Session: Universal Basic Income: An Imperative Conversation for Social Workers (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

260 Universal Basic Income: An Imperative Conversation for Social Workers

Saturday, January 14, 2023: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Hospitality 4 - Room 428, 4th Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Inequality, Poverty, and Social Welfare Policy
Dylan Bellisle, PhD, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Leah Hamilton, PhD, Appalachian State University, Anu Manchikanti Gomez, PhD, University of California, Berkeley, Michael Lewis, PhD, Hunter College, Stacy Elliott, MSW, University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Brittany Pope, MSW, Bread for the City
Background: Over the past few years, interest in universal basic income and guaranteed income (UBI/GI) has grown, and politicians and policymakers promote it as a policy solution to material deprivation, precarious work, and income volatility, unemployment, and racial income inequality (Hamilton & Martin-West, 2019; Klein, 2020). The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased calls for monthly payments to address the material needs of millions who have lost income due to job loss and underemployment (Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, 2021; Stahl & MacEachen, 2020). While these are worthwhile goals, how are social workers navigating and contributing to a political and policy field that is often dominated by economists and politicians? Importantly, in what ways can UBI/GI advance social work's mission to address social, economic, and racial inequality? Furthermore, how can social work researchers integrate the history, politics, and policy impact of UBI/GI into their scholarship? This roundtable brings together a diverse group of social work scholars and practitioners to answer these questions.

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.

See more of: Roundtables