Stimulus Check From Palm Springs Of $800: UBI Program

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Palm Springs, California, has now started sending recipients monthly payments of $800. The monthly payment is part of Palm Springs Universal Basic Income pilot program. Under the program, 30 recipients will receive a monthly stimulus check from Palm Springs of $800 for the next 18 months.

Stimulus Check From Palm Springs: All You Need To Know

Nonprofit organizations Queer Works and DAP Health are responsible for managing this guaranteed income program. The program is being funded by $500,000 from the city of Palm Springs.

Applications for the program opened on March 15 and closed on March 25. Selected applicants were notified on March 30, and on Monday, the authorities started sending the first monthly payment to the selected applicants.

Recipients can spend the money on anything they want. Also, recipients will have to participate in monthly surveys by Queer Works. The survey results will be available every six months, while the final report will be released in winter 2024.

In addition to the stimulus check from Palm Springs, recipients will also receive counseling to ensure they continue getting the safety net benefits they are registered for.  

To be eligible for the stimulus check from Palm Springs, applicants’ income must not be more than 30% of the median income of Riverside County, or about $16,600.

Also, applicants need to be a client of either Queer Works or DAP Health or registered with one of the organizations by March 14. Moreover, applicants must be primary residents of Palm Springs. Recipients were selected randomly from the total applicants.

Are Guaranteed Income Programs Needed?

This Universal Basic Income pilot program is part of a bigger effort by Queer Works, DAP Health and councilmember Christy Holstege to tackle the economic and social challenges that low-income individuals and families face in Palm Springs.

The Palm Springs city council approved (split vote of 3 to 2) the $500,000 in funding for the guaranteed income program last summer. At the time, then-Mayor Lisa Middleton voted against it, arguing that guaranteed income programs are unable to “scale up enough” to offer an effective long-term solution for poverty.

Then-councilmember Dennis Woods also voted against the funding, arguing that the city was already spending enough to address poverty, including on a planned homeless navigation center. Woods was also against the funding because it targets a relatively small group of people.

Guaranteed income programs have become popular in recent years, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the benefits, many argue that guaranteed income disincentivizes people from working. Researchers at MIT and Harvard, however, have found that such programs had little impact on employment behavior.

Several other cities in California are also running guaranteed income programs. For instance, the city of El Monte is running a program that is expected to begin on June 1 and will pay $500 per month. Similarly, Sonoma County’s Pathway to Income Equity pilot program gives $500 per month to recipients.