Hudson Valley Residents Are Eligible For Monthly $500 Checks
A pilot program in the Hudson Valley is handing out $500 monthly checks for an entire year.
According to NBC News, the checks are part of a grand experiment to see what would happen if people are automatically guaranteed enough money to make a basic living. The universal basic income payments are being handed out to 100 people in Ulster County who aren't necessarily poor but qualify for the checks based on their current income.
The program is giving out $500 monthly payments for an entire year to people who make less than $46,900 annually. Locally, that number was chosen because it covers 80% of Ulster County's average median income. The money won't be going just to people who are poor, but to middle class families who still may find it hard to make ends meet each month even though they don't qualify for public assistance.
The payments come with no strings attached. Recipients can use the money any way they see fit, but they are being asked to participate in a survey so program administrators can track how the money affects their mental and physical health as well as their employment status.
Ulster County Resident, Andrew Yang, made the idea of universal basic income payments a major part of his presidential campaign last year. His proposal was to give citizens $1,000 monthly checks. Currently, Yang is running for mayor of New York City and has not been involved in this particular pilot program.
The checks aren't being funded by the government. Instead, the money is coming from private donors who are hoping to find out if programs like this could work on a larger scale, allowing poorer, working middle-class residents the ability to make ends meet.
Plan organizers say they expect that Ulster County residents receiving checks will need to put a good portion of the money into transportation. In areas like the Hudson Valley, being unable to easily commute back and forth to work is a major hurdle to finding gainful employment.
We want to know what you would spend $500 on a month if you were eligible for the program. Would it go towards paying bills, buying necessities or something else? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.