Chicago Cash Assistance

Chicago's $500-Per-Month Assistance Program: Here's How to Apply

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Applications are now open for the Chicago Resilient Community Pilot, a direct-cash assistance program that provide 5,000 low-income Chicago households with $500 per month for 12 months.

The program "is a $31.5 million program to benefit Chicago residents and families facing economic hardships caused by COVID-19," a press release from Mayor Lori Lightfoot office reads.

Applications opened Monday April 25 at 9 a.m., and will remain open for three weeks, until May 13 at 11:59 p.m.

Here's how to apply for the program, how to find out if you're eligible and more.

When do Applications for the Program Open? When is the Deadline to Apply?

Applicants who are confirmed eligible will be able to enter into a lottery, according to city officials.

The application process is currently open: It opened April 25 at 9 a.m., and will close May 13 at 11:59 p.m. Residents can apply at any point during that period.

Residents must apply no later than May 13 at 11:59 p.m. in order to be considered. All applicants will be informed of their status by the end of May.

How do I Apply? What Documents Are Needed?

According to the city of Chicago, the application is expected to take 20-30 minutes to complete and is available in English, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Arabic, Polish, and Filipino.

All applications must be submitted by the deadline in order to be considered for the lottery.  

Applications will be asked to submit documents that provide identity, documents that prove your identity, date of birth, current residence in Chicago, and total household income.

Here's how to start the application process.

Who is Eligible for the Program?

In order to be eligible for the program, residents must:

  • Live in the city of Chicago
  • Must be 18 or older
  • Have experienced economic hardship related to COVID-19
  • Have a household income at or below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (for exactly, $57,575 for a household of three)

Only one applicant per household can apply. According to the city, for household size, you should count yourself, your spouse, and any other family members who depend on you to cover most of their expenses (for example: children, students, or elderly, sick or disabled family members).    

The pilot is open to all residents of Chicago, regardless of your legal immigration status, the city says.

How to Get Help Applying for the Monthly Assistance Program

You can register for an in-person or virtual information sessions about how to apply for the pilot here, or schedule an application assistance appointment at various locations here.

How Does the Lottery Work?

According to city officials, all application and documents will be reviewed to verify eligibility, and those who are confirmed eligible will be able to enter into a lottery.

Only one applicant per household can apply and be entered into the lottery. 

In total, 5,000 households will be randomly selected to receive the funds. However, the. The lottery is however designed to prioritize those living in poverty (at or below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level), and communities with preexisting economy hardship according to the city.

Does the $500-Per-Month Need to be Used in a Specific Way?

According to the city, Participants can use the money however they see fit to meet their needs, except:  

  • To buy or support anything that would harm the safety and security of project recipients and/or other community members 
  • For fraud or corruption 
  • For the promotion of any criminal activities 
  • To support any entities or individuals relating to terrorism 

More information can be found on the city’s website.

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