Chicago Cash Assistance

Recipients of Chicago's $500-Per-Month Cash Assistance Program to Be Selected This Month

5,000 low-income Chicago households will soon find out if they've been selected to monthly assistance from the Chicago Resilience Community Pilot, a $500-per-month for twelve months cash assistance program meant to benefit individuals and families facing economic hardships caused by COVID.

Applications for the $31.5 million program were open for a 3-week period, beginning April 25. They closed at 11:59 p.m. on May 13.

According to Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office, eligible applicants are to be selected through a lottery "designed to prioritize households living in poverty and those living in communities with preexisting economic hardship."

In order to qualify for the program, applicants needed to meet several requirements, including being 18 or older and having a household income of less than or equal to 250% of the Federal Poverty Line.

During the application period, the program received more than 176,000 applications from all 77 community areas in Chicago, with at least
300 applications submitted from each ward, Lightfoot's office said in a press release.

The release goes on to say that preliminary analysis of applicant demographics shows that 64% of applications live below the poverty line, and 40% live in deep poverty. 68% of the applicants identified as Black or African American, 24% identified as Latino or Hispanic, 15% of applications identified as white and 3% identified as Asian.

62% of applications identified as a parent or caregiver, 70% of applications identified as female and 9% indicated they are housing insecure or homeless.

According to the mayor's office, applications will be closely reviewed for eligibility. those that qualify will be placed into a lottery, where "5,000 households will be invited to enroll in the monthly cash assistance program."

"Pending final verification, benefits counseling and successful enrollment, most households will receive their first payments at the end of June."

All applicants will be notified about their status in the days after Memorial Day.

Here's what else to know about the program

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)

Applications were limited to one per household.

How Exactly Does the Lottery Work?

According to city officials, all applications will be closely reviewed eligibility placed into an initial lottery designed to prioritize households living in poverty in areas facing preexisting economic hardship.

From there, eligible applicants will be placed into a final selection lottery, where 5,000 households will be "invited to enroll n the monthly cash assistance program," a release says.

When Do Participants Find Out if They've Been Selected to Receive the Monthly Assistance?

All 176,000+ applicants will be notified about their status in the days after Memorial Day weekend via email, text or phone, the Mayor's office says.

When Will Participants Receive Their Money?

According to a release from the Mayor's office, most households will receive their first payments at the end of June. Pilot participants who need additional support during the enrollment phase may receive their first payment at the end of July.

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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