Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia

COVID-19 Community Resource Guide for Georgia’s Second Congressional District

Governor Kemp Issues Shelter in Place Order

 

COVID-19

Resource Guide for Georgia’s Second Congressional District

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A Message from Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.

Dear Friend,

            The news of the coronavirus outbreak in Georgia is concerning to all of us and finding the right information can be difficult. In this Resource Guide, I have compiled a number of resources available to Georgians impacted by the recent COVID-19 outbreak. I have included information for business owners and workers who may experience difficulties in the days and weeks ahead. Please note that this is a general resource guide and the information within is not exhaustive. This guide is a compilation of existing federal, state, and county resources and is not intended to be the sole resource for those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

            Because the situation is evolving, please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) for additional assistance. I am continuing to monitor the situation of the COVID-19 outbreak in our district and all of Georgia. As we get more information, my staff will keep this resource guide updated.

            The best way to protect yourself and your family is to practice SOCIAL DISTANCING. Work from home if your job allows it and only go out for essential trips such as to the grocery store or pharmacy. Limit yourself to only seeing the people in your household. Additionally, make sure you are practicing good hygiene habits. Wash your hands often and thoroughly, don’t touch your face, cough into your elbow, and give yourself distance from people who are sick. If you think you are sick, stay home and call your doctor’s office or the Georgia COVID-19 Hotline (844) 442-2681 first. If someone in your household is sick, keep your distance from them and clean high touch surfaces often. I share your concern about the availability and ease of testing. As frustrating as it may be to not know if your illness is from coronavirus or not, testing would not change how most of us handle the symptoms. It may, however, change when you are able to return to work. And, of course, if you are a person at high risk or live with a person at high risk, the knowledge can help you be extra vigilant for worsening symptoms. Again, call your doctor or the Georgia COVID-19 Hotline (844) 442-2681 if you are concerned—do not just walk into a medical facility without talking to a healthcare professional for the safety of others.

            You can call my office if you have problems with a federal agency and need additional assistance. My staff and I are here to help.

                          Sincerely,

                          Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.

 

Table of Contents                                         

Quick Guide                                                                                                                                   
Resources for Individuals                                                                                                             
Stimulus Checks                                                                                                                        
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)                                                              
Resources for Workers and Businesses                                                                                       
Unemployment Insurance                                                                                                         
Employer and Worker Assistance                                                                                             
Assistance for Businesses                                                                                                        
Resources for Farmers                                                                                                                
H-2A Visa Program                                                                                                               
Georgia Department of Agriculture                                                                                       
USDA Farm Service Agency                                                                                                 
USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service                                                                     
Resources for Homeowners and Renters                                                                                  
Information for Students                                                                                                            
Assistance for Places of Worship and Nonprofit Organizations                                             
Information by County                                                                                                               
Albany-Dougherty County                                                                                                      
Baker County                                                                                                                           
Calhoun County                                                                                                                       
Chattahoochee County                                                                                                             
Clay County                                                                                                                             
Crawford County                                                                                                                     
Crisp County                                                                                                                            
Decatur County                                                                                                                    
Dooly County                                                                                                                       
Early County                                                                                                                        
Grady County                                                                                                                       
Lee County                                                                                                                           
Macon-Bibb County                                                                                                             
Macon County                                                                                                                      
Marion County                                                                                                                       
Miller County                                                                                                                        
Mitchell County                                                                                                                    
Muscogee County                                                                                                                 
Peach County                                                                                                                         
Quitman County                                                                                                                     
Randolph County                                                                                                                   
Schley County                                                                                                                        
Seminole County                                                                                                                    
Stewart County                                                                                                                       
Sumter County                                                                                                                        
Talbot County                                                                                                                         
Taylor County                                                                                                                         
Terrell County                                                                                                                         
Webster County                                                                   
                                                    

Quick Guide

COVID-19: State Services in Georgia

Your government is open and working for you, but it’s not business as usual.

