (HIPP)
  • The HIPP program can help pay your group health insurance premium (e.g., COBRA) if you are eligible for Medicaid. For more information, visit the HIPP program website, or call 800.862.4840.

Early & Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, & Treatment (EPSDT)

  • The EPSDT benefit is a Medicaid benefit available to individuals under the age of 21.
  • States are required to provide comprehensive services needed to correct and ameliorate health conditions, including:
    • Early: Assess and identify problems early, starting at birth
    • Periodic: Check children’s health at periodic, age-appropriate intervals in comprehensive well-child visits, including health education
    • Screening: Provide physical, dental, mental, developmental, hearing, vision, and other screening or laboratory tests to detect potential problems
    • Diagnosis: Perform diagnostic tests and assessments to follow up when a risk is identified during screening and examinations
    • Treatment: Control, correct, or ameliorate any problems that are found
  • States are required to provide any additional health care services that are coverable under the federal Medicaid program and found to be medically necessary to treat, correct or reduce illnesses and conditions discovered regardless of whether the service is covered in a state's Medicaid plan. State Medicaid agencies are required to:
    • Inform all Medicaid-eligible individuals under age 21 that EPSDT services are available and of the need for age-appropriate immunizations;
    • Offer and provide, if requested and necessary, assistance with transportation to medical care.
    • Offer and provide, if requested and necessary, assistance with scheduling appointments for EPSDT visits and services.
  • Learn more about your state's program.
Children's Health Insurance
In-Home Support Services (IHSS)
More Medicaid Resources

Free or Low-Cost Health Care

  • For a list of Hill-Burton Federally Funded Health Centers that are obligated to provide free or reduced-cost health care, visit the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) website.
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) are community-based health care providers that provide primary care services in underserved areas. To search for an FQHC in your state, use the Find a Health Center tool on the HRSA website.
  • To find a community clinic in your area: screenings and services in your area, visit the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics website.
  • The National Breast & Cervical Cancer Treatment Program (NBCCEDP) provides breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services to women who have low incomes and are uninsured or underinsured. For more information about screenings and services in your area, use the CDC search tool.
  • The Breast & Cervical Cancer Treatment Program (BCCTP) provides cancer treatment benefits to eligible low-income individuals diagnosed with breast and/or cervical cancer.

Health Care Programs & Laws

Women's Health & Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA)
State Clinical Trials Law
  • M.G.L.A. 175 §110L, 176A §8X
  • Who must cover the costs? All health plans issued or renewed in the Commonwealth on or after January 1, 2023
  • What must be covered? All patient care services associated with all Phases of qualified clinical trials that are intended to treat cancer
  • Requirements for Coverage: The facility or personnel providing the experimental treatment must be experienced and the patient must meet specified criteria set forth in the protocol. The patient must provide informed consent for participation and the clinical trial must not duplicate existing studies. The data related to the clinical trial must provide a reasonable expectation that the treatment will provide a medical benefit to the participant and the clinical trial must have a “therapeutic intent.” Finally, this state has mandated an additional requirement on Phase I clinical trials – the facility must be an academic medical center or affiliated facility and the clinicians conducting the trial must have privileges at the academic medical center
  • Qualifying Trials: The trial must be peer-reviewed and approved by either: (1) NIH, (2) NIH-sponsored cooperative group or center, (3) a qualified nongovernmental research entity, (4) U.S. F.D.A., (5) U.S. Dept. of Defense, (6) U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, or (7) a qualified IRB (applies to Phase II, III, and IV clinical trials only).

(Current as of 8/2022)

More Health Insurance Resources


  • The Office of the Attorney General is responsible for enforcing state fair housing laws. For more information, or if you think you have experienced housing discrimination, visit the Fair Housing Law website.
  • For more information, visit our Cancer Finances module on Housing Rights & Financial Help.

State Cancer Information


  • Local transit systems may provide free or discounted rates for low-income individuals and families. Some cities also offer bus passes, vouchers for taxi or ride-sharing services, or shuttle services for patients traveling to cancer treatments.
  • Dial 211 for assistance.