$1,000 monthly payments for mothers: who can apply for this help and until when?
The concept of universal basic income has been circulating in some nations for decades and there are now numerous studies into guaranteed income in the US.
A financial initiative for low-income mothers in New York City aims to establish whether regular payments would have a considerable effect in alleviating poverty in some of the most deprived areas of the country.
The Bridge Project will see hundreds of mothers given a monthly payment of either $500 or $1,000 for the first three years of a child’s life under a new guaranteed income program.
The initiative began in July 2021 with the first group of 100 mothers admitted to the program. Another 500 pregnant women who are set to become first-time mothers will begin receiving the payments this April.
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News of the study was first publicised last year with fliers appearing around Upper Manhattan promising direct payments for new mothers. The program has received more than 2,500 applications and is no longer accepting new additions, but there are a variety of similar studies taking place in other cities and different states.
Guaranteed income study moves into the next stage
The Bridge Project offers support for low-income families who, with an average household income of $14,500, fall below the federal poverty line. Roughly half of those involved are Black and half are Hispanic, and around 20% of them are undocumented.
Of the 600 women now involved in the study, 70% have less than $100 in savings.
The first 100 families who entered into the project will receive either $500 or $1,000 per month for three years. The second batch of 500 participants will all received $1,000 monthly payments for 18 months, followed by $500 for the next 18 months.
To study the effectiveness of the program and the comparative benefits of the different payment structures all those involved will be regularly surveyed. This study will include an analysis of their economic and housing situation, the physical and mental health, and the development of their child.
Guaranteed income studies can be found across the United States
The first study of this kind to reach national attention was held in Stockton, California in 2018 when 125 families in poorer neighbourhoods received a monthly payment of $500. The concept of a universal basic income has been mooted for decades and it has been trialed extensively in some European nations, but this was the first to prove the benefits in the US.
After just one year of the two-year program, researchers concluded that the payments had measurably improved the job prospects, financial stability and overall well-being of participants.
Then-Mayor Michael Tubbs said that the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) “gave people the dignity to make their own choices, the ability to live up to their potential and improved economic stability going into the turmoil of the pandemic.”
The New York Times reports that there are currently at least 35 guaranteed income pilot schemes in the US, spanning 17 states and distributing more than $25 million a year to more than 7,000 vulnerable families.