Residents of Cook County, Illinois, can now apply for the opportunity to receive $500 monthly payments for a two-year period.
In order to be eligible for the guaranteed income program, an individual must be an adult who resides in the county and who has "a household income at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level," which amounts to $33,975 for a household with just one person or $69,375 for a household with four people. Also, there cannot be anyone in the household who is benefitting from another guaranteed income program.
"Participants are free to spend the money however they see fit to meet their needs, within the bounds of the law," according a webpage about the program. "Yes, the pilot is open to all Cook County households regardless of immigration status. You will not be asked to verify your citizenship or immigration status in the application."
It is expected that the money will start being paid out during winter 2022.
"Our Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot is just the start and in the coming years, we plan to make this program permanent," the webpage states.
The program is being funded with money that the county received from the federal government via the American Rescue Plan Act.
"Historically, both public and private institutions have been unwilling to directly invest in low-income people without significant restrictions attached. This red tape is in place not because any evidence shows that it is necessary, but rather because our society does not trust that people living in poverty have the character or ability to make good decisions for themselves," Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle said, according to a press release from May. "Cook County is reframing the way we think about government assistance and is proud to be leading the way in the American guaranteed income movement."