Guaranteed Income Program in Michigan Offers New Moms $500 a Month


New and expecting moms in Flint, Michigan can now get hundreds of dollars during their pregnancy and hundreds more every month of their baby’s first year.

The new guaranteed income program called Rx Kids offers “no-strings-attached love,” according to its website. Enrollment opened last week with a celebratory tweet from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, calling it “Michigan’s nation-leading effort to eliminate infant poverty.”

“It will give every child born in Flint a fair shot at a bright future,” Whitmer said on X.

The program provides expectant moms with $1,500 during pregnancy and another $500 each month throughout a baby’s first year, according to the Rx Kids website. The website says the program is the “first-ever citywide cash prescription program for pregnant moms and babies.”

Baltimore has also experimented with a guaranteed income for mothers. In its program, the city offers $1,000 to young mothers every month to spend however they want. Some recipients told Business Insider the deal was so good they initially thought it was a scam.

Flint’s Rx Kids expects to serve 1,200 infants each year and has enough funding to run for at least three years, though it is “aiming to deliver cash to Flint families for as long as possible,” the program’s FAQ page says.

“Raising kids is expensive and society should come alongside to support families,” the website says. “For most people, a child’s birth is a joyous event. For too many families, though, income plunges, and poverty spikes right before a child is born and remains high throughout the first year. These first months of life are critical for a baby’s development; it’s also when their families are struggling the most.”

Inspired by the now-defunct Child Tax Credit — a pandemic-era relief effort championed by the Biden administration — the program’s cofounder H. Luke Shaefer said Rx Kids is “one way to help families in an effective, efficient way,” MLive reported.

Universal basic income programs and their like-minded cousins — guaranteed basic income programs like Rx Kids that target certain groups of people instead of entire populations — have been largely successful (even in Republican-led states that offer staunch opposition) at addressing poverty and homelessness.


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