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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.

For more questions regarding the Guaranteed Income Pilots please email us at

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.

In order for GI payments to be excluded for CalFresh purposes, the payments themselves must be at least partially funded by private dollars regardless of the amount or the source of the private funds. The determination of GI payment excludability for CalFresh 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 be posted to the CDSS Income Exemption Request webpage. For more information regarding exemptions for CalWORKs and CalFresh, please email

How do I Apply for Funds?

CDSS has released its Request for Application (RFA) for eligible entities seeking funding to administer a guaranteed income pilot program. Information regarding the RFA will be shared via the CDSS Guaranteed Income Listserv as well as via the Guaranteed Income RFA webpage.

Evaluation Request for Information (RFI)

CDSS is seeking one or more evaluators to assess the implementation and the impact of guaranteed income pilots that will be funded across the state beginning in 2022. The role of the implementation evaluator will be to evaluate the extent to which pilot programs operate programs with fidelity to the original program design. The role of the impact evaluator will be to develop a methodology for and lead the implementation of a rigorous evaluation of the effects of the guaranteed income intervention on recipient outcomes. This includes but is not limited to identifying guiding evaluation questions, designing evaluation and data collection plans, collecting data, conducting analyses, and reporting on evaluation findings for potentially multiple pilot designs. Additionally, CDSS is interested in the interaction between Guaranteed Income pilots and other social safety net benefits and would expect this to be a component of any evaluation. While it is possible for one entity to conduct both the implementation and impact evaluations, interested parties would need to articulate steps for avoiding conflict of interest in the execution of both duties.

Please note that the RFI for interested evaluators has now closed. CDSS will be updating this website shortly with the announcement of the selected evaluator.

Stakeholder Engagement

Throughout the launch of the Guaranteed Income Pilot Program the Department will host a series of stakeholder sessions. These sessions will offer an opportunity to provide feedback to the Department on the RFP process, the program evaluation, and how to best prioritize pregnant and former foster youth populations. For a list of upcoming stakeholder sessions and other related activities, please see below.

October 25th Guaranteed Income Stakeholder Session Slides

December 6th Guaranteed Income Stakeholder Session Slides

December 7th Guaranteed Income Stakeholder Listening Session for Former Foster Youth Slides

August 8th Guaranteed Income Request for Application (RFA) Overview Stakeholder Session Slides