On June 5, 2023, the Ann Arbor City Council authorized the University of Michigan to run and evaluate a guaranteed income pilot program. Guaranteed income is a recurring payment to individuals that has no strings attached to its use. In other words, the money can be used in whatever way a person thinks best. In the Ann Arbor program, randomly selected eligible individuals will receive $528 a month for 24 months.
Across the country, many cities are running guaranteed income program pilots. “Pilot” means that these are smaller scale programs that typically serve a particular group of people, such as individuals living in a certain neighborhood, families with very low income who have young children, or people already participating in a community program. It also means that the program runs for a limited period of time. In Ann Arbor, people who have income at or below 225% of the federal poverty line (which is a low or very low income, relative to Ann Arbor’s median income) and who engage in entrepreneurial activities are eligible to receive the guaranteed income payment (click on this link to our Eligibility Page to see our definition of entrepreneurial activities and more information about income requirements). The pilot will run for 24 months.
The University of Michigan will be running the pilot program and conducting research about its effects. 100 eligible individuals will be randomly selected to receive the payments, and another 100 people will not receive payments but will be a very important part of the research and contributing to the growing number of studies on guaranteed income. Only with the best possible research will we be able to make a strong argument to policymakers about expanding guaranteed income in the future.