Choctaw Nation Plans to Use Covid Relief Funds to Experiment With Universal Basic Income

Choctaw Nation is planning to use Covid relief funds to experiment with universal basic income and at least three others tribes are planning similar programs, Insider reports.

Choctaw Nation announced last week that it will use funding from the American Rescue Plan to send additional direct payments to its members for the next two years.

Under the plan, any member between 18 and 54 can receive $1,000 per year for the next two years and those under 18 are eligible for annual payments of $700. Disabled members and those over 55 will receive a monthly payment of $200 for the next two years.

A spokesperson for the tribe estimated that the program would cost about $627 million, just over half of the $1.1 billion in funding the tribe received from the relief bill.

The American Rescue Plan allocated $20 billion to tribal governments.

Other tribes plan more stimulus:

At least three other tribes have rolled out similar plans on a more limited basis.

Osage Nation said it would send up to $2,000 to members who were impacted by the pandemic.

Cherokee Nation said it would provide a $2,000 one-time payment to all members.

Navajo Nation will extend a program that provides funds from the relief bill to those that experienced “hardship” during the pandemic, which was set to expire in September.

Research on pandemic stimulus spending found that the programs helped dramatically cut down on food insecurity and financial instability.

Some states sending direct payments:

At least four states have also announced plans to provide direct payments to some residents from the Covid relief bill.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $12 billion program that will send a $600 check to most residents and an additional $500 to most families with kids.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a one-time $1,000 stimulus check program for first responders and teachers, more than 200,000 people.

Tennessee will also send a $1,000 check to full-time teachers.

New Mexico has launched a $5 million program that provides a one-time payment of $750 to low-income households.


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