Writing is, generally speaking, an act done without a safety net or parachute. While very successful writers and some copywriters have job security, the majority of writers have neither health insurance nor any of the other safety cushions that come with more traditionally structured occupations. There are, however, some sources of aid for the disabled writer.
Writers Emergency Assistance Fund
The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) is a professional organization of freelance, non-fiction writers. This group offers a Writers' Emergency Assistance Fund to help disabled writers. You need not be a member of ASJA to apply, but you must demonstrate a history of years of publication. The emergency fund is only for the temporary aid of disabled writers; it is not for funding projects. Self-published or vanity press writers are not eligible.
The American Society of Journalists and Authors Writers Emergency Assistance Fund 1501 Broadway, Suite 302 New York, NY 10036 212-997-0947 asja.org/
Carnegie Fund for Authors
The Carnegie Fund for Authors gives one-time grants to authors who have published at least one successful book. This aid is provided to those who have suffered a financial emergency as a result of illness or injury to self as well as a spouse or dependent child. The need must be urgent, substantial and verifiable.
Carnegie Fund for Authors One Old Country Road Carle Place, NY 11514 206-467-8734 artisttrust.org/node/340
PEN Writers Fund
The PEN Writers Fund gives grants and loans up to $2,000 for writers in need. There is a separate fund for writers disabled due to HIV/AIDS. PEN also maintains a list of organizations that provide relief, legal aid and a variety of other resources for writers in need. Self-published and vanity press authors are not eligible.
PEN Writers Fund PEN American Center 588 Broadway New York, NY 10012 212-344-1660 pen.org/
The SFWA Emergency Medical Fund
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Emergency Medical Fund is only for active members of SFWA. They also administer an emergency legal fund for members. To become a member you must have published three qualifying short stories, one qualifying book or have written one qualifying screenplay for a subsequently produced work.
The SFWA Emergency Medical Fund P.O. Box 155 Kenosha, WI 53141 972-381-2347 sfwa.org/
John Anson Kittredge Educational Fund
The John Anson Kittredge Educational Fund awards $1,000 to $10,000 grants to artists in need. To apply, contact them by letter stating purpose, amount requested and period of funding. You must include supporting documentation.
The John Anson Kittredge Educational Fund P.O. Box 382203 Cambridge, MA 02238 416-504-8222 fundsforwriters.com/grants.htm