There are two sets of requirements—one for the donor and recipient, and one for the transplant center
where the donation occurs.
The donor and recipient must:
The transplant center where the donation occurs must:
The recipient’s household income is the primary factor in determining whether a donor qualifies for
NLDAC assistance. The recipient’s yearly household income should be no greater than 350% of the HHS
Poverty Guidelines, which can be found in the NLDAC Eligibility
Screening Tool. The recipient may request a waiver for financial hardship if their income exceeds
the guidelines but they could not help their donor. The donor’s household income does not determine
eligibility, although it does affect priority for funding. NLDAC gives priority to eligible donors whose
household income is within the income guidelines, and depending on available funding, might only be able to
approve applications for these donors at certain times. NLDAC will announce if donor income is restricted on
our website and in our newsletter.
The eligibility criteria were developed by the National Living Donor Assistance Center Advisory Group and the Health Resources
and Services Administration (HRSA).
Donors can apply for three kinds of reimbursement: travel expenses, lost wages, and dependent care expenses. The travel
expense reimbursement covers transportation, lodging, and meals for the donor and a support person on evaluation,
donation surgery, and follow-up trips to the transplant center for up to 2 years after the donation surgery. Under
exceptional circumstances, the transplant center may request NLDAC fund a trip more than 2 years after the donation
surgery. The lost wage reimbursement covers up to 3 days for evaluation, up to 4 weeks for recovery from donation
surgery, and up to 2 weeks for follow-up trips or rehospitalization due to complications. Many donors take more than 4
weeks off work for their recovery, and so they may have additional lost wages beyond what NLDAC can cover. The dependent
care reimbursement covers the same time period as the lost wage reimbursement. Donors may request reimbursement of up to
$420 per week of childcare expenses and $504 per week of adult-care expenses incurred because they cannot provide care
during their appointments or recovery.
Kidney recipients: one donor at a time with a maximum of 3 donors evaluated.
Liver recipients: one donor at a time with a maximum of 5 donors evaluated.
Lung recipients: two donors at a time with a maximum of 6 donors evaluated.
Expenses covered by NLDAC cannot be claimed as donor out-of-pocket expenses, and cannot be deducted on income tax
returns. However, if you have out-of-pocket donation-related expenses not covered by NLDAC, you may report those. Certain states allow state employees additional vacation or sick time if they are
A transplant center professional (usually a living donor advocate, social worker, nurse coordinator, or
financial coordinator) will file the application on behalf of the prospective living donor. NLDAC cannot
accept applications directly from patients.
Complete information on how to apply is located in the Step
by Step Guide. The donor and the recipient must:
On the Step by Step Guide. You can also ask NLDAC or
your transplant center to send you a paper copy of the application worksheets.
We recommend applying well in advance of any trips you’d like NLDAC’s help with. NLDAC requires
10 business days to process applications where the recipient’s household income is within our
guidelines (preference categories 1 and 3), and at least 15 business days to process category 2 and 4
applications, where a financial hardship waiver is requested. If the recipient needs a liver transplant
urgently and cannot wait 10-15 business days for surgery, the application can be reviewed and approved or
denied in 1-2 business days. NLDAC cannot approve an application after the donor’s surgery has taken
place, or reimburse expenses incurred before the application was approved.
It is illegal to buy and sell organs in the United States. NLDAC requires the living donor and transplant
candidate (recipient) sign a statement (NLDAC attestation form) affirming they have been informed of what
constitutes “valuable consideration” and that they are in full compliance with NOTA. Section 301 of the National Organ Transplant Act of
1984 (“NOTA” or “Act”), entitled “Prohibition of organ purchases,”
imposes criminal penalties of up to $50,000 and five years in prison on any person who “knowingly
acquire(s), receive(s), or otherwise transfer(s) any human organ for valuable consideration for use in human
transplantation if the transfer affects interstate commerce.” 42 U.S.C.§ 274e (2000). The
attestation forms also authorize the transplant center to provide information about the donor and recipient
For the purposes of NLDAC eligibility, a household is defined as a person living alone or a group of people
living together. They do not have to be related. Under this definition, a person who lives with others but
lives independently and shares basic living expenses, like roommates, can be a separate household. People
who cannot be considered a separate household are spouses living together, parents living with their
natural, adopted, or stepchildren, or children living with their natural, adopted, or
stepparents, unless the child is 22 years or older.
For the purposes of NLDAC eligibility, income is defined as adjusted gross income when using a federal income
tax return. Income is defined as gross income when using pay stubs as verification of income.
