$500 Guaranteed Income Program from Texas: Deadline Just Days Away

Published on

People who haven’t yet applied for the guaranteed income program from Texas should hurry as the last date to apply is now just a few days ago. This program is specifically for Harris County residents, giving a monthly payment of $500 for 18 months to eligible residents.   

Guaranteed income program from Texas: what’s the deadline?

In June last year, the lawmakers approved the Uplift Harris program to offer guaranteed income to low-income families. The application period for the program was set to open at the start of the year, but it was delayed until January 12.

More than 59,000 households applied for the program in the first week. The last date to apply for the guaranteed income program from Texas is February 2.

Eligible households can expect the first monthly payment in early spring. The payment will be deposited in the bank account or the eligible households will get the money on a prepaid debit card. The Uplift Harris program uses $20.5 million of Harris County’s American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Eligible households in the 10 ZIP codes (77026, 77028, 77033, 77050, 77051, 77060, 77081, 77091, 77093, and 77547) with the highest poverty rates in the county will get the money.

Recipients will also be selected from the participants of the ACCESS program (Accessing Coordinated Care and Empowering Self Sufficiency). ACCESS is a client-centered safety net service delivery model managed by Harris County Public Health.

The guaranteed income program from Texas will benefit more than 1,900 households below 200% of the federal poverty line or have an annual income of about $29,160 ($60,000 for a family of four).

Eligible residents can visit the Uplift Harris program website to apply. It must be noted that the application process is online only. Those who don’t have access to the internet can visit the application assistance partner.

Uplift Harris program: is it legal?

The Uplift Harris program is a much-needed relief as the county has among the highest rates of economic inequity across the U.S., with over 16 percent of its residents living in poverty. Despite the need, one senator believes that the program should be declared unconstitutional.

About two weeks ago, State Sen. Paul Bettencourt sent a letter to the state attorney general, requesting him to comment on counties’ power to implement a guaranteed income program.

Bettencourt’s letter notes that a section of the Texas constitution says the legislature can’t give any power to the county to use public money to benefit an individual.

“They cannot create new law themselves. And I don’t see anywhere since I’ve been in office that the state has granted them authority to have a program like Uplift Harris,” Bettencourt told Houston Public Media.

Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee, on the other hand, says the Uplift Harris program is completely legal and that they will take every possible step to defend the program against the senator’s legal claims.