Single Moms Receiving Guaranteed Income: ‘It’s a Relief to Know I Have That Extra Income Coming In’

Back for its third year, Front and Center is a groundbreaking Ms. series that offers first-person accounts of Black mothers living in Jackson, Miss., receiving a guaranteed income. First launched in 2018, the Magnolia Mother’s Trust is about to enter its fifth cohort, bringing the number of moms served to more than 400 and making it the longest-running guaranteed income program in the country. Across the country, guaranteed income pilots like MMT are finding that recipients are overwhelmingly using their payments for basic needs like groceries, housing and transportation.

“I work from 8 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon everyday, and anytime there is something I can do to earn a little extra … I do it. … I receive $92 a month in SNAP benefits (food stamps), which is not nearly enough to cover my grocery bill for the month. And that’s why I’m so grateful for MMT—I can go spend cash on some groceries, and my baby and I are still good. Cash is more helpful than SNAP because I can buy groceries with cash, but I can’t pay bills with SNAP.”

Front and Center: ‘A Lot of Single Mothers Want to Work—They Just Don’t Have the Support or Family or Guidance’

Back for its third year, Front and Center is a groundbreaking Ms. series that offers first-person accounts of Black mothers living in Jackson, Miss., receiving a guaranteed income. First launched in 2018, the Magnolia Mother’s Trust is about to enter its fifth cohort, bringing the number of moms served to more than 400 and making it the longest-running guaranteed income program in the country. Across the country, guaranteed income pilots like MMT are finding that recipients are overwhelmingly using their payments for basic needs like groceries, housing and transportation.

“There are a lot of single mothers around here who want to work and just don’t have the support or family or guidance in front of them. That lack keeps them in the same position. For some people, all they have is themselves. … To know that I have a back up and can worry less about having enough gas or having to call on my mom. Now that I have this income coming in, I can save a little bit more. I can try to preserve a little bit more. There is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Keeping Score: Arizona Supreme Court Weighs 1864-Era Abortion Ban; Kate Cox Is Denied an Abortion; Women Call Out Toxic Workplaces

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

This week: Texas Supreme Court blocks Kate Cox from receiving an abortion; judge prohibits Trump-era policy of separating families at the border; women call out toxic workplaces, from New Jersey police to banking regulator FDIC; President Biden appoints record number of women and people of color as federal judges; young Americans are excited to vote in 2024; guaranteed income programs may help maternal health outcomes; and more.

The Difference a Guaranteed Income Makes: ‘I’ve Been Sleeping Better. I’ve Been Eating Better.’

Front and Center is a groundbreaking series created in partnership with the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which aims to put front and center the voices of Black women who are affected most by the often-abstract policies debated at the national level.

“This is my first month being a part of Magnolia Mother’s Trust and it has already made a huge difference physically and emotionally. … I’ve been sleeping better. I’ve been eating better.

“To the politicians who say programs like the Magnolia Mother’s Trust shouldn’t be expanded because it’ll stop families from working, I want to say that there are people who are working, who want to better themselves, who are trying to move out of the unsafe apartment complex that they’re in, or start a business. These programs help with that.”

Front and Center: ‘We Need More Resources as Single Moms to Take Care of Kids’

Front and Center is a groundbreaking series created in partnership with the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which aims to put front and center the voices of Black women who are affected most by the often-abstract policies debated at the national level.

Yamiracle first shared her story with Ms. in 2022. While she was receiving funds through the Magnolia Mother’s Trust program, she was able to pay off debt and put a down payment on a car, but is struggling to navigate receiving any benefits from the traditional social safety net.

“Programs like the Magnolia Mother’s Trust don’t make people lazy—they make us feel like we have people who understand where we’re coming from and what it’s like to be a single mom trying to raise and take good care of our children.”

Front and Center: ‘We’re Working and Making Money, It’s Still Not Enough. Our Kids Are Going Without.’

Front and Center is a groundbreaking series created in partnership with the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which aims to put front and center the voices of Black women who are affected most by the often-abstract policies debated at the national level.

“The last time I applied for SNAP, they told me I made too much to qualify. So, I’m not making enough at work to be able to care for my people, and at the same time I can’t get food stamps? It doesn’t make any sense. … And what we do bring home goes toward rent. And just like the Rental Assistance Program, as soon as I’m making a little bit more money—boom, I’m paying the full amount of rent. So how can we ever save? How can we ever do better for ourselves?”

Single Moms Need Financial Support: ‘The Money We Receive Isn’t Enough to Cover Everything’

Front and Center is a groundbreaking series created in partnership with the Magnolia Mother’s Trust (MMT), which aims to put front and center the voices of Black women who are affected most by the often-abstract policies debated at the national level.

Catrina first shared her story with Ms. in 2022. Since she stopped receiving funds through the Magnolia Mother’s Trust program, she’s now on disability for ongoing health issues, but hopes to one day return to the job she loves caring for the elderly.

“The government thinks that the money we receive through disability is enough to cover everything, but it honestly isn’t. … I’m number one for believing that able-bodied people need to work. When I was a full able-bodied person, even though I had health issues, I still got up six to seven days a week and worked anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day. I worked my butt off. But right now, I’m not able to work.”

Front and Center: Two Years Since Receiving a Guaranteed Income, Sequaya Says the Investment Still Helps Her Family ‘Weather the Storm’

Front and Center is a groundbreaking series published by Ms. and created in partnership with the Magnolia Mother’s Trust (MMT), which aims to put front and center the voices of Black women who are affected most by the often-abstract policies currently debated at the national level. Sequaya first shared her story with Ms. in 2021 after receiving a year of guaranteed income, no strings attached. We checked in with her recently to see how she’s doing.

“I worked the entire time I had MMT. Most of the 2020 cohort did. You have to keep going because MMT is going to end, we’re not receiving it for a lifetime. Politicians could be focusing on so much more than worrying about whether or not someone’s being lazy. … One of my biggest principles before I had children was I never wanted to rely on government systems. But then you have kids and have to be an adult. Reality hits and you have no choice.”

In Series ‘Front and Center,’ Moms Share How Guaranteed Income Changed Their Lives

Back for its third year, Front and Center is a groundbreaking Ms. series that offers first-person accounts of Black mothers living in Jackson, Miss., receiving a guaranteed income. First launched in 2018, the Magnolia Mother’s Trust is about to enter its fifth cohort, bringing the number of moms served to more than 400 and making it the longest-running guaranteed income program in the country. Across the country, guaranteed income pilots like MMT are finding that recipients are overwhelmingly using their payments for basic needs like groceries, housing and transportation.

Beginning tomorrow, then twice monthly, you’ll hear directly from MMT moms on how the year of guaranteed income has impacted their life. We’ll hear from MMT alumni, as well as women in the current cohort, who will share their goals for the year and hopes for their future.

A New Vision for Ending Childhood Poverty

As head of The Bridge Project, a program that supports babies living in poverty by giving their mothers unconditional cash, my goal is to end child poverty in New York and beyond. The Bridge Project believes this is not only a moral imperative, but an economic one.

TBP’s unique approach gives expecting mothers a one-time prenatal stipend followed by cash payments of up to $1,000 per month for three years to eradicate childhood poverty and improve child development outcomes. Many people asking us how we are ensuring people are doing the “right” thing with their money. To us, there is no right thing—other than a mother being able to decide what’s right for her baby and spend her money accordingly.