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Which US cities have Basic Income programs with checks up to $500 and who qualifies?

A number of counties and cities have taken it upon themselves to trial the income plans that promise to change the way we think about benefits.

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Universal basic income (UBI), sometimes known as guaranteed income, would provide a regular payment to citizens whether they were in work or not.

The idea behind it is that it would decrease poverty and allow people to have a level of money without any dictation from salary or benefits. Outside of raw economics it would give people the chance to work less and live more fulfilling lives in being able to choose jobs they want to do rather than what they have to do to survive.

Criticism of the idea is that it might disincentivize work. However, researchers at MIT and Harvard found that programmes like UBI had little impact on employment behaviour.

Here are the US cities invovled in UBI programmes.


The city of Evanston in Illinois is being used as a trial of universla basic income (UBI). The idea behind it is that it would decrease poverty and prevent homelessness by giving everyone money to subsist regardless if they were in work or not.

150 residents are taking part in a programme where they will receive $500 on a prepaid card once a month for 2023.


Named the UpLift programme, the programme will give checks of $500 to residents in Dallas, Polk or Warren counties.

“When 25 percent of central Iowans spend more than a third of their income on housing, there isn’t much room for food, childcare or basic medical care,” UpLift programmer Michael Berger said in a statement.

You must also have at least one dependent who is under the age of 25 and your household income must be at or below 60% of the area median income.

Deadline for applications is 27 February, 2023.


Chelsea is another place trialling UBI programmes. The largest on this list, 2,000 people will receive between $200 and $400. It has been in place since November.

You must be a Chelsea resident, have applied for benefits, and have a household income that is at or below 30% of the area median average.


170 people in the city of Alexandria were to be part of the trial. They will receive $500 monthly for 24 months with the first payments sent in January 2023. A further 214 peopel have been selected to join the trial.

Selection is random but individuals must have a household income that is equal to or less than 50% of the area median income.


The Madison Forward Fund is theUBI programme in Madison County. 155 households will receive $500 a month for the year of 2023.