Frequently Asked Questions

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About The Pilot

What is the Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot?
The Uplift Harris County Guaranteed Income Pilot will provide no-strings-attached $500 monthly cash payments to 1,928 Harris County residents for 18 months. The goal of the program is to improve participants’ financial and health outcomes, as well as understanding the impacts of guaranteed income on both individuals and their communities.
Who is running this program?
The Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot is an initiative of Harris County Public Health. The pilot will be administered by GiveDirectly, a nonprofit charitable organization contracted by Harris County Public Health. GiveDirectly is working with a tech partner, AidKit, to implement this program. You can expect to receive messages from GiveDirectly about your application and application status. If you opt in to research, you may be contacted by Elite Research.
How much will the Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot cost?
Uplift Harris is funded with $20.5 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). ARPA was passed to aid recovery from the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. The budget for this pilot includes funds for a third-party administrator and rigorous evaluation.
How will the Uplift Harris Pilot measure its success?
Uplift Harris will be evaluated by a third party throughout the program’s duration to assess effectiveness, understand families’ experiences throughout the pilot, and build on its success.
Are there plans to expand the program?
The continuation of Uplift Harris will depend on the availability of funding. One of the goals of the program is long-term sustainability and gradual expansion.

Eligibility

What are the eligibility criteria?
Two cohorts of applicants will be eligible for Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot funds. Eligible applicants will be randomly selected for both cohorts.
  • ● Geographic cohort: Eligibility is based on income and geography. Applicant’s household income must be below 200% of the federal poverty line (FPL) and reside in one of the identified high-poverty ZIP codes. Around 70% of the Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot participants will be selected for the Geographic Cohort.
  • ● ACCESS Harris: Active participants of Accessing Coordinated Care and Empowering Self Sufficiency (ACCESS) Harris County are qualified to apply through their participation in ACCESS Harris and having a household income below 200% FPL. ACCESS cohort participants can reside anywhere in Harris County. Around 30% of the Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot Participants will be selected for the ACCESS Cohort.
Am I eligible to participate in the Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot
To be eligible for the Geographic Cohort you must be a Harris County resident who meets ALL of the following eligibility requirements:
  • ● You reside in one of the targeted ZIP codes:
    • ○ 77050 
    • ○ 77093 
    • ○ 77051 
    • ○ 77060 
    • ○ 77028 
    • ○ 77033 
    • ○ 77026 
    • ○ 77081 
    • ○ 77547 
    • ○ 77091 
  • ● You are 18 years of age or older 
  • ● Your household income falls at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level 
  • ● You are a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen with any of the following legal statuses: 
    • ○A lawful permanent resident (green card holder); 
    • ○An asylum seeker: someone who has been granted protection and permission to stay in the U.S. because of a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country; 
    • ○A refugee: someone who has been forced to flee their home country and has been officially allowed to come to the U.S. for safety reasons; 
    • ○Someone who has been granted humanitarian parole for at least one year; 
    • ○Someone whose deportation has been postponed in connection with the Convention Against Torture; 
    • ○A political refugee granted conditional entry based on the Immigration and Nationality Act prior to April 1, 1980; 
    • ○Someone from Cuba or Haiti who has been granted permission to stay in the U.S. pursuant to the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980; 
    • ○Someone who has experienced severe abuse or cruelty and is granted certain protections under U.S. immigration law.
To be eligible for the ACCESS cohort you must meet ALL of the following eligibility requirements:
  • ● You must be an active participant in the Accessing Coordinated Care and Empowering Self Sufficiency (ACCESS) Harris County care coordination model 
  • ● You reside in Harris County 
  • ● You are 18 years of age or older 
  • ● Your household income falls at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level 
  • ● You are a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen with any of the following legal statuses: 
    • ○A lawful permanent resident (green card holder); 
    • ○An asylum seeker: someone who has been granted protection and permission to stay in the U.S. because of a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country; 
    • ○A refugee: someone who has been forced to flee their home country and has been officially allowed to come to the U.S. for safety reasons; 
    • ○Someone who has been granted humanitarian parole for at least one year; 
    • ○Someone whose deportation has been postponed in connection with the Convention Against Torture; 
    • ○A political refugee granted conditional entry based on the Immigration and Nationality Act prior to April 1, 1980;
    • ○Someone from Cuba or Haiti who has been granted permission to stay in the U.S. pursuant to the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980;
    • ○Someone who has experienced severe abuse or cruelty and is granted certain protections under U.S. immigration law.
Do I need to be a permanent resident or a U.S. citizen to participate?
To be eligible, you need to be either a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen with one of the following legal statuses:
○A lawful permanent resident (green card holder);
○An asylum seeker: someone who has been granted protection and permission to stay in the U.S. because of a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country;
○A refugee: someone who has been forced to flee their home country and has been officially allowed to come to the U.S. for safety reasons;
○Someone who has been granted humanitarian parole for at least one year;
○Someone whose deportation has been postponed in connection with the Convention Against Torture;
○A political refugee granted conditional entry based on the Immigration and Nationality Act prior to April 1, 1980;
○Someone from Cuba or Haiti who has been granted permission to stay in the U.S. pursuant to the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980;
○Someone who has experienced severe abuse or cruelty and is granted certain protections under U.S. immigration law.

