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$350 relief checks in Georgia: Who qualifies and when are the payments?

Governor Brian Kemp will be using covid-19 fund to give a cheque to millions of residents though cuts to the welfare state means many will be no better off.

Update:
Governor Brian Kemp will be using covid-19 fund to give a cheque to millions of residents though cuts to the welfare state means many will be no better off.
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Beginning in September, around 3 million Georgians can expect a cheque of $350 to arrive in their bank accounts. This is because Governor Brian Kemp has released up to $1.2 billion in covid-19 aid to send people funds to deal with inflation. While some could see this as a bit of a bung considering upcoming gubernatorial elections in November, the money will be happily received by many living in one of the most serious economic periods in the last three decades.

“This assistance will help some of Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens cope with the continued negative economic impact of the covid-19 public health emergency and 40-year-high inflation caused by disastrous policies that were implemented by the Biden administration,” Kemp’s office said in a statement.

The cheques will be sent to Georgians who benefit from Medicaid, subsidized child health insurance, food stamps or cash welfare assistance.

The move to send out payments has drawn the ire of Democratic politicians in the state. Kemp has attacked President Joe Biden’s economic plan as well as the high rate of inflation in the US at present. In a tweet from early August, he said that “Runaway spending & the disastrous policies of the Biden Administration have led to 40-year-high inflation,” but handing out the billions in state support could be argued to contribute to this.

While it seems the rhetoric and decisions would be in contradiction to each other, the stripping of post-pandemic support means the majority of people who need the money most will not be increasing their spending power at all; the money will be spent on bare necessities.

The money will be sent out automatically but residents should update their information on a state website that manages health and welfare benefits. It is only available for those who enrolled in a programme before July 31.

What has happened to the welfare state in Georgia since May?

The ending of Georgia’s state of emergency in May 2022 ended a monthly boost in food stamp benefits. This deprived more than three-quarters of a million people the support when inflation was already high. This group, representing a quarter of those receiving the check, will actually be in a worse situation compared to the one if the food stamp payments continued.

“The reality is Brian Kemp refuses to expand Medicaid, has cut food assistance amid rising prices and failed to fully deploy federal rental assistance, leaving too many Georgians evicted,” said Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams spokesperson in a statement.

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