While most federal and state stimulus checks have ended, some states and cities continue to come up with more programs with a guaranteed-income initiative. Selected single parents received a flyer advertising a lottery for single parents to receive $500 each month from the city of Cambridge in Massachusetts.
Low and moderate-income single parents were elated by the news and lauded the opportunity during such difficult times. Many have immediately applied for the stimulus check.
Many single parents were randomly chosen to participate in the experimental initiative. The initiative looked into the possible impact a guaranteed income can have on parents and how it helps them escape poverty.
Second Round Of Stimulus Check From The City Of Cambridge
While the initial round of stimulus checks for single parents in Cambridge ended in 2022, the city has decided to dramatically expand the idea with a fresh round of guaranteed income program stimulus checks.
In this latest initiative, the city plans to again give $00 a month to around 2,000 low-income families for eighteen months initially.
The Mayor of Cambridge announced that the city administration will start taking in applications for the new round of the guaranteed income program. The stimulus checks under this plan will start to show up in beneficiaries’ bank accounts starting in July 2023.
Guaranteed Income Programs Gain Popularity Across America
The momentum surrounding the guaranteed income programs is growing across the US. It is usually initiated by local-level administrations. But the concept is not new. And recent studies have given positive indications. Experts believe that the impact is helping beneficiaries pay their bills. And the impact of the stimulus check is more than they had expected.
The money has come as a rare opportunity during one of the toughest times for low and moderate-income people. As every opportunity dried down during the pandemic, many small businesses and wage workers were suddenly without an income. That hurt whatever saving such families had managed, though most have usually lived paycheck-to-paycheck during the pandemic.
People also used the money to enhance the skills that have helped them get better-paying jobs. This is besides the opportunity this stimulus check offered to clear their bills. It is just the jump-start many Americans had hoped for, and they made good use of it.
This is exactly what the mayor of Cambridge Sumbul Siddiqui was hoping for when the city first launched the first round of the pilot program in 2021-2022. The government utilized a grant from Mayor For A Guaranteed Income in addition to funds from other philanthropic sources. This is what motivated her to ultimately announce the expansion of this stimulus check program. People have recognized the assistance and have reciprocated the trust that the local government has put in people through direct stimulus checks. There have rarely been any instances of the money being misused.
Cambridge Stimulus Check Only Requires Income Threshold And City Residency Proof
Unlike other social services like unemployment insurance and welfare, this stimulus check has no mandatory requirements other than proof of city residency and income threshold. In this second round, it will provide support to an estimated two thousand families with kids who make under 250% of the federal poverty line, or around $,000 a year or under for a family of two.
This way it will go to single parents. Even if participants get better-paying jobs, they will continue to be allowed to continue under the short-term program. Cambridge is not the only city or local government that is expanding with additional stimulus checks in 2023.
There are other programs, including the one in Chelsea. But the Cambridge program is not o the lines of a lottery. Rather it is a program open to all residents with children who meet the basic eligibility criteria.
Geet Pradhan of the Cambridge Community Program says that this is what sets the program apart from the rest. This is the only non-lottery program in the country.
The idea of a guaranteed income program has been in the air for long. As far back as the 1960s it was espoused by the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. A complete study into the whole process of guaranteed minimum income was done in Stockton California in 2019-2020. The study revealed that low-income families who received recurring Stimulus checks without conditions attached used such money largely for groceries and other basic expenses.
The overall impact went much beyond that as it eased the burden on families for the basics while freeing them to pursue skill enhancement measures. There has also been a marked improvement in the mental health of beneficiaries.
The beginning of the Stockton experiment revealed that almost everyone in the treatment condition and comparison condition met the clinical criteria for various psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety.
But within one year of unconditional stimulus checks, there has been a marked improvement in the process of calming income volatility and scarcity. Participants in the stimulus check scheme who were affected by depression and anxiety moved from those likely to have a mild mental ailment to the category termed ‘likely to get well.’
The experiment carried out in Stockton also revealed an increase in full-time employment among those who received unconditional cash. People linked with the program revealed that was because the extra cash from the regular stimulus check removed acute financial barriers such as child care and transportation. People faced this impediment while they were trying out for a new job. It also helped improve both the inclination and the ability to set new goals and take on additional risks.
The study revealed to what degree such changes in smoothing the income volatility alters the financial well-being, the physical well-being, and the psychological distress that is associated with a lack of money.
Single parents have reported a marked change in the behavior of their children. One parent reported that her child was eating better and was growing fast. As a single parent without child support, she was facing it all on her own.