Mayors Guaranteed Income Initiative
Thank you for participating in the Level Up MGI Pilot Program!
If you need additional resources, call Financial Navigators at 211 or fill out the intake form and allow Financial Navigators staff to provide you with information on various programs and services—including public benefits programs, utility assistance, emergency financial assistance, and more.
For additional resources, signup for the Mayor’s weekly report for updated information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Level Up is a guaranteed income project that will provide 200 eligible Mount Vernon residents with $500 per month for one year. While the benefits of guaranteed income programs have been documented, this is an independent research project that will be used to study the effects of this type of program so that the city and other jurisdictions can learn about the project’s impact on the economic stability of participants, as well as its impact on participants’ overall health and well-being.
Guaranteed income is a monthly cash payment given directly to individuals. It is unconditional, with no strings attached on how to spend it and no work requirements. It is meant to supplement, not replace, the existing social safety net.
200 participants will be randomly selected from the pool of eligible applicants by the research team, the University of Pennsylvania, Center for Guaranteed Income Research.
The date and time applicants apply, or the method, will not impact the selection process, as long as they apply during the open enrollment period. As this is also an independent research study, applicants will be asked a series of questions to gather baseline data on overall health and well-being. Some of these questions are sensitive and may be difficult to answer. These questions are only for the purposes of gathering baseline data for the research study. Answers to them will not have any impact on being selected to participate in the project. The participants will be randomly selected from the pool of eligible applicants who meet the stated eligibility requirements and submits an application during the application enrollment period.
To ensure an equitable selection process, at the end of the application period, ALL applicants who meet the eligibility criteria will be placed into a randomized lottery to select the 200 participants. Additional details on the timeline are in the chart below:
Approved Families Notified via Email & Call
*Timeline subject to change
After participants are selected, another 275 applicants will be randomly chosen to participate in the research study only, as part of the “control group.” Control group participants will not receive the monthly payment. You will be contacted by a Research Fellow, and they will complete periodic surveys and interviews about their well-being so that information can be compared to the “treatment group” and help determine whether or not the program was effective. Control group participants will receive $30.00 gift cards for each survey completed (this does not include the application and initial survey).
Abt Associates, along with other local and national research partners, will conduct a randomized control study to measure the project’s outcomes. Participants are not required to participate in the research study in order to receive the monthly payments. For those who do choose to be part of the study, program and control group participants will be asked to provide information periodically on different aspects of their overall health and well-being across different domain areas and will both receive a $30.00 gift card for each survey completed (this does not include the application and initial survey).
The individual information collected will only be used by the research team, and no individual information will be shared with anyone else. Only aggregate data will be shared with others to report on the overall project outcomes. The data will be used to help reform current policies, guide future programs, and aid in the expansion of our social safety net.
- If selected, how will I receive my monthly Guaranteed Income distribution? Do I need to have a bank account?
Monthly payments to participants will be distributed through debit cards. You do not need to have a bank account to participate.
The City of Mount Vernon and its team will answer questions from applicants, contact participants as needed, and troubleshoot any issues that arise over the course of the program. LevelUp@cmvny.com or (914) 840-4022.
The Program Manager (PM) will contact selected participants using the contact information provided with the application. If you are selected, the program manager will reach out to you directly.
The research fellows from ABT Associates will email or call applicants who were not selected to be part of the program to let them know if they checked the box giving the MGI Level Up permission to contact them outside of the application process and provided an email address and/or cell phone number in that section. Additionally, we will update the website once all notifications to participants have been completed. If you check the website and it says that notifications to participants have been completed and you have not been contacted, then you have not been selected to participate.
If you would like to find other resources that may help, please visit the Financial Navigators Program page or contact Financial Navigators at 211.
The incarceration will need to be short-term; a minimum of one day – a maximum of 3 months. Any time served after the 3 months will disqualify.
The benefits will go to next of kin.
Some benefits could be affected while others will not be affected at all. Those selected to participate will have an opportunity to talk to a benefits counselor about their specific situation regarding any public benefits they are receiving such as government agency benefits and others before starting in the program. At that time, they will be able to decide whether or not they want to participate.
If your contact information changes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 914-840-4022, and include your full name and the contact information you used to apply (phone number, email address, street address), along with your updated contact information.
Yes, those selected to participate will need to show proof of meeting the eligibility requirements stated above before being enrolled in the program.
Early research suggests that cash may be the simplest yet most powerful way to do the best for most people. It can be powerful for three reasons. First, it moves quickly. Even with U.S. Treasury problems, 80 million American households have already received a check the government just mandated several months ago. Second, it allows for flexibility. No two American households are identical in their needs. While one will need funds for rent, others will need it for childcare, and yet others will need it for a laptop so their child can engage in distance learning. And of course, most families need that extra increase every month. Third, many people are only partially covered by or completely left out of existing social safety net programs. Cash could help fill these gaps.
Early research suggests that a Guaranteed Income Program can provide households with financial stability during sharp economic swings Level Up - MGI Pilot Program a little easier, alleviate stress, and broaden recipients’ horizons, allowing them the time to complete deferred education and job training, as well as plans to fully participate in their communities.
A cash infusion can address immediate needs and provide the level of consistency required to keep a household from going into a greater financial crisis. Larger systemic changes must be addressed to ensure affordable housing, healthcare, and jobs are available. We need meaningful, systemic change to our economy – and cash is just one part of that.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a guaranteed income could stimulate spending at the local level and generate much-needed state and local revenue to drive the economy across the country. Addressing the needs of our residents undoubtedly improves the circumstances of the broader community.
Yes, to save your application, you must provide a valid email address to receive a link to complete your application later. Links will be emailed twice a day only – at 8:00 am EST and 5:00 pm EST. For example, if you begin the application survey and exit before completing it at 9:00 am, you will receive a link to access the application again at 5:00 pm EST. Please note: If you begin the application after 5:00 pm on the final day of the application period, you must complete in one sitting because you will not receive a link to access the application prior to the application closing at 11:59 pm EST. Responses are automatically saved, but to be placed into the lottery, you must hit submit at the end of the survey when you are finished.
When you finish the application, you should see a submission confirmation screen. It will include the following message: “Thank you for taking the survey! If you are randomized into the intervention group someone from the: Level Up Mayor’s Guaranteed Income Pilot Program team will contact, you with more information. If you are placed into the control group, please expect to hear from the: Level Up Mayor’s Guaranteed Income Pilot Program research fellow.” If you provided an email address in the application, you should receive an email from MGIstudy@abtsurvey.com within 24 hours with the subject: Level Up Mayor’s Guaranteed Income Pilot Program - You have successfully submitted your application! If you don’t receive that email, please check your Spam folder. If you still don’t see it, please check for it again the next day.
Glossary of Terms
People who have been selected to receive the Guaranteed Income payment of $500 per month for 12 months.
The treatment group is another way of referring to the participants who have been selected to receive the Guaranteed Income payments.
People who will not receive the Guaranteed Income payment but have been invited to participate in the research activities.
People who will not receive a guaranteed income through the project and will not be invited to participate in research activities.
The initial questions determine a participant’s eligibility for the Guaranteed Income project. Once eligibility has been approved, an in-depth application survey must be filled out. The screening tool must be completed online.
The application survey is a complete overview of your demographic background, mental, physical, and financial health, goals, and overall well-being. The survey may take approximately one hour to complete. In-person assistance to complete the online application survey is available. The survey must be completed online.
The cash distribution is the monthly payment amount of $500 that will be given to participants in the project. These payments will be disbursed through debit cards.