A TOTAL of 5,000 lucky families are in line to receive a stimulus check of $500 a month for an entire year.
Families in Chicago which earn less than $35,000 a year will be eligible for the ‘lottery’ scheme which will see the lucky ones selected at random.
Chicago City Council passed a $35million budget in October in order to provide for those most in need in the city.
The scheme is the single largest basic universal income pilot program in the country.
Those families picked at random will get $500 per month for an entire year.
The cash has been provided under the American Rescue Plan and is designed to give a helping hand to those struggling financially due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the first six months of the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people lost their job in Chicago.
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The bill did not get universal backing with some wanting the money to be used for anti-violence programs.
Others expressed doubts the scheme would be successful due to the mixed results from other cities that had introduced a UBI program.
Alaska has been giving its residents cash since 1982 but the program has only seen a 17 per cent rise in part-time employment.
A California program from Stockton gave 125 residents $500 per month for two years, and data showed it helped unemployment as well as mental wellness among those taking part.
The Chicago scheme comes as workers in Illinois earning less than $75,000 a year could be in line for an early Christmas present – a stimulus check worth $200.
Read our stimulus checks live blog for the latest updates on Covid-19 relief…
People in Illinois could be getting the extra cash after the proposal was made by Republicans in the state’s House of Representatives.
Should it become law, single taxpayers earning less than $75,000 would receive a $200 check, while the amount is $400 for joint filers earning less than $150,000, according to WCIA.
GOP State Representative Tom Demmer said the support would “mirror” some of the financial aid given by the federal government in the past couple of years.
“It could be an extra week or two of groceries, it could be a few extra utility bills or it could make the difference between being able to buy new shoes or winter coats for your kids.”
A number of other states are also due to send out stimulus checks before Christmas.
FEARS GROWING OVER NEW COVID VARIANT
The move comes as fears about the new Covid variant Omicron is growing.
A state of emergency has been declared in New York and President Joe Biden banned travel from eight African countries in a bid to keep the super-strain out of the US.
Ahead of the chaotic Christmas period, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order on Friday that she hopes will ease pressure on health surgeries ahead of a potential spike in Covid cases.
Biden said of the travel ban: “The policy was implemented out of an abundance of caution in light of a new Covid-19 variant circulating in southern Africa.
“Our scientists and public health officials are working quickly to learn more about this variant.”
Experts have made clear that this is the worst variant of the virus that has been seen so far, although its importance is not yet known.
The Omicron has a combination of mutations from several dangerous variants that have evolved in the past year.