The city of Los Angeles is starting a program that gives some residents $1,000 a month of guaranteed income for three years.
The initiative, started by LA County, is called “Breathe: LA County’s Guaranteed Income Program,” and the application window is now open. Here’s what to know about this guaranteed income program:
What do you get?
The program will provide $1,000 to some Los Angeles residents every month for three calendar years. The money will be available through a debit card provided by the County of Los Angeles — you do not need to have a bank account to participate.
It’s unclear if unused money would carry over month to month; the program didn’t specifically mention this, and program representatives didn’t immediately respond to MarketWatch’s request for clarification.
Who is eligible?
There are five prerequisites needed to participate in this program. They are:
You are at least 18 years old
You live in an LA County neighborhood where the median household income is not higher than the county’s — you can check if you are here
You make less than $56,000 as a single individual and $96,000 for a family of four. Other configurations of total people in the household can be found here
You have been “negatively financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic“
You are not enrolled in any other type of a Guaranteed Income Program
One thousand applicants will be randomly selected from the pool of entrants to receive the monthly payments.
How to apply?
The application form can be found on the county’s website. If you don’t have access to the internet, it can also be completed over the phone at (213) 342-1003, according to the LA Times.
Why is LA County giving away money?
Different types of guaranteed income plans have been around for years, with one recent example in Pittsburgh.
These initiatives are put in place to examine people’s spending habits and see how having a certain amount of income impacts their lives. Through tracking of the debit card given to participants, researchers can study where the money goes throughout the 36 month program.
This particular program wants to measure factors like “physical health, mental health, income volatility, housing stability, spending, consumption, employment, education, family dynamics and parenting, stress and coping, hope and mattering, household food security, and COVID-19 variables,” LA County stated.
Participants can partake in check-ins with research officials to assess these variables every six months — recipients can also choose to opt out of the research aspect of the process altogether.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income Research (CGIR) will co-run this project with LA County.
Dr. Amy Beth Castro of CGIR told NBC, “there is so much we still do not know about the power of unconditional cash over a longer period of time. With a three-year pilot, it opens up the possibility for families to set larger goals than we have seen in other experiments and it also gives policymakers a chance to learn how unconditional cash functions alongside other programs over time.”