A Basic Income is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement.
That is, Basic Income has the following five characeristics:
- Periodic: it is paid at regular intervals (for example every month), not as a one-off grant.
- Cash payment: it is paid in an appropriate medium of exchange, allowing those who receive it to decide what they spend it on. It is not, therefore, paid either in kind (such as food or services) or in vouchers dedicated to a specific use.
- Individual: it is paid on an individual basis—and not, for instance, to households.
- Universal: it is paid to all.
- Unconditional: it is paid without means test and without a requirement to work or to demonstrate willingness-to-work.
A wide variety of Basic Income proposals are circulating today. They differ along many other dimensions, for instance, the amounts of the Basic Income, the source of funding, the nature and size of reductions in other transfers that might accompany it, and so on.
BIEN is a charitable organization dedicated to its educational role, and therefore cannot endorse any particular detailed proposal. It is open to people and affiliated organisation who favour different proposals as long as they conform to BIEN’s definition of Basic Income.