President Preckwinkle Announces Upcoming Application Launch of the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot

Cook County announces outreach and administrative partners to assist in implementing largest publicly-funded guaranteed income pilot in American history

(COOK COUNTY, IL) — Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined Cook County Commissioners and community partners to announce the upcoming application launch of the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot. Eligible Cook County residents will be able to apply for the pilot beginning October 6 and will have until October 21 to submit their application. Interested applicants can learn more about how to prepare to apply and sign up to receive updates by visiting

“With a $42 million investment, this two-year pilot is the largest publicly-funded guaranteed income initiative in American history and will provide thousands of our residents with a stable economic foundation – many for the first time in their lives,” President Preckwinkle said. “Cook County is proud to be leading the way for government in the American guaranteed income movement. With this historic investment, we aim to show the nation what guaranteed income at scale can achieve.”

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot will send monthly payments of $500 to 3,250 residents for two years. Payments to program participants are expected to begin December 2022. President Preckwinkle and County leadership have committed to continuing the program after the completion of the pilot, supported by a combination of County funds and philanthropic support.

“It is critical that residents in Cook County have a level of economic stability on which to stand, so we are excited to launch the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot after many months of work,” said Xochitl Flores, Bureau of Economic Development Chief. “This has been a significant effort on many fronts and a case study in the importance of working closely with experienced organizations when tackling ambitious and innovative projects like the Promise Pilot.”

An estimated 36% of all Cook County residents will be eligible to apply for the pilot. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, a resident of Cook County, and have a household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level – or about $58,000 for a family of three (breakdown below).

Federal Poverty Guidelines

Household/ Family Size

250% FPL

















*For each additional member over 8, add $11,800

The pilot is open to Cook County households regardless of immigration status, and applicants will not be asked to verify citizenship or documentation status. Households that are already participating in another guaranteed income pilot, such as the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot or Evanston’s Guaranteed Income Pilot, are not eligible to apply; Cook County employees are also ineligible for the program. After the application window closes, participants will be selected through a lottery.

The application will need to be completed via computer, tablet, or smartphone with access to the internet. Applicants will also need access to an e-mail address or a mobile telephone for program communications purposes. Applicants will also be prompted to upload a government-issued photo ID or selfie (a picture that clearly shows applicant's face). At a later date, applicants may be asked to provide documents that verify their identity, residence, and household income. Individuals in need of assistance to complete the application, or who need access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone, will be able to access in-person and virtual support during the application window in locations across the County.

Today’s announcement also included the recognition of administrative and outreach partners that will assist the County with implementation of the pilot. GiveDirectly has been selected as the County’s Payment Administration partner. In this role, they will be responsible for launching an open, stream-lined web-based and mobile-friendly application, verifying applicant eligibility, and enrolling and paying 3,250 households. For technological assistance, GiveDirectly has selected AidKit as its technology partner. AidKit will host the application and will issue payments through their close-looped, integrated platform.

“GiveDirectly is proud to partner with Cook County to launch the country’s largest guaranteed income pilot which will provide critical cash relief to Cook County families,” said Sarah Moran, U.S. Country Director. “This program will set a new standard for how government can meet the needs of communities and constituents in dignified, flexible, and empowering ways - including through direct, unconditional cash.”

“AidKit leverages technology to improve people’s lives by delivering cash with dignity,” said Katrina Van Gasse, Co-Founder and CEO of AidKit. “The Cook County Promise represents an unprecedented opportunity to do that at scale. We’re honored to work with GiveDirectly and Cook County’s Bureau of Economic Development to provide a technology platform that meets people where they are - one that helps advance equity and prevent fraud to maximize the impact of this timely and important program.”

Additionally, six outreach partners were announced to assist in engaging hard-to-reach communities. Partners will begin conducting outreach to communities across Cook County starting today and will provide in-person and remote application assistance throughout the application period. Partners will be doing a number of activities to get the word out, including issuing flyers, holding in-person application assistance drives, hosting events, disseminating information to other community-based organizations, and more. Outreach materials will be available in English, Spanish, French, Polish, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

Outreach partners include:
•    Housing Forward
•    Indo American Center
•    Next Move
•    Northwest Compass
•    Respond Now
•    Spanish Coalition for Housing

“As one of the largest HUD Certified Nonprofit Housing Counseling organizations in Cook County, Spanish Coalition for Housing (SCH) understands the need and the importance of reaching underserved populations,” said Joseph Lopez, Executive Director of SCH. “For 50 years, SCH has built strong community ties, connecting critical resources to address individual and families' housing and financial needs. In partnership with Cook County, the organizations supporting outreach all have deep roots in communities and successful track records in serving hard-to-reach populations. Collectively, our teams are ready to provide outreach, information and offer on-site application assistance throughout Cook County.”

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.

“Guaranteed Income programs hold promise for improving economic mobility and promoting racial equity,” said Carmelo Barbaro, Executive Director of the Inclusive Economy Lab. “To expand these programs locally and nationally we need to generate evidence about the most effective ways to distribute dollars and how families leverage these programs to achieve their goals. While initial results from recent pilots suggest guaranteed income programs are effective, we look forward to understanding the long-term impact on the racial wealth gap and poverty rates in large counties like this one.”

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.

“We are thrilled to partner with Cook County on this important effort to expand economic opportunity for our community. Like our partners at the Inclusive Economy Lab, the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice is committed to research partnerships, like this one, that leverage our faculty expertise and the talents and energy of our students to help policymakers tackle pressing issues,” said Adrian Talbot, Associate Dean for Civic Engagement Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago

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


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