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A basic income is a periodic cash payment that is provisionally delivered to all individuals, without any other requirements than that the income recipient has reached an adult age.
Basic income levels should be such that all adult individuals can access basic needs.
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, without means test.
Unconditional: it is paid without a requirement to work or to demonstrate willingness-to-work.
More can be read on BIEN Basic Income Earth Network