An extra $500 per month for a year will go to 100 Ulster County residents in pilot program
One Hudson Valley county will be one of the first in the nation to test out a new economic policy idea; universal basic income.
Some Ulster County residents will be getting $500 per month for a year beginning in May as part of the trial run.
"I think that's great," said Tiffany Herrera, of New Paltz. "I think it'll provide people who need relief with a good opportunity."
County Executive Pat Ryan is optimistic.
"I don't think the time could be better to do it with such great need right now in the midst of the pandemic," he said.
One-hundred people making less than $47,000 a year will be chosen at random to use the cash however they wish.
The pilot program isn't funded by taxes, but by donated money.
"We've been doing this thing countywide called Project Resilience for the last year," Ryan said. "Delivering food, helping with child care, helping with rent -- all funded by philanthropic donations. So this is actually an extension of that. All of the funding is actually from the community."
The money won't be taxable and will not stop recipients from receiving unemployment checks. However, the county is ironing out some details because it could impact temporary assistance from the state or SNAP benefits.
More than 2,000 county residents have already applied ahead of the March 15 deadline.
The University of Pennsylvania's Center for Guaranteed Income Research will be partnering with Ulster County to study how the pilot program goes.