Authorizing legislation mandates that the recipient’s ability to pay must be taken into consideration
as part of this program. The National Organ and Transplant Act (NOTA) of 1984 has always provided that the
recipient may reimburse the donor for certain expenses associated with donating an organ. The establishment
of NLDAC does not change this. NLDAC was established to assist donors, and priority is given to individuals
who would otherwise not be able to donate because neither the donor nor recipient can afford the expenses
associated with the donor’s travel (e.g., airfare, lodging, meals) and/or lost wages.
The donor and the recipient are required to submit documents to verify their household incomes. A variety of
documents may be used, including federal income tax returns, pay stubs, Social Security disability
statements, unemployment benefits, and proof of eligibility for Medicaid, SNAP, WIC, or HUD Section 8. Other
documents may also be considered as proof of household income. Please call us at 888-870-5002 if you have
All living kidney, liver, lung, uterus, and intestine donors are eligible for reimbursement of qualifying
expenses, provided all of the criteria for donor reimbursement are fulfilled. However, subject to
availability of funds, preference will be given to donors who are more likely to be otherwise unable to meet
the qualifying expenses, in the following order of priority: preference category 1, preference category 2,
preference category 3, and preference category 4. Categories 2 and 3 describe different requirements that
may be in place at a certain time for applicants with a recipient household income within the guidelines and
a donor household income above the guidelines.
Financial hardship is defined as expenses that make it difficult for the recipient to help their donor with their
non-medical expenses, even though the recipient’s household income is above the NLDAC income guidelines. In this case, the recipient must complete a NLDAC financial hardship
waiver worksheet as part of their application. This worksheet describes the recipient’s
out-of-pocket medical expenses, lost income, and other expenses related to their medical condition. For
example, if their household income is $5,000 above the income threshold and they have $5,000 in allowable
expenses, the application may be approved. NLDAC will review the request and make a recommendation to HRSA
to approve or deny it. HRSA will make the final determination and communicate that determination to NLDAC,
which will notify the transplant center. HRSA’s determination is not subject to appeal.
Yes. You will apply with your originally intended but incompatible recipient.
An anonymous, non-directed donor is someone who donates an organ without choosing their recipient or knowing
who the recipient is. In reviewing these donors’ applications, NLDAC does not require or consider any
information about the recipient. They are assigned to a preference category based on their household income.
Donors whose income is within the income guidelines will receive priority.
No. NLDAC can only help living solid organ donors, such as kidney, liver, lung, intestine, and uterus donors.
Bone marrow donors can contact Be the Match for information about any help that may be available for their out-of-pocket
Many factors may prevent an intended and willing donor from proceeding with the donation. Such circumstances
include present health status of the intended donor or recipient that would prevent the transplant or
donation from proceeding, perceived long-term risks to the intended donor, circumstances such as acts of God
(such as major storms or hurricanes) or other unforeseen events outside the intended donor’s control.
In such cases, the intended donor and accompanying persons may receive reimbursement for the qualified
NLDAC’s ability to reimburse eligible donors for their travel and lost wages depends on the
availability of funding. In the event that there is not enough funding for NLDAC to approve all eligible
applicants, priority will be given to donors whose household income is within 350% of the HHS Poverty
Guidelines, and those who demonstrate financial hardship. Refer to the NLDAC preference categories for more
detailed information on how NLDAC prioritizes funding for applications based on the applicants’
household income. NLDAC will mark eligible applications for which funding is not available at the time of
review as deferred. If funding becomes available for applications in a previously deferred preference
category, NLDAC will announce this on its website and in the newsletter. At that time, the transplant
professional who submitted the application can request NLDAC re-review a deferred application for funding,
if the donation surgery has not yet been ruled out or taken place (i.e., the donor is still undergoing
evaluation). NLDAC can only approve and fund applications before donation surgery takes place, and NLDAC
cannot reimburse expenses that were incurred before the application was approved.
No. NLDAC will provide a credit card with an approved spending limit to cover the costs of meals, hotel,
airfare, and other travel expenses for approved applications. The mileage and meal allowances are based on
federal rates. All expenses are tracked through reporting software.
Yes. NLDAC can cover up to 2 trips for an accompanying person(s).
NLDAC can cover travel expenses incurred on 3 trips for the donor (evaluation, surgery, and follow-up) and 2
trips for a support person. The transplant center may request funding for additional trips. NLDAC only
provides funding for trips that take place after the donor’s application is approved.
