L.A. guaranteed income: Here’s how to apply for chance at $1,000 monthly payments

Local news

Los Angeles on Friday opened applications up for a chance to take part in what will be the nation’s largest guaranteed income pilot program.  

Under BIG:LEAP, 3,000 families will be chosen to receive $1,000 monthly payments for one year, with no restrictions on how the money is spent, according to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The 10-day application period began 8 a.m. Friday and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Nov 7. Participants will be selected at random, so it doesn’t matter when the resident applies in that time frame.

Approximately 6,500 residents will be selected to participate in the pilot program’s study, with approximately 3,000 families getting the monthly infusion of cash, and 3,500 additional participants invited to act as a control group for the research component.

Applications are currently being accepted on the website bigleap.lacity.org.

How to apply for BIG:LEAP

Establishing eligibility

The first step in the process is for the potential applicant to determine if they actually qualify for the program.

The five eligibility requirements are:

  • You live in the city of Los Angeles
  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You have at least one dependent under age 18 or a student younger than age 24, or you are pregnant
  • Your income level falls at or below the federal poverty level (see chart here)
  • You’ve experienced COVID-related economic and/or medical hardship

Only those who qualify for the program should apply, city officials said.

Filling out the application

Residents who establish that they qualify for the program can then begin filling out the application on the website (which can be found here).

Applicants will be asked to complete a pre-screen form, which asks a series of questions to verify that the individual qualifies for the program.

The information sought includes the person’s birth date and ZIP code, whether they have any dependents or are pregnant, their family’s income, and whether they experienced medical or financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Once eligibility is confirmed, the applicant will then be directed automatically to a survey that collects information for the research. The survey takes approximately 30 minutes to fill out.

Questions will typically be tied to things like physical and mental health, wellbeing, work and family relationships, among other potential subjects, according to the website.

Some of the information solicited is personal in nature, and it’s advised that adults complete the survey in private.

The applicant’s answers will not affect whether they are chosen, and the responses are only made available to the research team, according to officials.

Anyone who needs help with the application can dial 311 for assistance.

What’s next

Applicants who are selected to participate in L.A.’s guaranteed basic income program will be contacted in January 2022, as will those who are chosen to take part in the research element of the study.

Those who are not picked for either will receive no notification.

The program is also slated to kick off next January.

For more information, the city has established a frequently asked questions page about the BIG:LEAP program. It can be found here.

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