Many state organizations are involved in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and are working on related efforts or have made temporary changes during this serious health emergency. Here’s what you should know about the state’s most-accessed services.

https://pilot.georgia.gov/covid-19-state-services-georgia

For an immediate, life-threatening emergency, call 911

What to do if you are sick: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

Georgia Department of Public Health (COVID-19): https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus

State of Georgia COVID-19 Hotline: (844) 442-2681

Phoebe Putney COVID-19 Hotline (Albany): (229) 312-1919; https://www.phoebehealth.com

Piedmont Healthcare (Columbus Regional) COVID-19 Hotline: (866) 460-1119; https://www.piedmont.org/patients-visitors/coronavirus

Navicent Health COVID-19 (Macon): https://www.piedmont.org/patients-visitors/coronavirus

Children’s Hospital of Atlanta COVID-19 Hotline: (404) 785-7955; http://choa.org/covid19

Peachcare (COVID-19 Health Care Coverage): https://www.pshpgeorgia.com/members/medicaid/resources/member-coronavirus-information.html

Georgia Department of Education (Schools): https://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

Georgia Department of Labor (Unemployment Insurance): https://dol.georgia.gov/unemployment-benefits

Office of Governor Brian Kemp: https://gov.georgia.gov/

 

Resources for Individuals

The CARES ACT created two new programs to help get money into people’s pockets now. The first program is Recovery Rebates, a direct payment of $1,200 to each adult and $500 per child. The second is a new Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program that increases unemployment benefits by a taxable $600 per week and expands eligibility for unemployment to include people who are self-employed, independent contractors, and “gig economy” workers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers. This is a $260 billion investment in Unemployment Insurance benefits to match the average paycheck of laid-off or furloughed workers. These increased payments will run until July 31, 2020. This bill also provides an additional $15.5 billion in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

 

Stimulus Checks

Direct to individuals administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (for more information, please visit www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Payment Amount

  • This will provide a direct payment to people, including Social Security beneficiaries (retirement, disability, survivor) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients.
  • The amount of the rebate depends on family size. The payment is $1,200 for each adult individual ($2,400 for joint filers), and $500 per qualifying child under age 17.
  • This payment will be reduced by 5% for all income above $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of households, and $150,000 for joint filers.
  • It phases out completely at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.

Payment Delivery

  • The payment will be based on your federal income tax return filed in 2019 or 2018. If you did not file your taxes in either of those years, your you may need to file a simplified tax return. More details can be found at: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
  • Rebates will be delivered automatically—by the IRS—to most Americans who file individual federal income tax returns.
  • For people who filed a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019, payments will be sent using either electronic deposit or address information already on file with the IRS. The IRS will provide instructions for people without that information on file here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Proof of identity
  • You are a citizen of the United States or have a certain legal alien status
  • You provide all required documents as proof of the household’s situation
  • You and/or other household members comply with work requirements and provide proof of income.
  • The household’s monthly does not exceed the income limits based on the number of people living in the household
  • The rent or mortgage payment, utility bills, and in some cases medical, childcare and child support expenses are considered in the eligibility determination process if proof of these expenses are provided.
  • Social Security numbers for persons applying for benefits
  • Medical bills for persons age 60 and older and/or disabled

Benefits:

The amount of benefits your household received depends upon the number of individuals in your household, the amount of household income and the amount of deductions used in the budgeting process.

How to Apply:

To apply for benefits, the head of household, a household member, or authorized person representing the household may complete an application for assistance by completing the following:

Step One:

  • Fill out an application online by visiting gateway.ga.gov. For those without access to online resources, call 877-423-4746 to request for an application to be mailed to you.

Step Two:

  • Gather the documents you will need to verify the information in your application. (i.e. driver’s license, work or school I.D., social security number, alien status, wages, self-employment) full list provided on website.

Step Three:

  • After your application is filed, you or a member of your household must participate in a phone interview conducted by a case manager at DFCS. The person who is interviewed must know about your household situation and prepared to answer related questions. Please provide a valid telephone number for contact purposes. 

For more information on SNAP and other services available through the Georgia Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), visit their website at https://dfcs.georgia.gov/food-stamps, contact them by phone at (877) 423-4746 or by email at customer_services_dfcs@dhs.ga.gov

SNAP participants may also meet the income eligibility guidelines for nutrition services through the Women, Infants & Children Program (WIC) offered by the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services.

