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No, California is not sending out checks to all LGBTQ residents

San Francisco has launched a guaranteed income pilot program for trans people, but it's limited to 55 low-income San Franciscans.

Several national news outlets have reported that San Francisco has launched a guaranteed income program for some of its trans residents.

The launch comes amid a wave of California cities – and the state’s legislature – trying out similar programs for different types of residents, as a way to provide welfare to their most vulnerable residents.

A VERIFY viewer told us they’d heard there might be a program providing checks to all LGBTQ Californians, so we looked into whether such a program exists.

THE QUESTION

Is it true that all LGBTQ residents of California will be able to receive money from the state?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, California is not sending out checks to all LGBTQ residents. Only a handful of low-income trans Californians may be eligible for guaranteed income pilot programs operated by their respective cities.

WHAT WE FOUND

San Francisco has indeed launched a guaranteed income program that could be available to some of its LGBTQ residents, but exactly who is eligible is extremely limited.

First, it’s specifically for trans, non-binary, and intersex people. Within that group, the program’s official website states that it's further focused on especially vulnerable individuals, such as those who are homeless or have disabilities.

It’s only for San Francisco residents, not all Californians. And it’s only for extremely low-income San Franciscans; no one making more than $600 a month is eligible.

Finally, the program is a pilot designed to study the effectiveness of such a proposal. Only 55 people will receive the checks, which will be $1,200 per month for 18 months beginning in January.

Another California city, Palm Springs, is exploring a similar program. However, that one is earlier in the planning stages than San Francisco’s. The city has approved $200,000 in funds for a nonprofit to study and design a pilot, but no money has been allocated yet to actually send to its trans residents.

The state of California is experimenting with a much larger guaranteed income pilot, but that one isn’t about being LGBTQ.

In a bipartisan, unanimous vote in 2021, the legislature approved $35 million in funding, which it’s since doled out to a number of nonprofits that will in turn give money to eligible recipients. The number of recipients, duration of the program, and amount of monthly income provided will vary between those nonprofits.

The state law that created this program says the money is specifically for “California residents who age out of the extended foster care program at or after 21 years of age or who are pregnant individuals.”

So it’s true that guaranteed income programs are in the works throughout California, but none that would cut checks to all LGBTQ people in the state. Only a small group of low-income trans people in San Francisco will receive monthly income for a year and a half as part of a pilot program.

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