Cook County announces guaranteed income pilot program

Program to provide a basic income of $500 a month for 3,250 residents

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Preckwinkle announces Cook County Promise guaranteed income program
EMBED <>More Videos

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle outlines a guaranteed basic income program.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cook County officials announced Wednesday a pilot guaranteed income program which will send monthly payments to residents.

The program will serve 3,250 residents, who will get $500-a-month for two years.

Cook County said its $42 million program is the nation's largest public-funded guaranteed income initiative and that it is the first government to commit to a permanent program after the pilot is completed.

"Historically, both public and private institutions have been unwilling to directly invest in low-income people without significant restrictions attached. This red tape is in place not because any evidence shows that it is necessary, but rather because our society does not trust that people living in poverty have the character or ability to make good decisions for themselves," President Preckwinkle said. "Cook County is reframing the way we think about government assistance and is proud to be leading the way in the American guaranteed income movement."

Applications for the program will open in the fall. The pilot program is being funded in part by money from the American Rescue Act.

Those who apply must be adults living in Cook County and be income-eligible at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Guideline and can't participate in other guaranteed income programs for the 24-month duration of the pilot. Chicago and suburban residents can apply, with a majority of those selected coming from the suburbs.

Participants will be selected by a lottery after applications close.

For more information on the program, visit