The onset of terminal illness within low and middle income families often has devastating effects. This effect is substantially magnified if the person who becomes terminally ill is the primary bread winner of the family. In the Indian setting the onset of terminal illness causes three primary changes within a family’s daily functioning. Firstly, the individual and to an extent the family has to face social stigma that is associated with certain terminal illnesses like HIV/AIDS and Cancer. Secondly, if the primary bread winner is affected then the family looses a significant revenue source. Thirdly, the terminal illness results in large increases in medical expenses. However, regardless of the intensity of the financial crisis these families do function (however impaired) from a week to the next. My research explores the support structure that allows for this sustenance, its nature and composition, and attempts to utilize the findings to stimulate policy changes within the local and state systems.