She is crippled, blind and partially deaf. Her grandchildren seldom visit any more, although her living room tables are cluttered with pictures of them.

For Lillian Jones, life revolves around her comfortable Arlington apartment and her live-in, county-paid companion of five years, Roberta Youmans. Youmans, 60, is her nurse, cook, eyes, ears -- and closest friend.

"We're family," said Youmans.

While time robbed Jones of her eyes, use of her legs and most of her friends, federal budget cuts threaten to rob her of Youmans and the two-bedroom apartment she has called home for the past 13 years. Federal cutbacks have forced the Arlington County Department of Human Resources to slash many of its programs, including the Adult Companion/Homemakers Program, which paid the salaries of companions and housekeepers for disabled and elderly adults.

The salaries for housekeepers have been eliminated entirely and money for part-time companion salaries has been reduced from $817,000 to $665,000 for the 212 Arlington County elderly or disabled residents participating in the program.

The number of companion hours provided for each participant varies according to need. In Jones' case, the cutbacks mean Youmans' paid hours will be reduced from 40 hours to 15 hours a week by the end of December, according to county officials.

Youmans said she cannot afford to remain Jones' caretaker on that salary. And without a full-time companion to prepare her meals, monitor her health and help her to the bathroom, Jones cannot live outside a nursing home, according to Youmans.

Figures in the county budget tables show that Lillian Jones was one of about 25 elderly Arlington residents who received money for full-time live-in care last year. Now there is room in the program for only 12 of those residents. Jones is not among them.

Arlington attorney Jonathan Kinney, who has taken a personal interest in Jones' case, has appealed to the county Department of Human Resources. If the county does not reconsider her case, Jones will be forced to move into a nursing home, Kinney said.

"I'm sure there will be other cases where the residents will need nursing home care," said Lynda Eubank, assistant division chief of the county Department of Human Resources.

"I know it will kill this lady to move her into a nursing home," said Kinney.

Even the prospect draws a forlorn wail from the frail, white-haired woman. "No-o-o-o-o, I don't want to move" into a nursing home.

"She told me she went to visit her sister in a nursing home about 30 years ago," Youmans recounted. "She said she would never go to a nursing home. It was too depressing. She said she didn't like to be around old, sick people who complained all the time."

In the bureaucratic budget tangle, the program cutbacks intended to save the government money actually will end up costing the government hundreds of dollars more each month in Lillian Jones' case, said Kinney.

At present, federal and local agencies pay about $760 a month to support Jones -- $200 in apartment rent and $560 for Youman's salary. The money for Youman's salary would be slashed to $210 a month by the end of December.

Kinney estimates the government would have to pay about $1,800 a month through Medicaid to place Jones in a nursing home.

"It's a classic situation," said Kinney. "They would save money by keeping her out of the nursing home."

Jones is not a complainer, despite her physical ailments, her high blood pressure and the increasing numbness in her hands, according to Youmans. Until she began losing the mobility of her hands in July, she spent long hours creating toy poodles from yarn and coathangers, which she sold at a small profit.

Now she passes the time by listening to a portable radio she can hear if she holds it close to her good ear.

The music? "Happy music, I like happy music," she said, her round face brightening.

She reminisces about the days when she owned a 149-acre ranch in Idaho, lived with her daughter in Argentina and dined with her father's friend, J.C. Penney, founder of the department store chain.

She is waiting eagerly for warmer weather when she can sit outside her apartment in the rambling Buckingham Village complex where she has lived for the past 13 years.

Buckingham Village is in the process of switching from rental units to resident-owned cooperatives. The newspaper clippings announcing the change last year are pinned to the dining room wall.

To prevent elderly residents from being displaced, the real estate firm that bought the complex, Stein and Company, arranged for investors to purchase the apartments of some residents who were unable to do so, including Lillian Jones. Under that arrangement, she would have a life-time lease on her apartment.

But federal and local government cutbacks now threaten to erase the Robin Hood efforts of the apartment investors.

Jones clings to the hope that she will be rescued once again.

For now, the apartment in Buckingham Village is her home. Youmans is her only family.

And her first wish is to keep that home and that family.

Her second wish?

"I wish I could see again. I would like to see my brother (who is 91, lives in California and is too old to write his sister any more). Any relatives I have, I'd like to see."