Guaranteed Income Pilot Program


As part of the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget agreed to by California’s Governor and the Legislature, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will oversee a guaranteed income pilot program.

Guaranteed income pilot programs traditionally provide unconditional, individual, regular cash payments intended to support the basic needs of the recipients. The budget for the pilot program is $35 million (General Fund) over five years.

What is the Guaranteed Income Pilot Program?

The California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program was established to provide grants to eligible entities for the purpose of administering pilot programs and projects that provide a guaranteed income to participants. The department will prioritize funding for pilot programs and projects that serve California residents who age out of the extended foster care program at or after 21 years of age or who are pregnant individuals. Guaranteed Income projects can also address benefit and eligibility impacts through the inclusion of “benefits counseling” – empowering participants to make informed decisions.

The department, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, will determine the methodology for, and manner of, distributing grants. The department shall ensure that grant funds are awarded in an equitable manner to eligible entities in both rural and urban counties and in proportion to the number of individuals anticipated to be served by an eligible entity’s pilot program or project.

Please note that this web page will continue to be updated as additional details are announced.

Impact on Other Social Safety Net Benefits

CDSS recognizes that receipt of guaranteed income may lead to impacts on eligibility for other safety-net benefits.

To that end, the CDSS has implemented a process for reviewing demonstration project income exemption requests from California counties, cities, and other local municipalities seeking to reduce poverty by administering guaranteed income pilots and projects in their jurisdictions. If an income exemption request is granted, recipients of guaranteed income who are also receiving CalWORKs benefits can avoid any negative impacts that guaranteed income components of demonstration projects might otherwise have on CalWORKs participant eligibility and benefits.

For the purposes of CalFresh, payments received by guaranteed income project or pilot participants must come from a private source to be excluded. If an approved guaranteed income project or pilot is both privately and publicly funded, the private funding must be sufficient to cover the cost of all payments received by CalFresh households participating in the project or pilot. This determination will be made by the CDSS and communicated directly through order of the CDSS Director.

All demonstration project income exemption requests that are approved will also be posted to the following, linked CDSS webpage. For more information regarding exemptions for CalWORKs and CalFresh, please email