If you live in a household with members that have different immigration statuses, you can still apply if you are 18 years or older and meet all eligibility criteria, including being a U.S. citizen or non-citizen with one of the legal statuses listed above. For instance, an adult—who is a U.S. citizen or non-citizen with legal residence status—can apply for their household, even if their family or others in the household are undocumented.


Eligibility for Federal Benefits

What is the income limit for my household size?
The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is an income measure used by the government to determine eligibility for programs. It is based on household size - larger households will have higher income cutoffs than smaller households.If you are unsure about whether or not your household qualifies, the following table shows the maximum income for various household sizes:

  • ● For individuals: $29,160
  • ● For a family of 2: $39,440
  • ● For a family of 3 : $49,720
  • ● For a family of 4: $60,000
  • ● For a family of 5: $70,280
  • ● For a family of 6: $80,560
  • ● For a family of 7: $90,840
  • ● For a family of 8: $101,120
  • ● For a family of 9: $111,400
  • ● For a family of 10: $121,680
  • ● For a family of 11: $131,960
  • ● For a family of 12: $142,240
  • ● For a family of 13: $152,520
  • ● For a family of 14: $162,800
How do you define a household?

A household includes yourself as well as anyone who depends on you to cover most of their expenses, or who you depend on. To determine your household size, you should count yourself, your spouse, and any other family members who depend on you to cover most of their expenses (for example: children, students, elderly, sick, or disabled family members). Here are some examples of different types of households as defined by this pilot:

  • ● Two married or cohabiting parents and their dependent children, or
  • ● A college student aged 18 and over, who is financially independent (cannot be claimed as a dependent on a tax return), or
  • ● A single parent and their dependent children, or
  • ● An elderly person who is financially independent, or
  • ● An adult and an elderly or disabled family member who is claimed as a dependent on their tax return

If you are living in a home or apartment with one or more other families who are financially independent, you are all considered separate households. Roommates and tenants should not be counted as part of your household.

What is household income?
Household income is the sum of all income earned by the members of your household in a year. This includes all money from jobs, gifts, and cash benefits like Social Security, disability, retirement or pensions, and unemployment. The application includes an optional calculator to help you determine what your household income is. If your household has no income, you will be able to note this in the application.

Application

Can I still apply?
Public application to the Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot closed on February 2, 2024 at 11:59 PM. If you were asked to submit additional documents or are part of the ACCESS cohort, you have till February 7, 2024 11:59 PM to complete your application.
What documents can I provide as proof of identity, residency, and income?
The following are accepted documents you can submit as proof of identity:

- Driver’s license
- State ID
- US Passport
- Non-United States Passport
- Military ID
- Green Card
- Certification of naturalization (form N-550 or N-570)
- Certificate of citizenship (form N-560 or N-561)
- Permanent resident card (1-551)
- Native American tribal photo ID
- Consular ID Card
- (Foreign) Voter ID Card
- US Employment Authorization
- Learner’s Permit
- Temporary Visitor Driver’s License
- Other government issued photo ID that includes name and date of birth

The following are preferred documents you can submit as proof of residency:

- Current (valid/non-expired) government issued photo ID with home address
- Utility bill, landline phone bill, internet bill, or cable bill in the applicant’s name within the last 90 days with service address.
- Mortgage or lease documents with home address, indicating current residency.
- House deed with full address and individual’s name.

The following are other acceptable documents you can submit as proof of residency if you do not have any of the above:

- Tax return or receipt with home address from tax year 2022 or 2023 (Form 1040, Schedule C, or other filed tax form)
- Government benefits document/confirmation letter dated January 2023 or after (e.g. benefits confirmation letter for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”))
- Property tax bill from 2023 or more recent with home address, indicating current residency
- Letter from an official third-party business/commercial enterprise with home address, delivered by the U.S. Post Office within the last 90 days.
- Unexpired rental insurance with address being insured
- Unexpired vehicle registration with home address
- Attestation/certification of applicant residency from GiveDirectly staff.

