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Free and Low-Cost Treatments

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Updated May 16, 2014


People with severe mental illness may be eligible for several forms of public assistance, both to meet basic costs of living and to pay for health care. Such programs include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and disability benefits.

For information about Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits call:Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213.

SSA Web site: http://www.ssa.gov/

Medicare - Medicare is America's major Federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older and for some with disabilities who are under 65. It provides basic protection for the cost of health care. Two programs can help people who have low incomes receive benefits. These are the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) and the Specified Low- Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) programs.

Medicaid - Medicaid pays for some health care costs for America's poorest people. More information about Medicaid and who is eligible for it is available at local welfare and medical assistance offices. Although there are certain Federal requirements, each State has its own rules and regulations for Medicaid. The Medicaid Clearinghouse contains links to information for individual states.


Many research programs for new meds and treatments will provide free treatment for participants. The downside of this is you run the risk of getting a placebo or an unproven treatment, but if you have nothing to lose, this may be better than no treatment at all.


If anyone knows of other free clinics around the country, please email me and I'll add them to the list.

Haight Ashbury Free Clinic- This free clinic in San Francisco provides services for general health care, HIV, homeless people, mental health care and substance abuse recovery.

Locating Other Free Clinics - The National Free Clinic Directory and A Free Clinic: Starting Out (a manual on how to start free clinics) are published by The Free Clinic Foundation of America and the Bradley Free Clinic of Roanoke, Virginia. You can reach them at:

Free Clinic Foundation of America

1240 Third Street, SW

Roanoke, VA 24016

Phone (540) 344-8242

Fax (540) 342-0220

e-mail: bradleyfc@mailcity.com



For more information about paying for mental health care, contact:

Knowledge Exchange Network (KEN)

P.O. Box 42490

Washington, DC 20015

800-789-CMHS (2647)

(866) 889-2647 (tdd)


National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)

Colonial Place Three

2107 Wilson Blvd., Suite 300

Arlington, VA 22201-3042

voice: 703-524-7600

fax: 703-524-9094


National Empowerment Center

599 Canal Street

Lawrence, MA 01840

Fax: 978-681-6426

Toll-free: 800-power2u (800-769-3728)

Outside US: 978-685-1494

Local calls: 978-685-1494

Email: http://www.power2u.org/contact.html

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