Georgia to Use Federal Pandemic Funds to Give Residents Cash Payments

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
August 16, 2022 Updated: August 16, 2022

Georgia residents who receive government assistance are now eligible for cash payments of up to $350, officials announced on Aug. 15.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, said he made the decision to dedicate more than $1 billion in pandemic funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, which Democrats passed and President Joe Biden signed into law, to the payments.

Georgia residents who receive assistance from Medicaid, the food stamp program, and/or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, can receive up to $350.

Kemp said in a video message that the money will help people struggling due to inflation and “the harmful effects of President Biden’s economic agenda.”

“We will continue identifying ways to put money back into the pockets of hardworking Georgians,” he added.

Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp said the couple hopes families will use the money to pay for groceries, gas, childcare, and job training.

Eligibility hinges on having been enrolled in at least one of the programs by July 31. Even if they’re enrolled in multiple programs, they’ll only get one payment.

Those who are eligible will receive the one-time payments automatically, beginning in mid-September, according to the Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Family & Children Services.

Officials there advise people to log in to their online accounts and make sure their information is current.

To receive the quickest delivery of the payment, it is recommended to select “email” as the contact preference in the online account.

Approximately 3 million residents could get payments under the new initiative.

Criticism

Kemp narrowly edged Democrat Stacey Abrams in the 2018 election, winning by 1.4 percent of the vote. After beating former U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) in a primary earlier this year, Kemp and Abrams are set up for a rematch in November.

Ahead of the election, and in addition to the new program, Kemp has suspended Georgia’s gas tax, given income tax rebates, and proposed using $2 billion in surplus for more rebates.

Abrams on Tuesday highlighted how Kemp opposed the American Rescue Plan, and called on people to vote for her because she “has a plan to put cash in pockets of our families AND make the investments our communities desperately need—all without raising taxes.”

She also said Kemp is to blame for inflation and soaring rents.

Alex Floyd, an Abrams campaign spokesman, told news outlets that Kemp’s announcements won’t be enough to earn him a second term.

“Kemp’s PR stunt is too little, too late,” he said.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.