2018 MatchingDonors.com Grants & Airline Contact Numbers For Donor Testing and Surgery

You should contact the following in the order below.  If one organization cannot help you call the next one on the list.  Some also offer free companion fares.

Some insurance companies may pay for the airfare, hotel, taxi, food for your entire trip.  Call your insurance company and find out if this benefit exists.  Your doctor might have to refer you to a special group within the insurance company that handles out-of-state medical care.  Do your research.  Ask many questions.   Work with more than one person - sometimes a contact just won't know the information and will make an assumption.  If you find out that any of these programs have changed please contact us so we may update our list.

1. National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC) www.livingdonorassistance.com

The American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) and the University of Michigan (UM) are pleased to announce the receipt of a major grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The grant will provide reimbursement of travel expenses and subsistence costs for living organ donors, removing an important financial disincentive to living organ donation.

Under provisions of the grant, a National Living Donor Assistance Center will be established at the ASTS National Office, and the vast majority of the $8 million grant will be used for direct reimbursements to potential and actual living donors. 

The center tells us that they are happy to answer questions, but recipients should know the transplant center files the applications on behalf of the donors and it takes several weeks (they recommend 6-8 weeks) to process, review and fund an application.   

They ask that recipients and donors get the following information:

  1. They should contact their transplant center immediately and tell them they want to file an application to NLDAC.
  2. Applications are filed by a nurse, social worker, financial coordinator or other transplant professional.
  3. Applications should be filed 6-8 weeks before travel or surgery.
  4. They cannot pay for travel expenses after they have already occurred.
  5. Income verification of the recipient and the donor need to be sent to the transplant center to file an application.
  6. The recipient and the donor need to sign NLDAC Attestation Forms provided by their transplant professional.
  7. The program is means tested with the donor and recipient income ≤ 300% HHS Poverty Guidelines.

Criteria for Donor Reimbursement

  1. Any individual who in good faith incurs travel and other qualifying expenses toward the intended donation of an organ.
  2. Donor and recipient of the organ are U.S. citizens or lawfully admitted residents of the U.S.
  3. Donor and recipient have primary residences in the U.S. or its territories.
  4. Travel is originating from the donor’s primary residence.
  5. Donor and recipient certify that they understand and are in compliance with Section 301 of NOTA (42 U.S.C. §274e) which states in part “…..I t shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human organ for valuable consideration for use in human transplantation if the transfer affects interstate commerce."
  6. The transplant center where the donation procedure occurs certifies to its status of good standing with the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN).

Qualifying Expenses
For the purposes of the Reimbursement of Travel and Subsistence Expenses toward Living Organ Donation Program, qualifying expenses presently include only travel, lodging, and meals and incidental expenses incurred by the donor and/or his/her accompanying person(s) as part of:

(1) Donor evaluation and/or
(2) Hospitalization for the living donor surgical procedure, and/or
(3) Medical or surgical follow-up, clinic visits, or hospitalization within 2 calendar years following the living donation procedure (or beyond the 2- year period if exceptional circumstances exist).

The Program will pay for a total of up to five trips; three for the donor and two for accompanying persons. However, in cases in which the transplant center requests the donor to return to the transplant center for additional visits as a result of donor complications or other health related issues, NLDAC may provide reimbursement for the additional visit(s) for the donor and an accompanying person. The accompanying persons need not be the same in each trip.

The total Federal reimbursement for qualified expenses during the donation process for the donor and accompanying individuals shall not exceed $6,000.00. Reimbursement for qualifying expenses shall be provided at the Federal perdiem rate, except for hotel accommodation, which shall be reimbursed at no more than 150 percent of the Federal per diem rate.

For donor and recipient pairs participating in a paired exchange program, the applicable eligibility criteria for the originally intended recipient shall be considered for the purpose of reimbursement of qualifying donor expenses even though the final recipient of the donated organ may not be the recipient identified in the original donor-recipient pair.

Maximum Number of Prospective Donors per Recipient

  • Kidney: one donor at a time with a maximum of three donors
  • Liver: one donor at a time with a maximum of five donors
  • Lung: two donors at a time with a maximum of six donors

Many factors may prevent the intended and willing donor from proceeding with the donation.  Circumstances that would prevent the transplant or donation from proceeding include: present health status of the intended donor or recipient, perceived long-term risks to the intended donor, justified circumstances such as acts of God (e.g., major storms or hurricanes), or a circumstance when an intended donor proceeds toward donation in good faith, subject to a case-by-case evaluation by the NLDAC, but then elects not to pursue donation.  In such cases, the intended donor and accompanying persons may receive reimbursement for qualified expenses incurred as if the donation had been completed.  Under Program policy, a form will be filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reporting funds disbursed as income for expenses not incurred.


For additional information contact: http://www.livingdonorassistance.org/

National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC)
2461 S. Clark Street, Suite 640
Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: 703.414.1600
Fax: 703.414.7874


2.         National Patient Travel HELPLINE Program.

Patients requiring assistance call: 1-800-296-1217. This program has been in continuous operation since 1991. More than 14,000 calls were received by this HELPLINE during 2006. After an initial screening of patient need and determination of a suitable means of travel, callers are referred to the most appropriate charitable medical air transportation program that can best meet their needs. This is a referral service and there is no cost for the information. This HELPLINE is available 24/7. A growing list of national medical and disease organizations utilize this HELPLINE to assist their constituency with charitable medical air transportation information and referral.



Alternate number: 888-426-2643 , 1-800-352-4256, private pilots fly families in 4 seater airplanes -- they donate their services and might even have transportation for you from the airport to the hotel and pick you up for the flight back as well.  Each pilot donates 300 miles - so you may be switching airplanes many times. We have heard very wonderful things about this group.

5.           MIRACLE FLIGHTS 

Not just for kids anymore. (702) 261-0494 or (800) 359-1711.  Their fax # is (702) 261-0494.   They require 16 days advanced notice of flight requirements. www.miracleflights.org. Great organization getting airfaire for our patients and donors.


1-800-296-1217, P.O. Box 1940, Manassas, VA 22110.   Provides info to referrals for families and patients who need to fly to distant locations for specialized treatment or recovery and after illness or accident.


 407 363-1991, finds least expensive flights for medical patients

8.          AIR LIFE LINE

1-877-247-5433, www.airlifeline.org

9. Trio
Through TRIO’s partnership with United Airlines, TRIO/UAL offers frequent flyer mileage tickets to recipients and donors who might not otherwise be financially able to transport themselves to transplant centers for life-saving procedures.Call United Airlines at 1-800-421-4655. These tickets have various restrictions. Information relative to the TRIO/UAL Charity Miles Program can be accessed on www.trioweb.org, under the topic “Resources.” TRIO is deeply appreciative to United Airlines for their continued support of this program. Remember: when possible, FLY UNITED AIRLINES! Thank you for helping others!

 1-800-289-5433 non -emergency travel assistance and pays for treatment for the patient. Takes about six weeks for arrangements to be made.