RESOURCES FOR WRITERS IN FINANCIAL NEED OR NEEDING HEALTH INSURANCE
Please contact these organizations directly, as they are not affiliated with ASJA.
Financial assistance available and guidelines for eligibility vary, see individual programs for details. Assistance is often on an emergency basis and for living/medical expenses related to an immediate crisis, not for funding a new project. Writer-specific programs usually require demonstrated professional writing experience. Regional assistance usually requires residence/work in that area.
A Room of Her Own
A Room of Her Own supports women who have a commitment to their art and who are also making a substantial effort to be self-sufficient. Fellowships of up to $50,000 are awarded to bridge the often fatal gap between a woman's economic reality and her artistic creation.
American Poets Fund - Emergency Funds
The Academy of American Poets
The fund assists poets of demonstrated ability who are in a state of urgent financial need. Grants cannot be used to promote or otherwise enhance literary talent or reputation, and applications are not accepted. Academy Chancellors, Fellows, and prize winners must bring the circumstances of qualifying poets to the attention of the American Poets Fund committee by sending a letter of nomination, including specifics about the nominee's current financial situation, to the Executive Director of the Academy.
Health insurance through several providers available to members. Eligibility is restricted to published or contracted writers and well established literary agents. There are different levels of membership depending on applicant's credentials.
Author's League Fund
Helping professional writers and dramatists who find themselves in financial need because of medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income or other misfortune. The Fund gives open-ended, interest-free, no-strings-attached loans.
Carnegie Fund for Authors
Carnegie Fund for Authors, 1 Old Country Rd., Carle Place, NY 11514.
Emergency assistance to writers in financial need who have commercially published at least one book of reasonable length which has received reader acceptance. Mail to: Carnegie Fund for Authors, 1 Old Country Rd., Carle Place, NY 11514. No website.
Health insurance plans available to members. Membership is free and open to the general public.
The Haven Foundation
Provides grants to freelance writers and artists experiencing career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or other emergency or personal catastrophe.
Hellman-Hammett Grants: Assist Persecuted Writers
Human Rights Watch administers the Hellman/Hammett grant program for writers who have been victims of political persecution or are in financial need. In addition to providing much needed financial assistance, the Hellman/Hammett grants focus attention on repression of free speech and censorship by publicizing the persecution that the grant recipients endured.
National Writers Association Health insurance available through Med Choice One, LLC.
Dental through AmeriPlan or Direct Dental Plans of America, Inc. Must meet membership requirements and pay yearly dues to qualify.
National Writer's Union
Health, Dental and vision plans available to applicants who have been members of the NWU for over ninety days. Must meet membership requirements.
PEN American Center
Offers affordable health insurance to members through TEIGIT. Authors or translators must have published two books of a literary character to be a member; editors and agents need to have completed five professional years in the literary world.
PEN Writer's Fund
The PEN American Center's Writers' Emergency Fund is an emergency fund for professional—published or produced—writers in acute, emergency financial crisis. No membership necessary.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Emergency Medical and Legal Fund
Medical fund offers interest-free loans to members facing unexpected medical expenses. Also makes loans available to authors who must take a writing-related dispute to court. Active SFWA members are eligible to request assistance from the Fund.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
Offers eligible members health insurance through TEIGIT. To become a full member, applicants must have at least one children's book published.
Writer's Guild of America
Health insurance available for members. To become a member, applicants must meet extensive eligibility requirements found on the website.
Regional financial and health insurance help for writers
Non-profit membership organization dedicated to supporting artists of all disciplines based in the Washington state area. Grant programs are available for both beginning and established artists. Website also provides links to information services offering advice and non-financial assistance to artists.
Washington Women in Need
Community supported non-profit organization that provides education and health care funding for women in need in Washington state. Washington Women In Need provides grants in four program areas: Education at accredited institutions in Washington; Mental Health Counseling with licensed mental health professionals; Health Care Insurance Premiums for current health coverage; Physical/Dental/Vision/Hearing exams and treatment.
Clayton Memorial Medical Fund
The fund helps professional science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery writers living in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska deal with the financial burden of medical expenses.
New York State
Max's Kansas City Project
Fund offers emergency grants of up to $1,000 to professionals in the creative arts who live in New York state.
Legal Aid Society of New York
Organization providing legal aid to the underprivileged in New York City. Civil, criminal and juvenile interests represented. Several offices located throughout the city.
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is the leading provider of pro bono legal services, mediation services, educational programs and publications, and advocacy to the arts community in the New York area. Through public advocacy, VLA frequently acts on issues vitally important to the arts community in New York and beyond.
Financial and health insurance help generally available to the public
Those seeking immediate, non-financial emergency aid may find the following websites helpful. They have resources for those who are uninsured, need housing assistance, or are without sufficient financial means. Legal, medical, housing, and general living services are all available, in most cases, for free. All organizations should be contacted directly as they are not affiliated with ASJA.
American Association of Retired People Health Care Options
Offers healthcare packages for AARP members depending on age. Membership is limited to persons over the age of fifty. Costs of plans vary depending on applicant's state of residency.
American Red Cross
Contact local branch to find out the availability of health/medical, youth, and food pantry and hot lunch programs, senior services, Lifeline emergency response services, transportation to hospitals, school clubs and community learning programs, as well as homeless shelters and transitional housing services among others. Different branches have different programs and services available depending on community needs.
Bureau of Primary Health Care
Information about health centers around the country that offer care regardless of ability to pay or lack of insurance. Centers are catered to the needs of general communities, migrants, the homeless, or public housing. They provide primary care including, but not limited to, laboratory tests, X-rays, immunizations, treatment by obstetricians or gynecologists, and emergency and after-hours care. Patients also have access to support services such as preventive health education, transportation, translation/interpretation, and assistance programs like Woman Infant, Children Services and Food Stamps. In some cases centers provide dental, mental health and substance abuse care.
Branches across the country and world provide family and youth counseling, daycare, senior citizen centers, Brown Bag Programs, adult rehabilitation programs, youth community and learning programs, resources for families affected by HIV/AIDS, access to low-income housing and emergency financial assistance among other things. Get in touch with your local branch with specific questions and needs.