What Was the Nixon Family Assistance Plan?

nixon-family-assistance-plan Credit: Oliver Morris/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Family Assistance Plan was a domestic policy measure created by President Richard M. Nixon and his administration. It would have guaranteed an income to families with children provided they met work requirements, but it was not enacted into law.

Nixon proposed the Family Assistance Plan in 1969. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the measure, but the proposal did not make it through the Senate.

The Family Assistance Plan resembled a guaranteed income plan, though Nixon distanced the plan from that term in public statements. The distinction he made was that members of recipient households who were considered employable would have to work or demonstrate they were seeking work, as opposed to their receiving guaranteed benefits without any conditions.

The plan would have provided an annual amount to families with children. Individuals and couples without children would not have been eligible. At the time, a family of four with no other income would have received $1,600 annually. This amount would have been reduced based on any income from work or any state welfare benefits the family was receiving. The program was unique in that it provided some financial support to the working poor, where prior programs had generally eliminated the possibility of aid to those that were employed in any capacity.