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After covering the basics, like buying a new car and getting monthly groceries for her five children, Tamika Calhoun focused on saving half of her monthly guaranteed income payments for unexpected expenses. 

After covering the basics, like buying a new car and getting monthly groceries for her five children, Tamika Calhoun focused on saving half of her monthly guaranteed income payments for unexpected expenses. 

Photographer: Akasha Rabut for Bloomberg

How Cash Payments Changed Low-Income Americans’ Lives

Cash was key to tackling US inequality during Covid-19. But for women who received monthly guaranteed income, it was far more than a pandemic stopgap.

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When 100 women in Jackson, Mississippi, were told in March 2020 that they had been chosen to be part of a year-long guaranteed income program, they couldn’t have known that the year would be harder than most. The pandemic was only just beginning, but all of them were already dealing with everyday crises — navigating car trouble, job loss and debt on low wages, with families to feed and bills to pay.