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Big Metropolitan Cities Joined Programs To Provide Cash Giveaways: Universal Basic Income Payments

Big cities in New York, Alaska, Michigan, Illinois, and Los Angeles have joined programs in order to provide cash giveaways to their residents.

Big Cities joined to provide cash to their residents (Photo Source: CNBC).

The concept of universal basic income (UBI) has gained popularity as an advantageous economic policy among major cities that believe providing direct cash assistance to residents is an effective means of enhancing their quality of life.

These cities, counties, and states are implementing UBI programs that offer monthly assistance, with some reaching as high as $1,000, according to Washington Examiner.

Rochester, New York

Rochester has launched a yearlong UBI pilot program, currently accepting applications. This program aims to provide $500 per month for 12 months to 351 individuals residing in the city, according to WXXI News.

The city emphasizes that the $2.1 million initiative will provide “unconditional” funds, free from work requirements or limitations on their usage. However, eligibility for the program is limited to individuals living at or below 185% of the federal poverty level.


In Alaska, a version of basic income called the Permanent Fund Dividend has been in operation for decades. This program distributes an annual dividend, currently amounting to $3,284, to Alaska residents from investment earnings generated by mineral royalties.

To qualify for the dividend, individuals must have been residents for the entire previous calendar year and intend to remain Alaska residents indefinitely.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor is currently conducting a UBI pilot program in partnership with the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions. This program offers $530 per month for 24 months to 100 eligible residents. The funds, totaling $1.6 million, were allocated from the American Rescue Plan. The program aims to combat generational poverty and evaluate its effectiveness through a comparative study between program participants and non-recipients.

Eligibility for Ann Arbor’s program has a higher threshold, limiting applicants to those with incomes not exceeding 300% of the federal poverty level while requiring engagement in low-level entrepreneurship.

Cook County, Illinois

Cook County, encompassing Chicago, is implementing a two-year pilot program, Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot, that grants unconditional $500 payments to 3,250 low-income residents. The program aims to examine the effectiveness of a guaranteed income approach.

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Officials involved with the program assert that this pilot is merely the beginning and express intentions to establish it as a permanent initiative.

Los Angeles

The second largest city in the country recently wrapped up its first cash assistance program: Big: Leap.  Wherein 3,200 residents were given $1000 payments every month from March 2022 until March 2023.

The “no-strings-attached” payments were delivered as part of a study on the effects a guaranteed income would have on combating poverty, with a separate group of roughly 3,700 people being studied while not receiving the payments.

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