Objectives: This roundtable includes the following objectives: 1) equip attendees with general knowledge of UBI/GI, its history, and why social workers should care about it as a policy, 2) highlight some current UBI/GI research, pilots, and programs that social work researchers and practitioners are leading and how they are integrating social justice perspectives into their work, and 3) how social workers scholars can shape and lead in the future terrain of UBI/GI programs and policies. We will specifically discuss and demonstrate how UBI/GI aligns with social work's commitment to advancing social justice and promoting individual and community self-determination (National Association of Social Workers, 2017). Furthermore, the roundtable will explore some of the racist and sexist underpinnings of the U.S. social safety net and the ways UBI/GI policy can advance more equitable economic policy. Concurrently, we will also discuss the need for an ongoing commitment to recognizing and addressing historical and contemporary harms to economically and racially marginalized communities and how UBI/GI is not a cure-all without broader systemic and structural change. Lastly, we will discuss some of the mechanics and implementation challenges to UBI/GI, and how social workers are well equipped to help navigate these challenges. The Panelists will provide examples from their own work and will reserve time for a broader discussion with attendees.
Implications: Support for universal basic income has increased among numerous constituencies across the political spectrum. Social work researchers and practitioners must be not only informed about UBI/GI but should actively engage in the policy debate. We argue that social workers bring unique expertise and perspectives that explicitly recognize the complexity of social problems that vulnerable and marginalized communities face, therefore social workers are often well-positioned to lead in this work. This panel will promote a critical and timely conversation, with the goal to generate broader interest and involvement from social workers.