Donors submit their two most recent pay stubs with their lost wages application, and NLDAC calculates and
records a daily wage for the donor using a wage
calculator. Self-employed donors and independent contractors can submit alternate documentation of
their wages (see next question). Donors call NLDAC before each loss of wages (evaluation, surgery,
follow-up) to discuss their reimbursement needs, and NLDAC multiplies their daily wage by the number of days
they will lose wages, up to the NLDAC maximum. Other factors affecting reimbursement needs, like
availability of paid time off or short-term disability, will be considered.
Donors who are self-employed or independent contractors (including gig workers) can submit their most recent:
NLDAC will use the documents the donor submits to calculate their wage reimbursement. We can only reimburse
documented wages. Please call us at 888-870-5002 if you have questions or need help identifying the
appropriate documentation of your wages.
No. NLDAC cannot pay wages to donors who are unemployed or furloughed at the time of their donation surgery
or other appointment, but we encourage them to apply for help with travel expenses. NLDAC can only reimburse
wages a donor would have earned if they did not donate an organ.
No. NLDAC can only reimburse documented, reported wages. We cannot accept letters or bank statements as
documentation of wages. Wages paid “under the table” are not reported to the IRS and therefore
cannot be reimbursed. Not all cash wages are unreported, though. If a donor is paid cash but also receives
pay stubs, NLDAC can accept their pay stubs as documentation of their wages. Please call us at 888-870-5002
if you have questions.
Donors can only request reimbursement of wages that will not be paid by another source, such as paid time off
or short-term disability. If a donor will not lose any wages because of their donation, they cannot request
reimbursement of lost wages from NLDAC. However, if a donor’s paid time off or short-term disability
benefits will not cover all of their normal wages for the NLDAC reimbursement period (4 weeks after donation
surgery), they can request reimbursement of the remaining, unreimbursed portion of their wages. NLDAC does
not require donors to exhaust their paid time off before requesting wage reimbursement, but donors who
choose to save their paid time off must check with their employer to ensure the employer allows them to take
an unpaid leave of absence before exhausting their paid time off.
NLDAC makes wage reimbursements around the time of each appointment—evaluation, surgery, and follow-up.
The transplant center must confirm the donation surgery is complete before NLDAC can make wage reimbursement
for the surgery and 4-week recovery period available.
NLDAC sends approved applicants who requested reimbursement of lost wages a controlled value card. The card looks like a
credit card. Once NLDAC has made funding available, the donor can swipe the card to make purchases, or take the card to
an ATM and withdraw their wage reimbursement as cash.
The American Society of Transplant Surgeons will issue an IRS Form 1099 to all donors who receive lost wage
reimbursement. The lost wage reimbursement is income, and may be subject to federal and/or state income tax
reporting. It is the donor’s responsibility to contact a qualified tax advisor to determine tax
liability. The entities providing reimbursement are not responsible for any tax consequence related to wage
Some people considering living organ donation are responsible for providing care for a child, disabled adult, or elder,
who will need care while the donor is away at appointments, or recovering from surgery. Donors may need to pay for a
babysitter, home health aide, extra hours at daycare, or travel for a family member to come take care of their
dependents during that time. NLDAC can help donors cover the cost of alternate care for their dependents while they are
unable to provide the care they usually provide themselves.
Donors call NLDAC before each appointment at the transplant center to describe their anticipated dependent care needs.
Donors attest that they will incur a certain expense, and receive funding for that expense, up to the daily or weekly
maximum. The maximum depends on the dependent’s age—the weekly maximum is $420 per child and $504 per adult.
No, NLDAC can only pay for additional dependent care expenses caused by the donation process. Donors’ pre-existing
dependent care costs are not caused by the donation. For example, a donor whose children are usually in daycare during
the workweek could ask NLDAC to reimburse the cost of a babysitter on weekends and in the evenings, but not the cost of
the daycare they usually receive. Working donors may apply for reimbursement of lost wages to cover their normal living
expenses, like routine daycare their children already receive.
NLDAC sends approved applicants a controlled value card for their dependent care expenses. The card looks like a credit
card. Donors call NLDAC before each appointment to describe their dependent care costs. Once NLDAC has made funding
available, the donor can swipe the card to pay for dependent care expenses, or take the card to an ATM and withdraw the
reimbursement as cash. The same card is used for lost wage reimbursements and dependent care reimbursements.
The American Society of Transplant Surgeons will issue an IRS Form 1099 to all donors who receive dependent care
reimbursement. The dependent care reimbursement may be considered income and subject to federal and/or state income tax
reporting. It is the donor’s responsibility to contact a qualified tax advisor to determine tax liability. NLDAC
recommends donors keep all receipts documenting their dependent care expenses related to their donation process. The
entities providing reimbursement are not responsible for any tax consequence related to wage reimbursement.