L.A. County to launch $1,000-per-month guaranteed income program

Pilot program will last three years.

Published: April 2, 2022 3:53pm

Updated: April 2, 2022 5:22pm

L.A. County is scheduled this week to launch a pilot guaranteed income program there, a measure that will offer a sizable monthly sum to select residents for three years in an effort to study the results.

The initiative, titled “Breathe,” opened to applications this week. The program’s website says it will “ provide 1,000 eligible residents [of L.A. County] with $1,000 per month for three years.”

“While the benefits of guaranteed income programs have been documented,” the program states, “this will also be an independent research project that will be used to study the effects of this type of program so that the County and other jurisdictions can learn about the project’s impact on the economic stability of participants, as well as its impact on participants’ overall health and well-being.”

Activists have argued for years that “guaranteed income” programs should be deployed as an alternative to what they say are more costly and less efficient forms of government welfare. 

Numerous countries around the world including Australia and France have implemented various forms of guaranteed or universal income. 

Multiple cities and jurisdictions in the United States offer varying levels of universal income. In Los Angeles, single residents must make less than $56,000 per year to qualify for the Breathe program, while families of numerous sizes must fall below higher income levels. 

The initiative “come[s] without the scrutiny and work requirements of certain public benefits,” the county claims.

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