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Frequently Asked Questions
A guaranteed income is a type of cash transfer program that provides continuous, unconditional cash payments to individuals or households. A guaranteed income differs from other social safety net policies by providing steady, predictable cash to spend however the recipient sees fit, without limitations.
Our vision of a guaranteed income is to supplement, not replace, the existing social safety net as a tool for protecting livelihoods and enabling economic and racial justice.
Guaranteed income, and a related suite of cash transfer policies, have been tested, studied, and implemented throughout the US and internationally. In the US, the largest long-term cash transfer policy is the Alaska Permanent Fund—a yearly transfer to residents of Alaska (see evidence from Alaska here). The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, in California, and the Magnolia Mothers Trust, in Mississippi, are two recent pilots that, like the Compton Pledge, center autonomy for participants. The Mayors for a Guaranteed Income Coalition, launched in summer 2020, is advocating for more pilots and policies in the US. Additional emerging pilots include the cities of Newark, St. Paul, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles, among others.
See this map and article for more information about existing guaranteed income policies domestically and internationally.
While this is the subject of ongoing research and debate around policy priorities, universal guaranteed income policy at the municipal, state, or federal level can potentially be funded through a carbon tax, a wealth tax, an increase in progressive income tax, a budget reallocation, a VAT tax or dividend from some kind of fund, like natural resources, casino revenue, or a sovereign or social wealth fund.
Pilots such as this one build the case and political momentum for structuring a program that can be financed progressively to protect the lives and basic livelihoods of the most vulnerable, many of whom are stuck in poverty due to system failures and long standing economic exclusion.
Previous research shows that low-income beneficiaries of a cash transfer program use that money to pay bills, to invest in further job training or education, or to cover other basic needs. Empirical evidence refutes the myth that cash transfers decrease the motivation to work or that people tend to spend that income on “temptation goods” such as controlled substances.
Since February 2019, when the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) program began, people receiving the money have on average spent nearly 40% of it on food. About 24% went to sales and merchandise, which include places like Walmart and discount dollar stores that also sell groceries. Just over 11% went to utility bills, while more than 9% went to auto repairs and fuel
Giving people money can address a wide cross-section of issues related to cyclical poverty. It is the most direct way to abolish poverty, and it has been proven to do so while also addressing related issues of health, education, housing stability, and crime. This is not a band-aid solution, but rather a plan to invest in the dignity and agency of Compton residents experiencing poverty. As research has shown, the welfare impacts of a guaranteed income are widespread, including positive health outcomes, higher educational achievement, lower crime rates, and, in some cases, even lower spending on temptation goods like drugs and alcohol. A guaranteed income therefore invests in the dignity and future economic security of Compton residents.
The Compton Pledge is a landmark guaranteed income initiative that will distribute recurring cash relief to low-income residents for 2 years, starting in late 2020.
The Compton Pledge will be the largest city-based guaranteed income pilot in the US, and will harness the power of unconditional cash transfers in service of racial and economic justice.
The Pledge is built by a broad coalition led by Mayor Aja Brown, the Fund for Guaranteed Income (F4GI), the Jain Family Institute (JFI) and local and national leaders that serve marginalized communities and justice movements across Compton and the US.
Unbanked Comptonians will be provided with no-cost financial services through a new online platform, the first of its kind in US guaranteed income initiatives.
Ambitious in its scale and design, the Pledge aims to inform policies at the state and federal level.
CFF is a guaranteed income pilot project founded and administered by Equity and Transformation (EAT). The recipients receive $500 in monthly payments for 18 months.
Equity and Transformation (EAT) is a nonprofit organization started by and for Black Chicagoans who were negatively affected by the system.
Our payments platform is delivering change to Chicago’s West Side in collaboration with EAT. We have modified our technology to match the program’s requirements as EAT’s implementation partner, putting the necessary infrastructure in place to power the pilot—one of the first of its type designed to specifically address the material plight of mass imprisonment.
Twenty one system-impacted women—four of them currently incarcerated in state and federal prisons in the United States—will be provided a guaranteed income of $500 a month for a year with the Community Love Fund guaranteed income program.
The National Council established the Community Love Fund, first announced in 2021, with the assistance of the Fund for Guaranteed Income. The National Council advocates for the unique needs of women who are involved in the criminal justice
F4GI as its disbursement and implementation partner for this program.
Pathway To Income Equity is a two-year guaranteed income pilot program. Direct cash payments will be delivered to 305 low-income families in Sonoma County where more than half of families with children under 5 chronically struggle to make ends meet.
This county-wide program is the first of its kind. Sonoma County, City of Healdsburg, City of Petaluma, and City of Santa Rosa came together to fund this program along with the American Rescue Plan Act funds.
F4GI is supporting these efforts by disbursing direct cash payments for this program to families over the two year duration, using the F4GI payments portal. Our technology also is hosting the open application for the program.
The Fund for Guaranteed Income (F4GI), in partnership with the JusticeLA coalition, launched a free court date notification tool that provides reminders to help people make it to court hearings throughout LA County.
Courtreminders.org allows anyone to sign up for free text message reminders, which are sent one week, 3 days, and 1 day before the court hearing. Users can receive notifications in English or Spanish that are automatically updated if their court date changes. As a backup and in case a phone number is lost or disconnected, users can include a phone number for a friend or chosen family member. The tool also offers a FAQ to help those appearing in court understand the court process. This service does NOT communicate with LA County courts or any government entity. Your data will NOT be sold to any third party.
F4GI’s tool builds upon models that have been proven to be effective in jurisdictions around the country. F4GI’s tool aims to reduce the damage that FTAs have on the communities that already disproportionately bear the burden of incarceration, and reduce the number of people held in jail before their trial due to uncertainty around court appearances.
We are looking for funders and partners. The Fund for Guaranteed Income is funded by private donors, with the vast majority of funds going directly toward cash disbursements.
If you or your organization would like to join as a donor or partner, please reach out to email@example.com or make a direct donation.
To learn more about our partnerships, sign up for future updates, which will keep you informed as these public engagements are announced. As we share stories from this pilot and the impact it has on individual families, we hope you will read and share them widely as we promote guaranteed income as a tool for racial and economic justice.