Some Georgians could get one-time $350 aid checks, Kemp announces

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

An estimated 3 million residents could receive checks from more than $1 billion in leftover money from the American Rescue Plan

Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Monday that he is doling out cash payments totaling more than $1 billion to some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Kemp is using federal aid that’s leftover from the American Rescue Plan to pay for checks of $350 per person enrolled in some of the state’s major benefits programs. According to the governor’s office those programs include: Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF.

The governor’s office estimates this move could benefit approximately 3 million Georgia residents. More than one person in each household could qualify for the payments.

Kemp, who is up for re-election in November, publicly opposed the COVID relief package Democrats in Congress approved in March 2021. However, under state law, the governor decides how the federal money is spent.

In a video message accompanying the announcement, Kemp and the first lady, Marty Kemp, said that they hope families will use these funds to buy groceries, pay for gas, or offset childcare or health care costs.

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

Alex Floyd, a spokesman for the campaign of his opponent, Stacey Abrams, said Kemp hasn’t done enough to expand access to public health programs or fully spend federal rental assistance money for those in need.

“Now, in the middle of a reelection campaign, he’s taking money to stage more political gimmicks,” Floyd said.

The Department of Human Services reported that from January to June, the number of people applying for some of the programs, namely food stamps and welfare, appeared to be consistent with the prior year.

In order to be eligible for the one-time payment, a Georgia resident must have been enrolled in one of those programs as of July 31. If a resident is enrolled in more than one program, they will only receive one cash payment.

The Department of Human Services will be contacting Georgia residents who are eligible via the state’s online portal for benefits.