Dating back to information obtained in 2020, over 37 million Americans remained under the poverty line, which is demoralizing, to say the least, as these people are clearly struggling to meet their basic needs every day.
This can range anywhere from groceries to shelter, and with the current situation, having both of those things means you’re pretty lucky for an average American.
On top of this, there are dozens of other expenses, such as the utility bills that you’ll have to pay every month if you want to maintain the aforementioned two needs, and as difficult as it may seem, there are still ways to overcome this growing issue.
One of the best ways to do so is with Universal Basic Income, often abbreviated as UBI, which is a fairly obscure program to most, despite it being one of the more helpful options for the impoverished American out there.
If you’re among those that don’t know much about UBI and what you can do to utilize it, keep reading and learn all about it in this concise resource of information about the program.
What you should know
UBI is yet another government-funded program aimed at helping low-income American families impacted by the current economic situation in the US.
At times, it’s also a replacement for some other welfare programs that the government offers that may need some additional intervention to be fully implemented in the area.
However, as innovative as it may sound, UBI is definitely not something new, and it’s been around for quite some time, albeit it’s only reached the spotlight recently, mainly due to so many Americans requiring assistance from the government.
The US government offers a number of assistance options that operate on a similar principle, and those in need can easily apply for and benefit from them, those being the TANF program, SSI, and many others.
Finding the right program for your current circumstances may take some time, and you may even be put on a waiting list, but if you weigh the benefits, you may find that they far outweigh the long waiting time and extensive application processes you could run into.
How was UBI accepted?
If you ask just about any American, you’ll hear that the concept of UBI is innovative and could help drag millions of Americans out of poverty, but some political figures may beg to disagree.
Andrew Yang, a potential candidate for the presidential election in 2020, focused his campaign on offering assistance to Americans of legal age in the form of a monthly grant of $1k, totaling $12k for an entire year.
Despite this approach, Yang didn’t make it far in the primaries, and he soon fell out of favor, allowing his fellow candidate Joe Biden to take the lead.
The real issue lies in the fact that help like Yang wanted to offer would be incredibly expensive to maintain, and the government would be forced to spend $2.8 trillion just on UBI alone every year.
As a solution, Yang offered to lower the costs of some other welfare programs, but his proposition still wasn’t enough to offset the insane cost of his UBI program.
Apart from this, some thought it may also lead those who are part of the workforce to feel underappreciated.
When someone’s receiving free money every month, it’s easy for them to become unwilling to continue working, although many have argued that it’s practically impossible for anyone to live a full year off of just $12k.
Does any state offer UBI?
Unfortunately, the idea didn’t exactly take off as well as some have envisioned it to, meaning that there’s no national-level program that offers UBI as an option.
That being said, some places in the US do offer a guaranteed income to qualifying residents, those areas being Tacoma, WA; Oakland, CA; and Columbia, SC.
As you may already know, these options aren’t available to everyone like Yang wanted to make them, and instead, only eligible Americans can make use of these assistance options, which is still somewhat acceptable given the current state of the economy.
However, if you look at these programs, they’re highly ineffective, and the requirements are strict enough that Tacoma only has 110 eligible recipients, and even they receive only $500 every month, that is they did until December 2022 rolled around.
If you’re in desperate need of assistance, you may want to look around your area for some other options that are available to you, as UBI might not be coming soon enough.
Alternate assistance programs
The federal government manages a number of assistance programs for needy Americans, and all of them have different purposes with the different demographic in mind.
Some are aimed at those who are having trouble paying for groceries whereas others offer to pay for your utility bills or housing expenses.
We all come from different walks of life and it’s important to remember that we all have different needs and wants.
Housing is a particularly important issue right now, and many Americans are struggling to keep up with the growing housing costs, directly influenced by the constant changes in the housing market.
With programs like Section 8, these individuals/families will receive coupons that they can later use to pay for rent and other housing expenses at participating landlords.
UBI may not have taken off just yet, but once people understand that everyone deserves a chance at life, it may just become a common thing for all of us.