LA’s guaranteed basic income pilot: See if you qualify for $1000 cash per month

The Los Angeles City government is pouring in $40 million to launch its guaranteed basic income pilot program, which officials say is the largest of its kind in the United States. Photo by Shutterstock.

The City of Los Angeles is launching the BIG: LEAP (Basic Income Guaranteed: Los Angeles Economic Assistance Pilot) program to provide financial assistance to approximately 3,000 families in need. 

Interested Angelenos can submit their applications starting October 28 at 8 a.m. through November 7 at 11:59 p.m.

How much is the payment?

Selected families and individuals will receive $1,000 a month. 

Is this a permanent payment system?

No, the program will offer financial assistance for 12 months.

Is this like California’s food stamps (SNAP) program?

No, it’ll be a direct cash payment, and participants will have the freedom to use it however they would like  — whether for rent, car maintenance, medical emergencies, etc. 

What requirements must you meet to be eligible? 

  1. You live in the City of Los Angeles.
  2. You are an adult over the age of 18.
  3. You have at least one child. Your child must be under the age of 18, a student under the age of 24, or pregnant.
  4. Your income level is at or below the federal poverty level. For a family of four, the eligible income is $26,500 or less. See the chart for eligible income levels. 
  5. You should be able to prove you experienced economic or medical hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic.

*All five requirements must be met.

Are recipients selected on a first-come-first-serve basis?

No, once the city confirms applicants meet all the requirements, approximately 3,000 Angelenos will be randomly selected. 

How do I apply?

Head to and click the “apply” button on the homepage. You’ll be asked to fill out the questionnaire to certify that you meet all the five eligibility requirements. 

Applicants will then be asked to take a research survey, which will take about 30 minutes to complete. Some of the questions will be personal, and applicants are encouraged to complete the survey privately.

What kind of personal information do I have to provide?

The questions in the survey will be generally related to ​​physical and mental health, well-being at work, and family relationships. 

For example, one of the questions will ask applicants: “Does your health now limit you in activities such as lifting or carrying groceries, walking more than a mile or walking one block?'' 

Because the BIG: LEAP program is a research study in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Center for Guaranteed Income, the city needs insights from residents on how they can best support Angelenos in the future.

What if I need help in filling out the application?

Call 311 to connect with a BIG: LEAP community ambassador.

If you need in-person assistance, you can visit your local library, council district office or family resource center.

How will I know I've been selected?

The city will notify residents who are selected to receive the financial assistance. 

The city will not be contacting applicants who are not selected.  

When will the first payment be made?

January is when the first cash payments will be distributed.