President Preckwinkle Announces Distribution of First Payments for Participants in the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot

Cook County announces financial counseling partnership with Working Credit

Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced that the first payments to participants in the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot (Promise Pilot) have been released and will reach participants in the coming days. The $42 million pilot is the largest publicly-funded guaranteed income program in American history, and received over 233,000 applications during the open application period between October 6 and October 21.

“This is a proud moment for us at Cook County,” said President Preckwinkle. “After months of hard work, participants in our Promise Pilot will now have their cash in hand. Our hope is that this money will serve as a foundation for residents so that they can achieve financial stability, pursue professional development opportunities, and invest in themselves and their children.”

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Promise Pilot will send monthly payments of $500 to 3,250 residents for two years. President Preckwinkle and County leadership have committed to creating a permanent program after the completion of the pilot, supported by a combination of County funds and philanthropic support.

“This money will go towards necessities like rent, groceries, and transportation. But it will also be invested in emergency savings funds, education costs, and starting new businesses. That’s the great thing about guaranteed income - it is a benefit that is flexible enough to help every participant meet their basic needs as well as their aspirations, no matter their particular situation,” said Bureau of Economic Development Chief Xochitl Flores.

The payments are being sent today by the Promise Pilot’s payment administration partners, GiveDirectly and AidKit, and participants who enrolled in the pilot by December 8th can expect to receive the first $500 transfers to their debit cards or bank accounts by December 20th. If participants have not received their transfers by the 20th, or for more information about enrollment status, they should contact customer service at (844) 427-5456 or

"We are thrilled that just weeks after applications were filed, the first payments are being made to Promise Pilot participants,” said Sarah Moran, U.S. Country Director for GiveDirectly.  “GiveDirectly is proud to work with the County to make this historic program a reality and to work with AidKit to build an application, enrollment, and disbursement process that is inclusive, straightforward, and accessible. At enrollment events across Cook County, our team has heard firsthand from recipients that this program is going to help bring stability, independence, and dignity to their families."

Enrollment in the Promise Pilot is still ongoing. Program administrators will select the final participants over the coming weeks from a waitlist meant to fill gaps left by applicants who failed to respond to enrollment invitation communications within the designated timeframe. More information about the final participant cohort will be shared when the program has reached full enrollment.

Today’s announcement also included the recognition of Working Credit NFP as Cook County’s financial counseling partner. Working Credit’s mission is to partner with individuals and communities to interrupt structural racism by providing credit building education, counseling and access to the products needed to thrive financially. A portion of the Promise Pilot’s participant cohort will be offered voluntary financial counseling services by Working Credit staff.

"In today's economy, credit is foundational to financial health. Without a good score, U.S. consumers often see their incomes depleted and their expenses increased by disproportionately high interest rates, fees and premiums for everyday financial products and services like car loans, cell phones, and car insurance. These are dollars that could otherwise be used to pay down debt, save, and build wealth,” said Morgan Spears, Chief Community Engagement Officer at Working Credit. “We are thrilled to partner with the Cook County Promise Pilot to deploy credit building as an equity strategy that participants can leverage to achieve financial resilience."

A major goal of the program is to learn how guaranteed income impacts participants, as well as the local economy and community. This will be accomplished through an extensive evaluation and academic research partnership with the University of Chicago’s Inclusive Economy Lab and the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice.

Evaluation of the Promise Pilot will allow governments, researchers, civic leaders, and advocates to learn from this ambitious initiative. The extensive evaluation will focus on measuring the economic, health, and social impacts of this program on participants and their communities. This will include a randomized controlled trial comparing participants with a control group, participant interviews and surveys, as well as qualitative research that will center participants’ own voices to understand how the pilot has affected their families at a deeper, more personal level.

For more information about the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot please visit


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