 

Resources for Workers and Businesses

Unemployment Insurance

On March 12, 2020 the U.S. Department of Labor announced new guidance outlining flexibilities that states have in administering their unemployment insurance (UI) programs to assist Americans affected by COVID-19 outbreak.

Under the guidance, federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide UI benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where:

1.       An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;

2.       An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and

3.       An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member. In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.

The full press release can be found on the U.S. Department of Labor website at: www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20200312-0

 

Employer and Worker Assistance

The recent COVID-19 response legislation creates two new programs to help Georgians pay their bills during the pandemic. The first program is Recovery Rebates, a direct payment of $1,200 to each adult and $500 per child. The second is a new Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program that increases unemployment benefits by a taxable $600 per week and expands eligibility for unemployment to include people who are self-employed, independent contractors, and “gig economy” workers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers. This is a $260 billion investment in Unemployment Insurance benefits to match the average paycheck of laid-off or furloughed workers.

Recovery Rebates: Direct to individuals administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (for more information, please visit www.irs.gov/coronavirus

  • Payment Amount
    • This will provide a direct payment to people, including Social Security beneficiaries (retirement, disability, survivor) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients.
    • The amount of the rebate depends on family size. The payment is $1,200 for each adult individual ($2,400 for joint filers), and $500 per qualifying child under age 17.
    • This payment will be reduced by 5% for all income above $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of households, and $150,000 for joint filers.
    • It phases out completely at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.
  • Payment Delivery
    • The payment will be based on your federal income tax return filed in 2019 or 2018. If you did not file your taxes in either of those years, your information will be taken from the Social Security Administration. Taxpayers must have Social Security Numbers for themselves and their qualifying children in order to receive rebates.
    • Rebates will be delivered automatically—by the IRS—to most Americans who file individual federal income tax returns.
    • For people who filed a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019, payments will be sent using either electronic deposit or address information already on file with the IRS. The IRS will set up a way to get the payments to people without that information on file.

Expanded Unemployment Assistance: In response to the recent development of COVID-19, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is temporarily suspending in-person requirements for services provided by the agency. In accordance with Governor Kemp’s recommendation, the GDOL is providing online access to unemployment services, partial claim access for employers, and other reemployment services. The number for GDOL is 404-232-3180.

Employers are required to file partial claims on behalf of their employees whenever it is necessary to temporarily reduce work hours or there is no work available for a short period. Any employer found to be in violation of this rule will be required to reimburse GDOL for the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee.

Due to an extremely high volume of unemployment claims filed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, individuals may experience a delay in requesting weekly benefit payments. If you are having difficulty claiming your weekly benefits, your local career center should be able to provide assistance. Please note that you can file a claim online 24 hours per day.

Employer Hotline: 855-436-7365

  • Employment Programs/Services:  404-232-3515

Georgia Office of the Commissioner of Insurance: 404-656-2070; online at www.oci.ga.gov/

 

Assistance for Businesses

The recently passed COVID-19 response legislation, creates several new programs designed to get assistance to small businesses and nonprofits during this crisis. These include the Paycheck Protection Program to help cover the cost of retaining employees, Emergency Economic Injury Grants to get smaller amounts of capital quickly, and the Small Business Debt Relief Program to help with payments on current or potential SBA loans.

Paycheck Protection Program: This program will provide 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven for amounts expended for payroll over certain periods and certain other business expenses.

  • Small businesses and non-profits will be able to apply if they were in business as of February 15, 2020 and the program will remain open for applications until June 30, 2020.
  • Loans under the Paycheck Protection Program may be made up to $10,000,000 amortized over 10 years depending on a particular business’s circumstances.
  • These loans can be taken out from all current SBA 7(a) lenders.  Most local banks are currently SBA 7(a) lenders and many of the ones that are not are quickly joining the program.
  • Contact your banker to inquire into their process.  

The Small Business Administration (SBA) may be able to provide assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Loans Program to businesses that have suffered substantial economic injury in an eligible disaster area. The SBA can provide a loan of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses.

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Export Working Capital Program can help small businesses obtain working capital advances from lenders on export orders, export receivables or letters of credit. SBA’s Senior International Credit Officers can work directly with an impacted company to explain the program and application process.

