These Cities Offer $500 Monthly Payments to Struggling Americans: Everything to Know

by TK Sanders
(Photo by Fadel Itani/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans have grown accustomed to receiving some sort of payment or financial assistance from the federal government. Many businesses, which employ mostly unskilled workers, face staffing shortages because of the influx of fiscal assistance from various governments – federal, for a time, and now state.

Advocates for universal basic income argue that the regular, recurring payments help boost morale within communities. Detractors cite inflationary woes and staff shortages as major risks to such programs.

Here’s a list of some cities in the U.S. that have implemented universal basic income payments into their budgets

Chicago – Last October, the Windy City approved $500 monthly payments for 5,000 households. Five months later, though, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s regime has yet to approve a single application or send a single check. The mayor’s office said recently that they would re-release “specific eligibility criteria” sometime this month.

Columbia – This South Carolina city wants to use universal basic income to target and support low-income fathers. One hundred eligible men with children received a $500 debit card in late 2021. Monthly, recurring payments will last a few more months, according to officials.

Durham – Just a few hundred miles north of Columbia, Durham, North Carolina, recently began a $700,000 UBI program for former convicts in concert with Twitter’s former CEO Jack Dorsey. Dubbed the Excel pilot program, any taxpaying ex-con can qualify for $500 assistance checks as long as their income does not exceed 60 percent of the area’s median income.

Minneapolis – One of the Twin cities is set to roll out a UBI program later this Spring. The government will choose 200 families to receive $500 per month for 24 months. “Winners” of the free money must live in a certain zip code, which signals some sort of civic profiling by local officials. However, the program is no longer accepting applications.

These Northeastern cities have special parameters

Newark – Some New Jersey residents will receive $12,000 over two years thanks to the state’s new pilot program. Half of the participants will receive the money biweekly in small increments; while the other half will receive it in four total biannual checks worth $3,000 each. A total of 400 residents will participate in the program, which Penn University will use as a research study, as well.

Philadelphia – A neighbor to Newark, Philadelphia will also hand out some basic bucks to 60 individuals. The recipients will get $500 per month for a year. Only residents who qualify for TANF, or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (about 1,100 people) are eligible.

Pittsburgh – The Steel City will give 200 households some cold, hard cash, as well. Their program sounds similar to the others: $500 payments for 24 months, with special income requirements.