More and more American cities are offering free money
While Uncle Sam won’t pass away with a fourth stimulus check anytime soon, state and local governments are testing new ways to get free money into the hands of the people who need it.
Like stimulus checks, these payments are unconditional. Recurring money usually doesn’t require any effort to claim, and you can spend the money on anything you want.
Dozens of cities and counties now have their own pilot programs, and a new state joined the team last summer.
Here’s how these programs work – and how find extra money if your region does not participate.
More money for those who need it
While guaranteed income and universal basic income programs are not new ideas, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown nationwide just how small amounts of free money can be in difficult times.
Universal Basic Income (RUB) payments are, as the name suggests, universal. Usually, every resident of a region or citizen receives the same amount.
A long-standing example is the Alaska Permanent Fund, which has provided most residents with reduced state oil revenues since 1982. Earlier this month, some 643,000 Alaskans received their annual payment. of $ 1,114.
In contrast, Guaranteed Income (IG) payments only go to certain people. To qualify, you usually need to be low-income or belong to a specific group, and such restrictions help many IG programs get started.
For example, 100 needy fathers in Columbia, SC received $ 500 debit cards in September and will receive the same amount each month for the following year. Then there’s the People’s Prosperity Pilot in St. Paul, Minnesota, aimed at young families with newborn babies.
And Pittsburgh used part of the COVID-19 relief funds it received from the federal government to give $ 500 a month to 200 low-income households for two years, with preference given to households headed by black women.
Mayors lead the way
Many of these projects, including those in Columbia and St. Paul, are led by a new national group called Mayors for Guaranteed Income (MGI).
The coalition hopes to use the data from these experiences to push for a guaranteed federal income, not to replace existing social safety nets, but to promote equity between people of races, genders and economic backgrounds. different.
Fifty-seven mayors from across the country have joined the network since its inception a year ago, and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has donated $ 18 million to help fund the pilots.
MGI was founded by Michael Tubbs, the former mayor of Stockton, Calif., Who oversaw a two-year pilot project that gave $ 500 per month to 125 random people in low- and middle-income areas.
The results of the project’s first year, SEED, were released in March. Beneficiaries said they were less stressed and more resilient in difficult times, and they were able to find a full time job at more than twice the rate of others.
“The past year has shown us that far too many people are living on financial limits and being pushed by COVID-19,” Tubbs said in a statement. Release. “SEED has given people the dignity to make their own choices, the ability to realize their potential and improved economic stability before the turmoil of the pandemic. “
California is going big
It’s not just the mayors of scattered cities who are testing guaranteed income. California is the latest state to embark on the regular payments movement.
In July, the Golden State set aside $ 35 million for a range of guaranteed income projects, prioritizing residents who are pregnant or young adults aging outside the foster care system. People can receive monthly payments of up to $ 1,000.
“Direct cash assistance empowers people to act in a way that our traditional over-prescribed social safety net programs do not,” said Senator Dave Cortese, co-sponsor of the plan, in a June press release.
“It tells people that they are able and trustworthy to make the financial decisions that are most important to their individual well-being and success. “
The state is already in full swing with seven experiments underway. Three are near Los Angeles. The San Francisco Bay Area has two now and another pair is on offer. Two more are planned in Los Angeles and San Diego.
How to do your own dunning check
As more and more people are receiving these stimulus check-type payments, don’t expect your number to show up anytime soon. Even if you qualify as a member of the right group in the right area, individual recipients are usually chosen by lot.
Additionally, the idea of a permanent national UBI program has yet to gain broad support. Despite the promising data from Stockton, critics are still worried about how recipients will spend their free money and whether they will be less likely to look for good paying jobs.
About 54% of Americans are opposed to the federal government providing $ 1,000 per month to all adult citizens, according to a Pew Research Center investigation Last year.
Still, that doesn’t mean the prospect of extra cash is ruled out; it just means you have to find it yourself. Here are some strategies you can use to potentially add hundreds to your monthly budget:
Manage your debt. Credit cards have helped many households get through the past year, but the high interest will only make life more difficult in the future. Consolidating your balances into one debt consolidation loan can reduce the cost of your debt and help you pay it back faster.
Lower your insurance premiums. When was the last time you looked for a better price for your auto insurance? If it’s been a long time, it can cost you over $ 1,000 more each year. Shop around to make sure you really have the best possible rate, then do the same for save hundreds on home insurance, too much.
Stop paying too much for the essentials. Even if you are putting yourself on a meager budget, you will still need to stock up on supplies every now and then. And when that moment comes, use a free browser extension which will automatically scan the internet for lower prices and coupons.
Turn pennies into a wallet. Even if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, you can still get some returns in today’s vibrant stock market. A popular app will help you invest your “spare currency” everyday purchases in a diversified portfolio.
This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.