L.A. launches guaranteed income pilot program

The application process for the program starts Friday and lasts until Nov. 7.

A new research study program called BIG: LEAP will aid residents of the City of Los Angeles who were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by providing approximately 3,000 individuals with $1,000 per month for a year.

Basic Income Guaranteed: The Los Angeles Economic Assistance Pilot, or BIG: LEAP, will start accepting applications from this Friday, Oct. 29 at 8 a.m. to Nov. 7 at midnight, according to the BIG: LEAP website.

Since the pandemic began, people’s ability to pay for daily necessities such as food, housing and education have been affected, especially for those living in poverty. This project aims to bring these people above the poverty level so that they are financially able to afford these expenses.

The program is available to those that live in the city of Los Angeles, are 18 years or older and have income below the federal poverty level, which is $12,880 for a single family household and $26,500 for a 4-person household. Recipients also must have at least one dependent child or be pregnant and have been financially and/or medically affected by COVID-19.

Other universal basic income programs have been tested in the state before. Programs like the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), a pilot program that provided basic financial income to residents of Stockton, Calif., have proven how successful guaranteed income programs can be. An analysis of the initiative found that the unconditional cash assistance, cash payments without requiring anything in return, allowed participants to find full-time employment and alleviated financial hardship.

For BIG: LEAP, residents of Los Angeles who apply during the 10-day application window will be randomly picked by The Center of Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania, which is running the program, to receive the monthly cash deposit. About 3,500 more people who apply will also be randomly selected as part of the control group, and this group will participate in surveys and interviews about their well-being without the added and guaranteed income. Control group participants will receive a $30 gift card for each survey completed, according to the program website.

Participants selected for both groups will need to document that they meet the eligibility requirements during the application process. All Angelenos who meet the program requirements are encouraged to apply, and people who are selected will be notified by mid-January.

The application opens at 8 a.m. on Friday, and Los Angeles residents who qualify can apply here.