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By J. Kruger

* Dial 211 from anywhere in the nation to reach your local information and referral agency. They will have a list of all kinds of resources such as emergency cash assistance, emergency housing, handicap transportation, suicide prevention hotline numbers, and the items below.

* You may qualify for free hot or frozen fresh meals delivered to your home from a church/synagogue/other religious organization in your vicinity. If there is an organization that delivers meals for low-income or severely ill people in your area, call and ask if they serve disabled homebound people. You may have a better response if you say you have a brain injury (true) rather than ìchronic fatigue syndrome,î because even social workers may still think those words mean nothing serious.

* If you are low on groceries and canít afford more, there may be a local food pantry that will bring you some.

* Your county, state, or Office on Aging may sponsor free/cheap transportation for the disabled. Usually registration can be done by phone plus a fax from a doctor. Remember that you will need to reserve (and cancel if necessary) rides in advance. The pickup time will be a ìwindowî of about half an hour rather than an exact time.

* If you are too ill to care for your pet during a relapse, there may be a volunteer organization that will provide free pet care in your home in emergencies. Ask your veterinarian and pet supply store managers.

* You may be able to obtain inexpensive basic housekeeping/laundry help from organizations for the elderly even if you do not meet the minimum age if you are verifiably housebound/very weak.

* Ask your phone company if they offer a special rate for people with low incomes.

* Your state, county, or utility company may offer grants for heating/AC costs if you are low income or disabled.

* If you canít afford medicine you need, call the pharmacy and ask if there are programs for free or reduced price prescriptions. Even if they say no, call the pharmaceutical manufacturerís customer service number (if the pharmacy canít provide it, ask a librarian) and ask.


The author is in her 16th winter of CFIDS/ME.


The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 * (781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606