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(Associated Press) (Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Madison Czopek
By Madison Czopek January 12, 2024

No, a California city is not giving all transgender residents $900 a month

If Your Time is short

  • In 2023, the city government of Palm Springs, California, and two nonprofit organizations launched a small pilot, described as a "universal basic income" program, that provides eligible residents with $800 per month for 18 months. 

  • To qualify, Palm Springs residents had to make less than $16,600 a year and be a past or present client of DAP Health or Queer Works, two groups that provide services to LGBTQ+ people, but do not exclusively serve LGBTQ+ or transgender populations. 

  • A pilot program spokesperson told PolitiFact the claim is not accurate. He said there were no requirements about age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or other demographic qualifications for the 30 chosen universal basic income recipients. 

  • How does PolitiFact decide our ratings? Learn more here.

An Instagram video misrepresented the reach of a Palm Springs, California, pilot program that aims to supplement some citizens’ incomes.

"So apparently, they giving (transgender people) a monthly payment of $900," claimed the man in a Jan. 2 video. He was superimposed over a screenshot of a different social media post. 

"Transgender residents to receive a monthly payment of $900," the screenshot read along with text that cut off midsentence: "Palm Springs moves to pay transgender, non-binary residents. According to Fox News, A California city is planning to give universal basic income…"

Near the end of the video, the man put on a wig as if he might adopt a transgender identity to receive the payments.

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

While some transgender people could qualify for this small pilot program, it is not limited to transgender people and so far is available only to 30 people.

The Instagram post in the background of the video was first shared on April 6, 2022. It referenced the Palm Springs City Council’s March 2022 approval for $200,000 requested by two nonprofit organizations — DAP Health and Queer Works — that work with people in LGBTQ+ communities but do not exclusively serve those populations.

The funds were intended "to support the initial research and program design of a guaranteed income pilot program," that aimed to "provide direct financial assistance to marginalized local individuals in need for a likely period of 18 months," according to a press release from DAP Health.  

DAP Health describes itself as the region’s "primary not-for-profit resource for those living with, affected by, or at-risk for HIV or AIDS." Queer Works’ goal, DAP Health’s press release said, is to reduce "disparities faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community in Southern California." 

Although some news coverage misconstrued it, the City Council’s initial funding approval was so DAP Health and Queer Works could research and design a pilot program proposal. 

Since then, the city — partnered with the nonprofit organizations — launched a small universal basic income pilot program. Palm Springs provided $500,000 for the program, the local newspaper Desert Sun reported. Program applications were accepted beginning in March 2023

The pilot is now providing 30 eligible people with $800 per month for 18 months, a program spokesperson told PolitiFact. The post’s claim about the monthly amount is off by $100.

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Queer Works’ webpage about the pilot said the organization was "encouraging the transgender and non-binary community to apply," but the program was not exclusively available to transgender people, as the post claimed. 

Some of the misconceptions appeared to be tied to early news coverage about the research for the pilot proposal, which incorrectly reported that the city was, for example, giving out payments to people "solely for identifying as transgender or nonbinary." The organizations behind the pilot said early on that they "intended to prioritize support for local individuals who are transgender and nonbinary."

But the pilot program’s spokesperson said there were no eligibility requirements about gender identity, sexual orientation, age, race or other demographic qualifications. 

To qualify for the pilot program, a person had to: 

  • Be a resident of Palm Springs.

  • Make less than $16,600 a year. 

  • Be a past or present client of DAP Health and/or Queer Works.

The program’s organizers noted that these parameters could include homeless people who primarily live in Palm Springs, for example. Recipients had to agree to participate in the pilot program’s research, including by completing monthly surveys, according to the Queer Works website.  

Queer Works’ website said 30 recipients were chosen on March 30. A final report on the program is expected in winter 2024

Program participation is anonymous, so information about whether most recipients were transgender or nonbinary is not yet available. 

Our ruling

An Instagram post claimed Palm Springs, California, is giving transgender people monthly payments of $900.

Palm Springs is not giving all transgender residents monthly payments solely because of their gender identity.

The city launched a 2023 universal basic income pilot program that provides $800 — not $900 — monthly payments to 30 eligible recipients, but the program was not exclusively available to transgender people. It was open to any Palm Springs residents making less than $16,600 a year who were past or present clients of two nonprofit organizations who helped launch the program. Those organizations encouraged transgender and nonbinary residents to apply but did not limit participation to those populations. 

This claim contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.

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More by Madison Czopek

No, a California city is not giving all transgender residents $900 a month

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