$500 Cambridge Guaranteed Income Program: Applications to Open Soon

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Guaranteed income programs have grown immensely popular since the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past couple of years, several states and cities have come up with their own version of guaranteed income programs targeting specific groups. Now, a Massachusetts city, Cambridge, has also decided to try a similar program. The Cambridge guaranteed income program would give $500 per month to low-income families and will start accepting applications for the program soon.

Cambridge Guaranteed Income Program: Who Will Get It And When?

Under the Cambridge guaranteed income program, called “Rise Up Cambridge: Cash Payments for Families with Kids,” households with at least one child 21 years or younger and 250% below the federal poverty level will get $500 per month for 18 months.

To qualify for the Cambridge guaranteed income program, the income of households should range from $49,300 (family of two) to $126,400 (family of eight).  The authorities will start accepting applications for the program from June 1 until July 31.

Only one application per household will be accepted. The payments will start to go out on June 30, suggesting the applications will be approved on a rolling basis.

It must be noted that the payments will be sent on the first of each month. If the first of the month is on a weekend, the payment will be disbursed the Friday before. Those who selected direct deposit will get the funds in their bank account in 1-2 business days.

City officials expect about 2,000 families to qualify for the program. The program will cost about $22 million. Cambridge will use the American Rescue Plan Act funds to send the money to eligible households.

“With this program, Cambridge becomes the first city in the nation to introduce a non-lottery program to provide direct cash assistance to all eligible families,” the city said in a press release.

Further, the press release noted that the guaranteed income program won’t impact other benefits, including Supplemental Security Income, restricted-housing benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

What’s The Objective Of The Program?

Cambridge’s guaranteed income program builds on the city’s previous pilot program. The objective of the program is to fight poverty and income inequality by providing families with direct cash payments. The city may make the program permanent.

“Direct cash assistance is an effective anti-poverty strategy and empowers residents to decide how to best meet their financial needs and goals,” says the program’s website.

Recipients don’t need to report the money they get from the program as taxable income, as this money counts as “qualified disaster relief.” Recipients will be free to use the money on household expenses, including food, rent, clothing or utilities.

Cambridge is running this program in partnership with the Cambridge Community Foundation, Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC), and the Office of Mayor Siddiqui. In addition to monthly payments, recipients can also participate in voluntary surveys or self-document their experiences of the program.