The following are preferred documents you can submit as proof of income:

- Tax return or receipt with home address from tax year 2023 or 2022 (Form 1040, Schedule C, or other filed tax form).
- Enrollment or eligibility confirmation letter from any of the following programs, dated January 2023 or later:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF”)
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (“WIC”)

The following are other acceptable documents you can submit as proof of income if you do not have any of the above:

- Wage documents from 2023 or 2022 for all adults over 18 years old in the household that earn income:
- W2 or 1099s
- Unemployment award letter (last 12 months)
- A paystub along with an attestation/certification that the submitted paystub is reflective of the applicant’s typical income.

Selection, Enrollment, and Payment

How will households be selected to participate?

After the Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot application closes, there will be a randomized lottery to select the applicants to participate in the Pilot. Eligibility for the Pilot will be verified through the application. You may be contacted to provide documentation to verify your eligibility after you submit your application. In total, 1,928 households will be randomly selected to receive the funds through a lottery.

Your application and documents will be reviewed to verify eligibility. Applicants who are confirmed to be eligible will be entered into a randomized lottery. Only one applicant per household can be selected to receive funds.

When will I know if I have been selected?

You can expect to receive an email and/or text message notification approximately one month after the application period closes regarding whether you have been selected. This notification will be sent to the email address and/or mobile phone number that you provided in your application.

If you provide another person’s email address and/or mobile phone number on your application, please let them know that you expect to be receiving an update on your application status during this time, and contact them to find out whether a notification has been received.

How will I be notified if I am selected?

You will be notified if you are or are not selected via email and/or text message this notification will be sent to the mobile phone number and/or email address you provided when you completed the application.


If selected to participate in the pilot, how much money will I receive?
Participants in the Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot will receive $500 per month for 18 months.
If selected, what can I use the money for?
Participants can use the money however they see fit to meet their needs, except:
  • ● To buy or support anything that would harm the safety and security of other participants in the Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot and/or other community members
  • ● For the promotion of and/or engagement in any criminal or illegal activities
  • ● To support any entities or individuals relating to terrorism

Such activities will lead to removal from the pilot.

If selected, how will I be paid?

You will be able to choose between receiving payment via bank transfer (direct deposit) or prepaid reloadable debit card. You do not need a bank account in order to be paid.


If selected, when will I receive my first payment?
All selected participants will receive their first payments by the end of May 2024. Most participants will receive their first payments in April 2024.
Will my benefits be affected?

Submitting an application will not impact your existing public benefits. During the application, you’ll be asked about which public benefits you and/or anyone in your household is currently receiving. If you are selected, before enrolling, you can receive benefits counseling to learn about if and how your benefits will be impacted. If you decide that you do not want to participate, you can opt out of the pilot at that time.


Will participation in the Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot be used in determining if someone is a public charge?

No, participation in the Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot will not be used in determine if someone is a public charge.

Federal law says that someone who relies mostly on the government for financial support is a public charge. If the U.S. government decides a non-citizen is likely to become a public charge, that person can be barred from entering the U.S. or from becoming a lawful permanent resident.

The Uplift Harris Guaranteed Income Pilot is funded under the U.S. Department of Treasury’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program, to support residents and those providing services to residents to foster resiliency and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, guaranteed income related to COVID-19 is not considered in public charge determinations.

Do I need to pay taxes on this money?

No, you will not pay taxes on this money. This funding qualifies as a tax exempt charitable gift under IRS rules. Because it is a gift, you do not need to claim it as income on your tax returns.


If I move, can I continue to participate in the pilot?

If you move to a new home within Harris County, you should report it to GiveDirectly but it will have no impact on your continued eligibility to receive the guaranteed income.

If you or your household move outside of Harris County, you are obligated to report it to GiveDirectly and you will no longer be eligible to receive the guaranteed income. This is because the federal government requires that the County’s funds are used for local benefit only.

Personal Information, Data Privacy, and Security

How will my information be used?
This application will ask questions to help us determine your eligibility for this program and understand more about who is applying to this program. Each section indicates why we are collecting information and how it will be used.
None of the information you provide will be shared with other parties without your express consent. We will securely store any information you share in the application stage. In the unlikely event of a data breach, you will be immediately informed.