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Saturday, December 3, 2022
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Chicago Launches Country’s Largest Welfare Program

National

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle discusses the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot | Image by Ashlee Rezin / Chicago Sun-Times

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Chicago has launched the biggest welfare program in the nation, in a major departure from the work requirements for welfare qualification largely standard in the U.S. since the mid-1990’s bipartisan welfare reform effort.

The Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot will send monthly payments of $500 to 3,250 to qualifying residents for two years.

Residents of the second-largest county in the U.S., which includes the city of Chicago, can apply for the program through October 21.

Payments are expected to begin in December.

Applicants cannot be participating in any other “guaranteed income” programs and must have a household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. However, applicants will not be asked to verify citizenship or immigration status, leaving the door open to unlawful migrants receiving additional public benefits.

To participate in the program, applicants must be at least 18 years old and reside within Cook County.

President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Toni Preckwinkle said, “After months of hard work, Cook County is proud to be launching the application portal for the largest publicly-funded guaranteed income pilot in American history.”

“We estimate that nearly 36% of Cook County residents will be eligible to participate, and I encourage everyone who meets the requirements to apply,” she added.

Preckwinkle said the county plans to support the welfare program beyond the pilot phase through both its own budget and philanthropic support.

She tweeted, “Historically, both public and private institutions have been unwilling to directly invest in low- and moderate-income people without significant restrictions in place. This is a misconception and terrible bias in which past governments have taken part.”

“Rather, decades of research show that people spend cash benefits wisely, leading to more financial stability as well as improved physical, emotional and social outcomes,” she continued.

The $42 million pilot is funded by federal taxpayer dollars using the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Cook County has contracted with the nonprofit GiveDirectly and their technology partner AidKit to run the application portal.

GiveDirectly U.S. County Director Sarah Moran said the organization’s goal is “to create an easy, low-barrier process so that every eligible Cook County resident can apply to be part of this historic initiative.”

Cook County will hold a public Zoom webinar for interested residents on October 11, 2022, at 5 p.m., which can be joined here.

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Robert dowdy
Robert dowdy
1 month ago

That would be great to see for low income people

Whatsinthewater
Whatsinthewater
1 month ago

Life is about purpose. Enabling listlessness is a recipe for boredom and lawlessness. Idle hands are the devils workshop!