Disaster Preparedness Planning for your Business: You may contact online at www.ready.gov/business

The Georgia Department of Economic Development has developed a COVID-19 focused page to identify resources and collect information for impacted businesses. 

The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) can work with impacted companies that request an extension on tax filing.

 

Assistance for Nonprofits

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-123) provided some early relief to nonprofits in the form of economic injury disaster loans by the SBA, which is available to all nonprofits, including 501(c)(6)s.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127) included provisions mandating paid sick leave (and tax credits to offset the cost of that paid sick leave, which nonprofits can claim) and expanded unemployment insurance.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-137) includes several provisions that are relevant to the nonprofit sector. Notably:

  • The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program provides federally guaranteed loans to help businesses, including 501(c)(3) nonprofits, cover expenses. These loans can be converted into grants. Churches because as these loans can be used for salaries and certain overhead operating expenses.
  •  
  • Expanded tax incentives for charitable giving, including a $300 “above-the-line” deduction for taxpayers not itemizing contributions, and suspension of income-based limits on cash contributions.

 

Resources for Farmers

USDA Farm Service Agency 

To contact your State Farm Service Agency (FSA) Office, call (706) 546-2266.

To find your local FSA county office: www.farmers.gov/service-center-locator

USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

To contact your State Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Office, call (706) 546-2272.

Georgia Department of Agriculture

For questions relating to the Farm Recovery Block grant, visit http://agr.georgia.gov/farm-recovery.aspx

For updates on COVID-19 impacts on Georgia’s Agriculture infrastructure, visit http://agr.georgia.gov/COVID-19.aspx.

For questions or concerns about COVID-19, call this hotline 1-844-442-2681.

H-2A Visa Program

The Department of Labor and Department of Agriculture are aware of the impact COVID-19 is having on the H-2A Visa program. Both agencies are working together to deliver services to farmers and ranchers while ensuring safety measures are taken to prevent spreading the disease. At this time, H-2A and H-2B certified workers with expiring contracts could be available to switch to a different employer. Additionally, the Mexico Embassy is continuing to process returning H-2A applications of workers who qualify for an interview waiver. The South Africa Embassy is processing H-2A applications as emergency situations. For additional resources related to the H-2A Visa program including, Embassy statuses, steps to participate in the program, and recent H-2A COVID-19 updates, please visit https://www.farmers.gov/manage/h2a.

 

Resources for Homeowners and Renters

 

The CARES Act  provides important protections for millions of people with federally backed mortgages or that receive federal subsidies. The bill provides a 4-month moratorium on evictions to protect renters who are unable to pay their rent. The moratorium applies to properties that receive federal subsidies or assistance, such as public housing, Section 8, USDA rental assistance, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, as well as to properties that have a mortgage issued or guaranteed by a federal agency, including FHA and USDA, or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Additionally, for homeowners with federally backed loans, there will be a foreclosure moratorium for four months and mortgage forbearance for up to a year. This includes a prohibition on fees and additional interest during the term of the forbearance. Multifamily rental property owners with federally backed mortgages will also have access to forbearance for up to 90 days and would be required to comply with requirements to halt evictions and late fees for the duration of the forbearance.

 

Information for Students

The CARES Act includes more than $30 billion in emergency education funding and eliminates income tax on student loan repayment assistance by an employer. A portion of that funding is specifically designated for HBCUs, including those so important to our district. On student loans, this bill pauses payments and suspends debt collection on most federal student loans until September 30, 2020.

 

Assistance for Places of Worship

501(c)(3) non-profits, including churches, are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program for the payroll costs of their business operations. Congressman Bishop worked closely with other Members of Congress to ensure that churches and other 501(C)(3) organizations were eligible for aid.

 

Information by County

Albany-Dougherty County

Baker County

Calhoun County

Chattahoochee County

Clay County

Crawford County

Crisp County

Decatur County

Dooly County

Early County

Grady County

Lee County

Macon-Bibb County

Macon County

Marion County

Miller County

Mitchell County

Muscogee County

Peach County

Randolph County

Quitman County

Schley County

Seminole County

Stewart County

Sumter County

Talbot County

Taylor County

Terrell County

Webster County