Georgia’s 1.4 million food stamp recipients will get additional money this month as part of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. In this post, we are going to detail the additional Georgia food stamps benefits due to coronavirus crisis.
In addition, we will detail when you can expect your benefit payments and answer the most frequently asked questions about the government stimulus legislation and what it means for Georgia food stamps beneficiaries.
Changes made to Food Stamps due to coronavirus
Here are the changes that have been made to the food stamps program at the federal level by the United States Department of Agriculture, the federal agency in charge of the food stamps program.
Free Lunch for Kids
The first change comes from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, which was the first stimulus bill passed by Congress in response to coronavirus.
Children who receive free or reduced-price meals at school will still eligible to receive lunch assistance under this provision.
If your child is at home due to school closure, you will still be eligible for lunch assistance if that was what your child was getting at school.
Many local school districts have rolled out plans for meal pick up stations for free lunch for kids. Check with your local school district for more information.
Extended Certification Periods
Georgia also received a waiver allowing it to extend certification (how long before food stamps must be renewed) for those currently on the food assistance program for an additional six months.
This will allow food stamps recipients whose certification is coming up soon more time to renew to better ensure there are no interruptions in service.
This means that if the date for renewing your Georgia food stamps is approaching or your renewal date is here and you are not sure what to do, there is no reason to worry.
Your food stamps benefits will be automatically renewed for another six months.
You should receive notification from the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) regarding this.
Increase in Food Stamps Benefits
USDA will be granting waivers to states to provide them more flexibility with their food stamps program so current food stamps recipients get more help.
This includes allowing states to issue additional food stamps benefits to existing recipients.
This will be based on a public health emergency declaration by the Secretary of Health and Human Services when a state has also issued an emergency or disaster declaration.
As of April 7, 2020, almost all states have declared some sort of public health state of emergency in response to Coronavirus, including the state of Georgia.
As a result, current food stamps recipients will get extra benefits for the month of March and April as explained below.
Changes made to Georgia Food Stamps due to coronavirus
The state of Georgia has been granted a waiver from the federal government to allow all food stamps recipients to get the maximum allotment based on their household size.
If you are currently receiving food stamps as of March 2020, you will receive additional benefits. This increase will bring your March and April benefits amounts up to the maximum for your household size.
The table below shows the maximum food stamps benefits by household size
Food Stamps Maximum Monthly Allotment Based on Household Size
|People in Household||Maximum Monthly Allotment|
|Each additional person||+$146|
What does this mean for my benefits?
Here’s what this means for you. If you are a household of one person and you currently receive say $120 a month in benefits, your benefits for March and April will be increased to $194. This means you will get an extra $74 in benefits per month for the next two months.
Similarly, if you are a household of four and currently receive $400 a month in food stamps benefits, for the months of March and April, you will receive $646. This is an extra $246 per month for the two-month period.
When will additional food stamps be distributed?
March benefits will be distributed in April. You will receive your benefits according to when food stamps are deposited in your state. If you are not sure, check out the Georgia food stamps deposit schedule.
What about April benefits? Are there changes to those amounts?
If you’re already getting benefits in April, you’ll get the maximum amount for your household size on your regular benefit date.
I didn’t apply until April, will I get extra benefits?
You won’t get extra benefits for March if you didn’t apply until April. But, you’ll get the maximum amount for your household size if approved in April.
Other Proposed Food Stamps Changes
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to shut down the country, lawmakers are asking the federal government to take action. For the Food Stamps Program, changes need to be made to make the program more flexible to meet the needs of people that are impacted by the pandemic.
The following proposals are being discussed with the federal government:
Governors pushing for Online Shopping with Food Stamps
In addition to the changes mentioned above, Governors around the country and food security activists are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make the food stamps program more flexible to deal with the food crisis the pandemic has caused.
This is particularly important at a time when so many people are losing their jobs or are under “stay-at-home” orders. That’s because they cannot buy all the food they need.
One of the most pressing requests is for the government to allow food stamps recipients to use their EBT benefits to buy groceries online for delivery.
Specifically, they are urging the federal government to expand the EBT Online Purchasing Pilot. The program originally launched in New York and Washington state, allows people to use their EBT cards to order groceries online.
Currently, Amazon and Walmart now accept SNAP payments online in Iowa, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington, and New York, where ShopRite also accepts the payments.
In Alabama, Wright’s Markets, Inc. accepts online payments.
A Proposal to use EBT Cards at Restaurants
With long lines and many empty shelves at many grocery stores around the country, some states are asking the federal government for a federal waiver that would allow SNAP recipients to use their EBT cards to buy hot meals at restaurants.
This will not only give low-income families more food options, but the waiver would also help restaurants that have been ordered to close their dining rooms.
Georgia Coronavirus Food Stamps
We hope this guide on additional Georgia food stamps due to coronavirus helpful to you. If you have additional questions about additional Georgia food stamps benefits, please leave those in the comments section below.
In addition, if you have been impacted by COVID-19, be sure to check out our Coronavirus Resources: