Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia

FY2022 House Appropriations Requests

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

A PDF version of the guide below can be found here.

 

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

 

 

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 several 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.

        As someone who has received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, I highly encourage you to protect yourself and your family by registering to receive your COVID-19 vaccine and by continuing to practice the prevention guidelines set by the CDC. 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 can 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.

Member of Congress

 

 

Quick Guide 

  • 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://georgia.gov/covid-19-state-services-georgia

  • 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): 

http://navicenthealth.org

  • Children’s Hospital of Atlanta COVID-19 Hotline: (404) 785-7955;

http://choa.org/covid19


 

Resources for Individuals 

Economic Impact Payments
 

The American Rescue Plan provides an additional direct payment of $1,400 per person, in addition to $1,400 per dependent. The income thresholds are the same as the December legislation to determine which individuals receive the full $1,400 payment before the phase-out begins. Single filers with incomes up to $75,000, head of household filers with incomes up to $112,500, and joint filers with incomes up to $150,000 will receive the full payment of $1,400.

  • For purposes of this credit, a dependent includes both children and non-child dependents. This includes college students claimed as a dependent.   

  • 4.6 million households in Georgia are estimated to be eligible for the third round of stimulus payments. This totals nearly $12.5 billion in payments to Georgians. 

  • Payments are expected to begin being made on March 17. The payment will be based on your federal income tax return filed in 2019 or 2020. More details can be found at www.irs.gov/coronavirus  and at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/more-details-about-the-third-round-of-economic-impact-payments 

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
 

The American Rescue Plan expands the eligibility and the amount of the earned income tax credit for taxpayers with no qualifying children for 2021. In particular, the minimum age to claim the childless EITC is reduced from 25 to 19 (except for certain full-time students) and the upper age limit for the childless EITC is eliminated. 

  • It also raises the maximum EITC for workers without children from roughly $530 to roughly $1,500, and the income cap for these adults to qualify from about $16,000 to at least $21,000.

  • Guidance on claiming the credit is not yet available but will likely be claimed when you file 2021 tax returns.
     

Child Tax Credit (CTC)
 

The American Rescue Plan makes the CTC fully refundable for 2021 and increases the amount to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6). The provision also increases the age of qualifying children by one year for 2021, such that 17-year-olds qualify for the credit.

  • For 2021, the excess of the child tax credit (i.e., the additional $1,000 or $1,600 per-child in excess of the present-law $2,000 per-child credit) is reduced by $50 for every $1000 in modified adjusted gross income in excess of $150,000 for joint filers.
  • The expanded CTC will benefit 2.2 million children in Georgia under the age of 18 and lift 171,000 children out of poverty.  
  • A stunning 94.4% of children in GA-02 will gain from expanded and improved Child Tax Credit —153,800 children.
  • The average benefit for 46,200 households is $3,400.
  • The expanded and improved Child Tax Credit lifts 15,300 children in GA-02 out of poverty.
  • Because of the larger benefit for the youngest, 6,200 kids under the age of six are raised out of poverty.
  • Families with children in poverty will receive $5,300 on average.  
  • It is estimated that  7,800 children in GA-02 will be moved out of deep poverty.

The United States Department of the Treasury also launched an online guide to help you determine which tool you should use for Advance Payments of the Child Tax Credit.
You can also use the tools in the linked text above to:

  • Check eligibility for the child Tax Credit
  • Register -Non filer sign up
  • Verify your ID
  • Unenroll from advance payments
  • Manage Bank Account Information
  • View Your payment History
  • Update your mailing address
  • Report updates that could affect payment amounts.

Recognizing and Reporting COVID Scams

During the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers may try to take advantage of you. They might get in touch by phone, email, postal mail, text, or social media. Protect your money and your identity. Don't share personal information like your bank account number, Social Security number, or date of birth.

Below is a list of resources gathered to help you recognize and report a COVID vaccine scam and other types of coronavirus scams.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The American Rescue Plan extends the 15% increase in SNAP benefits (roughly $21 per person per month) through September 30, 2021.

  • Southwest Georgia has the highest concentration of people collecting SNAP benefits in the state. Terrell, Clay, Decatur, Early, and Randolph counties have the highest SNAP recipients in the state.
     

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 income 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 receives 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 that an application 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 the 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 be 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. 

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)

The American Rescue Plan extends P-EBT benefits through the duration of the public health emergency. The Georgia Division of Family & Children Services in partnership with the Georgia Department of Education operates the P-EBT program.

Families who are currently receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) do not need to apply for P-EBT benefits. Eligible SNAP recipients will receive a P-EBT benefit preloaded on their existing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.

P-EBT is also available to families not currently receiving SNAP but approved for the free or reduced school lunch program. These families will need to submit a formal application to receive P-EBT benefits. Once the application is approved, an EBT card will be mailed to the family within three (3) to four (4) weeks. The family will receive information with their P-EBT card in the mail explaining how to activate and use their P-EBT card.

The application cycle for the FY 2020-2021 School Year has closed, but families can learn more about the program and will be able to apply for the FY 2021-2022 School Year at the link below once the application window for next year has opened.

For more information, visit https://dfcs.georgia.gov/pandemic-electronic-benefit-transfer
 

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The American Rescue Plan establishes a $1 billion Pandemic Emergency Fund to provide much-needed resources to states to help families with the lowest incomes meet their added expenses or debt due to the pandemic.

  • States are provided with flexibility in determining how to allocate these funds, and we do not yet know how Georgia will use the funds.  

  • TANF currently benefits nearly 20,000 people in Georgia. 

  • Administered by the Division of Family and Children Services. Apply at dfcs.georgia.gov 

For additional questions and inquiries about SNAP,P-EBT, and TANF, contact customer_services_dfcs@dhs.ga.gov .

Funeral Expenses

The American Rescue Plan directs FEMA to reimburse individuals and households for COVID-19-related funeral expenses at 100% of the costs.

Who can apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance?

You may qualify if:

  • You are a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who paid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020, and

  • The funeral expenses were for an individual whose death in the United States, territories or the District of Columbia, may have been caused by or was likely the result of COVID-19.

  • A minor child cannot apply for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance on behalf of an adult who is not a U.S. citizen.

How to apply for assistance?

  • Upload to theirDisasterAssistance.govaccount

  • Fax documents

  • Mail documents

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance will assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation. Any receipts received for expenses that are not related to funeral services will not be determined eligible expenses. Expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation typically include, but are not limited to:

  • Transportation for up to two individuals to identify the deceased individual

  • Transfer of remains

  • Casket or urn

  • Burial plot or cremation niche

  • Marker or headstone

  • Clergy or officiant services

  • Arrangement of the funeral ceremony

  • Use of funeral home equipment or staff

  • Cremation or interment costs

  • Costs associated with producing and certifying multiple death certificates

This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.

Additional expenses mandated by any applicable local or state government laws or ordinances: COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

 

Vaccines / Virus Mitigation 

COVID-19 has devastated our nation, but with widespread vaccinations and by following the CDC COVID-19 guidelines we can crush the virus, restart the economy, and put this pandemic behind us. The vaccines are safe and effective and reduce the risk of serious complications from COVID-19. I strongly urge everyone (vaccinated/unvaccinated) to continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • The CDC’s general COVID-19 prevention guidelines can be found here. 

  • The CDC’s COVID-19 prevention guidelines for vaccinated individuals can be found here.

 

Vaccine Distribution
 

The American Rescue plan provides $7.5 billion in CDC funding for vaccine distribution – including the vaccine clinics proposed by the Biden administration. President Biden has directed states to open vaccine appointments for anyone that wants the vaccine no later than May 1, 2021. Please be advised that while there may be some side effects from the vaccine, they are not as serious as contracting COVID-19.

Georgia is now vaccinating:

  • Healthcare workers (physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, EMS personnel, environmental services, etc.)

  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities

  • Adults aged 55 and older, and caregivers

  • Law enforcement, firefighters, first responders

  • Educators and staff (Pre-K, K-12, DECAL licensed or exempt child care programs)

  • Parents of children with complex medical conditions who are at high risk for COVID complications

  • Individuals aged 16 years* and older with certain medical conditions that increase their risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

  • Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers

  • Intellectual Disability Is a disability characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 22.

  • A developmental disability is a physical or mental impairment that happens before the age of 22, is expected to last a lifetime, and impacts at least three activities of daily living. Activities of daily living include self-care; receptive and expressive language; learning; mobility; self-direction; capacity for independent living; and economic self-sufficiency


Vaccine Insurance Coverage 

 

The American Rescue Plan requires Medicaid coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment without beneficiary cost-sharing with vaccines matched at a 100 percent federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP). It also gives states the option to provide coverage to the uninsured for COVID-19 vaccines and treatment without cost-sharing at 100 percent FMAP.
 

Mental Health
 

The need for accessible mental health and substance use disorder treatment has skyrocketed during the pandemic. The American Rescue Plan includes $3.88 billion to expand on those

investments made in the year-end 2020 package to increase the availability of treatment.

Rural Health Care

The American Rescue Plan provides $500 million for emergency, targeted community facility grants for health and nutritional-related infrastructure and distribution critical to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in rural areas.  



 

Resources for Workers and Businesses

Unemployment

The American Rescue Plan extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides unemployment benefits to some self-employed and pandemic-affected individuals who do not qualify for regular state unemployment benefits, through August 29, 2021. It also increases the total number of weeks of benefits available to individuals who are not able to return to work safely from 50 to 74.

  • Extends the federal supplemental unemployment benefit of $300/month through September 6, 2021. 

  • Provides a tax exemption for up to $10,200 for unemployment benefits. 

  • 253,000 people in Georgia would lose pandemic benefits between March 15 and April 11 without the American Rescue Plan.

  • By extending PUA and PEUC and the $300 UI supplement, Georgia receives an estimated $81 million per week in unemployment benefits.  

 For additional information on unemployment assistance visit https://dol.georgia.gov  and https://dol.georgia.gov/online-services ,or call the numbers listed below: 

  • Commissioner's Office:  404-232-7300

  • Unemployment Insurance (UI):  404-232-3001

***Due to the high volume of claims being submitted, the lines may be busy**

Paid Sick Leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19, including two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

  • The American Rescue Plan extends the paid sick leave provisions through September 30, 2021. 

  • It also increases the tax credit for employers from $10,000 to $12,000 per employee.  

Federal Workers

The American Rescue Plan ensures the safety of the federal workforce by creating an emergency fund to allow paid leave for federal workers who are ill or who have been exposed to COVID-19. The legislation also ensures federal employees who are diagnosed with COVID-19 as a result of their service can receive workers’ compensation benefits and allow their families to receive survivor benefits if their loved one has passed away.
 

Assistance for Businesses

Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) 

The American Rescue Plan reauthorized and provided the Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program with $10 billion in funding. These small business support programs include capital access programs, loan guarantee programs, collateral support programs, loan participation programs, and venture capital programs.

  • These loans can be used by small businesses for start-up costs, working capital, business procurement, franchise fees, equipment, inventory, and the purchase, construction, renovation, or improvements of a business. 

  • The program is administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Please go to the DCA website at www.dca.ga.gov to find a list of approved lenders.

  • There is funding available for technical assistance to ensure very small and underserved businesses have access to legal, accounting, and financial advice in applying for SSBCI loans. 

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

The American Rescue Plan creates a $10,000 EIDL targeted advance that will be available to businesses and nonprofit organizations that previously applied for the original EIDL Advance program. These funds do not need to be repaid. 

  • In order to qualify under this new program, a business must:

    • Be located in a low-income community;

    • Have suffered an economic loss of more than 30%; and

    • Have 300 or fewer employees.

  • Administered by the SBA. Contact your local rep or Atlanta office at 404-331-0100 or https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/ga/atlanta to apply.  

  • For help with applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, call 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. You can also use a text telephone (TTY) by calling 800-877-8339.

The American Rescue Plan also exempts EIDL grants from tax and provides that such exclusion shall not result in a denial of deduction, reduction of tax attributes, or denial of increase in basis by reason of this exclusion from income.
 

Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The American Rescue Plan created a $25 billion program at the SBA offering assistance to restaurants and other food and drinking establishments. $5 billion of this amount is set aside for businesses with less than $500,000 in 2019 annual revenue.

  • Grants are available for up to $10 million per entity and calculated by subtracting 2020 revenue from 2019 revenue. 

  • Grants may be used for a wide variety of expenses, including payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities, supplies, food and beverage expenses, paid sick leave, and operational expenses.

  • Guidance on the application is not yet available, but it will be administered through the SBA. 

On July 2, 2021, the SBA formally announced the end of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Program due to limited availability of federal funding. However, legislation to increase funding has been introduced. If this bill should pass, new funding will be announced by the SBA.

Paycheck Protection Program

The American Rescue Plan expands the eligibility of nonprofits to include those nonprofits listed in Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue to receive PPP grants. 

Shuttered Venue Operators Grants

The American Rescue Plan appropriates $1.25 billion for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant which was established in the December Omnibus. Grants can equal up to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million.

  • Eligible businesses include:

    • Live venue operators or promoters

    • Theatrical producers

    • Live performing arts organization operators

    • Relevant museum operators, zoos, and aquariums who meet specific criteria

    • Motion picture theater operators

  • The SBA will begin accepting applications on April 8th. For more information, please visit the SBA’s page on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program.

  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) may be able to provide assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Loans Program to businesses that have suffered a 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.

 

Resources for Farmers 

Georgia Department of Agriculture

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
 

Reopening of CFAP 2
 

CFAP 2 provides financial assistance that gives producers the ability to absorb increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible commodities include specialty crops, livestock, dairy, row crops, aquaculture, floriculture and nursery crops. The initial CFAP 2 signup ended on Dec. 11, 2020, but USDA will reopen sign-up for CFAP 2 for at least 60 days beginning April 5, 2021. Visit farmers.gov/cfap for details on all eligible commodities, producer eligibility, payment limitations and structure and additional program resources.

 

Producers have multiple options to apply for CFAP 2, including through an online application portal and by working directly with the FSA office at their local USDA Service Center. Customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP 2 application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages with the team at the FSA county office.

 

USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

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

Debt Relief for Farmers
 

The American Rescue Plan provides debt relief and assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers who have faced disproportionate impacts from the pandemic as a result of longstanding discrimination. This legislation requires USDA to:

  • provide a payment in an amount up to 120 percent of the outstanding indebtedness of each socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher as of January 1, 2021, to pay off the loan directly or to the socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher (or a combination of both), on each:

    • (A) direct farm loan made by the USDA to the socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher; and

    • (B) farm loan guaranteed by the USDA the borrower of which is the socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.

  • Guidance on applying for loan forgiveness is not yet available.  

Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers
 

The American Rescue Plan provides $1 billion for assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and groups who have historically faced discrimination by USDA. These funds will support:

  • Outreach, financial training, cooperative development, and capacity building, and other technical assistance;

  • Development of legal centers and financial institutions to serve socially disadvantaged groups, including other financing institutions funded by the Farm Credit System;

  • Pilot projects to provide technical and financial assistance focused on land acquisition, financial planning, technical assistance, and access to credit; and

  • Grants and loans to improve land access, including heirs’ property issues, and aid former farm loan borrowers that suffered adverse actions or past discrimination or bias.  

Food Supply Chain
 

$4 billion to support the food supply chain through the purchase and distribution of food, the purchase of PPE for farmworkers and other frontline food workers, and financial support for farmers, small and medium-sized food processing companies, farmers markets, and others to create more resilient and competitive food supply chains.
 

Cooperative Agreements for Outreach and Technical Assistance

FSA is offering $2 million to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The cooperative agreements will support participation in programs offered by FSA.

Interested organizations must submit proposals by May 5, 2021. 

Outreach and technical assistance cooperative agreements support projects that:

  • Increase access and participation of socially disadvantaged applicants in FSA programs and services.

  • Improve technical assistance for socially disadvantaged applicants related to FSA programs, including loan, disaster assistance, conservation, and safety-net programs.

FSA will prioritize review of proposals that support outreach on CFAP 2. To ensure effective outreach during the signup period for CFAP 2, these applications will be reviewed immediately following the submission deadline for prioritized approval and project initiation. 

This funding opportunity is available to non-profits having a 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service (other than institutions of higher education), Federally recognized Native American tribal governments, Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments), and public and state-controlled institutions of higher education, including 1890 land grant institutions and 1994 tribal land-grant colleges and universities.

Awards will range from $20,000 to $99,999 for a duration between six months and one year. Applications focusing primarily on CFAP 2 will be expedited.  For other proposals, FSA anticipates announcing or notifying successful and unsuccessful applicants by June 20, 2021 and expects to have Federal awards in place by September 1, 2021. 

For more information, view the cooperative agreement opportunity on grants.gov (No. USDA-FSA-MULTI-21-NOFO0001104) or visit fsa.usda.gov/cooperativeagreements.

Additionally, more information related to USDA’s response and relief for producers can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus. 

Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters & Haulers Program

From July 22 to October 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing up to $200 million to provide relief to timber harvesting and timber hauling businesses that have experienced losses due to COVID-19 as part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Loggers and truckers can apply for assistance through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) July 22 through Oct. 15, 2021. The Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers program (PATHH) is administered by FSA in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

For more information, visit https://www.farmers.gov/pandemic-assistance/pathh

 

Resources for Homeowners and Renters 

Emergency Rental Assistance 
 

The American Rescue Plan Act includes critical housing assistance for millions who are struggling to pay rent and avoid eviction. Georgia received $552 million for this program when it was created in the December legislation and will receive another $562 million from the American Rescue Plan.

  • The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) administers the program. 

  • The money will be distributed directly to landlords, and eligible applicants will receive up to 12 months of payment relief. Individuals must qualify for unemployment or have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19; demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, and have a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income.

  • The tenant can apply directly, or the landlord can apply on the tenant’s behalf if the tenant is eligible. 

  • To apply, go to https://georgiarentalassistance.ga.gov/

  • The contact information for GA-02’s DCA Regional Reps is below:

Region 8

Casey Beane

(404)-227-2660

region8@dca.ga.gov

Region 10

Gina Webb

(404) 387-1429

region10@dca.ga.gov

**A detailed county map and list of additional DCA Regional Reps for Georgia can be found on pages 4-5 of their 2021 Guide to Services.

 

State of Georgia Rental Assistance (GRA) Barrier Mitigation

Navigators –These are social service agencies that will case manage clients through the application process including the collection and submission of required documentation.

  • St Anne Community Outreach –706-568-1592

  • Enrichment Services –706-221-6704

  • United Way Chattahoochee Valley –706 327 3255 ext. 1016

  • The Salvation Army –706-327-0275

  • Homeless Resource Network –706-571-3399

  • Access 2 Independence –706-405-2393

  • Georgia Legal Services–833-457-7529

Navigation Stations –Spaces that will offer Computer and Internet Access Only, FAQ’s and Flyers about the Program

  • J. Barnett Woodruff Boys and Girl’s Club –3220 Cusseta Road

  • Mildred L. Terry Public Library–640 Veterans Parkway

  • Columbus Public Library –3000 Macon Road

  • North Columbus Public Library –5689 Armour Road

  • South Columbus Public Library –2034 South Lumpkin Road

 

Homeowner Assistance Fund
 

This is a new fund which will provide homeowners with direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing-related costs. The funds will be allocated to the state, and Georgia will receive more than $300 million in assistance.

  • At this time, we do not know exact eligibility requirements, but assistance related to mortgage loans will be limited to single-family mortgage loans.  

 

Emergency Assistance for Rural Housing.
 

This section provides financial support to households living in properties supported by USDA’s 515 and 514/516 affordable housing programs. 

  • If the property was financed by USDA 515 or 514/516 program, then the tenant may be eligible for rental assistance. Information on how to apply is not yet available. 

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

$4.5 billion for LIHEAP. Georgia offers assistance to families for energy bills, energy crises, and weatherization, and energy-related minor home repairs. 

  • Administered by the Division of Family and Children Services. Apply at dfcs.georgia.gov/

Additional Resources for Homeowners and Renters

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

National Low Income Housing Coalition

Department of Treasury

 

Information for Students 

 

College Students
 

Colleges in Georgia are collectively receiving $1.2 billion in federal grants. Congress required colleges to dedicate at least one-half of funds to emergency financial aid grants for students. That totals $606 million in scholarship grants for students enrolled in Georgia colleges over the next two years. 

  • Students should speak with the financial advisor at their college to find out if they are eligible for any scholarship grants. 

  • A list of contact information for all the Financial Aid Offices for all GA-02 Colleges and Universities is below:

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College at Bainbridge

Office of Financial Aid

finaid@abac.edu

229-391-4910

Albany State University

Office of Financial Aid

ifinaid@asurams.edu

229-500-4358

Albany Technical College

Office of Financial Aid

 

229.430.6158

229.430.6159

Andrew College

Financial Aid Office

financialaid@andrewcollege.edu

229-732-5958

Central Georgia Technical College

Financial Aid Office

finaid@centralgatech.edu

(478) 757-3422

Columbus State University

Financial Aid Office

financial_aid@columbusstate.edu

(706) 507-8800

Columbus Technical College

Financial Aid Office

 

706.649.1859

Fort Valley State University

Office of Financial Aid

financialaid@fvsu.edu

(478) 825-6363

Georgia Southwestern State University

Office of Student Financial Aid

finaid@gsw.edu

229-928-1378

Helms College

   

844-464-3567

Mercer University

Office of Student Financial Planning

trussell_td@law.mercer.edu

Director: (478) 301-5001

Specialist: (478) 301-2147

Middle Georgia State University

Office of Financial Aid

financialaid@mga.edu

478.387.0580

Platt College-Miller-Motte Technical-Columbus

     

800-705-9182 (general phone number

South Georgia Technical College

Financial Aid Office

keverett@southgatech.edu

ksparks@southgatech.edu

lbailey@southgatech.edu

229-931-2693

229-931-2755

The colleges and universities in Georgia’s Second Congressional District receiving funding under the American Rescue Plan are:

  • Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College: $11,117,832
  • Albany State University: $20,372,363
  • Columbus State University: $19,875,657
  • Fort Valley State University: $11,937,555
  • Georgia Military College: $22,128,190
  • Georgia Southwestern State University: $ 5,882,366
  • Mercer University: $17,550,378
  • Middle Georgia State University: $19,065,771
  • Wesleyan College: $1,665,188

To read more about emergency education funding under the American Rescue Plan, click here.

Please find district-level fact sheets shared by Rep DeLauro and compiled by Co-Equal here.

Primary Education

Primary and secondary schools in Georgia will receive $4.2 billion collectively to help get students back in school and to address the issues caused by the pandemic. 

  • Schools are required to spend at least 20% of federal funds on addressing learning loss caused by the pandemic, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs.

  • Non-public schools in Georgia will receive $65 million collectively. 

  • The contact information for GA-02’s Regional Education Service Agencies is below:

Chattahoochee-Flint RESA

Richard McCorkle

(229)  937-5341

rmccorkle@chattflint.org

Middle Georgia RESA

Juliann Alligood

(478)  988-7170

jalligood@mgresa.us

Southwest Georgia RESA

Tim Helms, Sr.

(229)  207-0600

thelms@swresa.org

**A detailed county map and list of additional Regional Education Service Agencies for Georgia can be found here

Under the American Rescue Plan, the Department of Education established an FY21 American Rescue Plan Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. The allocations for school districts in GA-02 are:

System Name

Award Amount

Baker County School District

$1,869,773

Bibb County School District

$100,300,137

Calhoun County School District

$2,644,465

Chattahoochee County School District

$1,871,135

Clay County School District

$2,010,985

Crawford County School District

$4,322,907

Crisp County School District

$18,012,793

Decatur County School District

$17,654,317

Dooly County School District

$7,226,823

Dougherty School District

$65,311,253

Early County School District

$8,002,474

Grady County School District

$13,635,488

Lee County School District

$6,432,002

Macon County School District

$7,467,015

Marion County School District

$4,610,480

Miller County School District

$3,293,170

Mitchell County School District

$9,006,188

Muscogee County School District

$95,057,152

Peach County School District

$11,457,320

Quitman County School District

$1,478,033

Randolph County School District

$4,210,145

Schley County School District

$2,002,524

Seminole County School District

$5,394,384

Stewart County School District

$2,337,589

Sumter County School District

$24,054,268

Talbot County School District

$3,091,228

Taylor County School District

$4,366,656

Terrell County School District

$7,895,717

Webster County School District

$1,068,828

COUNTY TOTAL

$436,085,249

 

Broadband
 

At least 12 million K-12 public school students live in households without either an internet connection or a device adequate for distance learning at home. And, a disproportionate amount of children that lack Internet connectivity come from communities of color, low-income households, Tribal lands, and rural areas. 

  • The American Rescue Plan provides $7.1 billion to the Federal Communications Commission to help schools and libraries ensure that our nation’s schoolchildren can fully participate in remote learning, even as schools look to reopen safely.

The American Rescue Plan provided $7.1 billion to the Federal Communications Commission to help schools and libraries ensure that our nation’s schoolchildren can fully participate in remote learning, even as schools look to reopen safely. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a groundbreaking new program that will help economically vulnerable Americans afford their monthly internet bill.  The $3.2 billion program was created as part of the final omnibus appropriations bill in December, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that open enrollment in the program has begun.  The EBB Program will provide struggling families a discount of $50, or $75 on tribal lands, off the monthly cost of home internet service.  It may also provide an additional subsidy for a computer.  Internet providers who participate in the program can apply to the FCC for reimbursement.

  • Households interested in learning whether they qualify are encouraged to visit the FCC’s new enrollment website – https://getemergencybroadband.org/ – and then sign up for the program through their internet service provider.

CHILD CARE

Financial Assistance 

Georgia will receive $607 million to subsidize the cost of childcare for eligible children of low-income working parents. Funds are also used for activities to improve the quality of childcare.

  • Georgia offers a Child Care Financial Assistance Program to support low-income, working families through childcare assistance for children ages birth through 13 and to promote children’s learning by improving the quality of childcare and afterschool programs.

  • Apply at: https://caps.decal.ga.gov/en/ . For additional information or questions, contact them through Georgia Gateway or by calling 1-833-4GACAPS (1-833-442-2277).

Child Care Providers

Georgia will receive $971 million for childcare stabilization grants. Childcare providers can apply for grants that can be used to support operating costs, including employee costs, personal protective equipment, mortgage, and rent obligations, and mental health support for children and employees.

  • We do not yet know how to apply, but it will likely be administered by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.  www.decal.ga.gov

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (“CDCTC”) 

The American Rescue plan makes the CDCTC fully refundable and increases the maximum credit rate to 50 percent for 2021. The CDCTC is generally available for qualifying expenses (babysitter, daycare, etc.) for the care of children under age 13, or a person who was physically/mentally unable to care for themselves. 

  • Amends the phaseout threshold to begin at $125,000 instead of $15,000. Increases the amount of child and dependent care expenses that are eligible for the credit to $8,000 for one qualifying individual and $16,000 for two or more qualifying individuals (such that the maximum credits are $4,000 and $8,000). 

  • Guidance is not yet available, but this will likely be claimed on 2021 tax returns.  

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) 

WIC provides assistance for food, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. The American Rescue Plan increases the benefit amount from $11/month to $35/month. 

 

Health Insurance

 

COBRA

The American Rescue Plan subsidizes 100% of the monthly health insurance premiums under COBRA through September 30, 2021. 
 

For more information, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/unemployed/cobra-coverage/ 
 

Marketplace Subsidies

The American Rescue Plan provides premium tax credits for marketplace health care insurance for 2021 and 2022, eliminating or reducing premiums for millions of current marketplace enrollees to ensure that no marketplace enrollee spends more than 8.5 percent of their income on premiums, irrespective of their income. 

  • People with income below 150 percent of the poverty line (about $19,000 for a single person and $39,000 for a family of four) would pay no premiums for a benchmark plan.

  • Monthly premiums would be significantly reduced for even those above 400 percent of the federal poverty line.

    • A married couple in Georgia making $75,000, would pay $1400/month less in health insurance premiums.  

    • A family of four in Georgia making $120,000 would pay $608/month less in health insurance premiums.  

  • President Biden extended the enrollment period from February 15 to May 15, giving people a new opportunity to enroll and take advantage of any improvements to the premium tax credits enacted as part of the relief package. 

  • Please visit healthcare.gov for more information on available health insurance plans and subsidies for coverage.   

Unemployment

The American Rescue Plan creates a special rule regarding premium tax credit eligibility for those who receive unemployment compensation during 2021. If someone receives unemployment benefits during 2021, they can receive maximal subsidies for ACA coverage, including no-premium coverage.

  • The CBO expects about 1.4 million people receiving unemployment benefits to enroll in subsidized marketplace coverage.

  • If you are unemployed and need health insurance, please visit healthcare.gov for more information on available health insurance plans and subsidies for coverage.   

  • It is estimated that Georgia has 233,000 people on unemployment without health insurance coverage.  

Economic Development

On July 22, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced six programs, collectively called Investing in America’s Communities, that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) will execute to equitably invest the $3 billion it received from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

Investing in America’s Communities includes:

  • Build Back Better Regional Challenge ($1 billion) will capitalize on American ingenuity and American workers by providing a transformational investment to regions across the country to revitalize their economies.
  • Good Jobs Challenge ($500 million) is designed to help get Americans back in good-paying jobs. The program will develop and strengthen regional workforce training systems and sector-based partnerships with a focus on programs targeted at women, people of color and historically underserved communities.
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance ($500 million) grants will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through projects tailored to meet local needs.  
  • Indigenous Communities ($100 million) program will work hand-in-hand with Tribal Governments and Indigenous communities to develop and execute economic development projects they need to recover from the pandemic and build economies for the future.
  • Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation ($750 million) program will focus on revitalizing the hard-hit travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries and accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on these sectors.  
  • Statewide Planning, Research and Networks ($90 million) grants include funding for state planning efforts as well as grants to build Communities of Practice to extend technical assistance to support EDA’s work with grantees.  

As part of the six programs, EDA is making a Coal Communities Commitment, allocating $300 million to ensure support for these communities as they recover from the pandemic and create new jobs and opportunities, including through the creation or expansion of a new industry sector.

For more information, visit https://www.eda.gov/ARPA/?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term= .

 

Medicaid Expansion

The American Rescue Plan offers a strong incentive for Georgia to implement the ACA’s Medicaid expansion by providing increased federal funds. If the 14 remaining states exercise the Medicaid expansion, at least 4 million additional uninsured adults would become eligible for Medicaid coverage of which nearly 60 percent are people of color.

  • Georgia would receive an estimated $1.8 billion in federal Medicaid funding over the two-year period if it exercises the option to expand coverage, more than the cost of providing coverage to the expansion group.

VETERANS
 

Resources for Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other aid organizations have mobilized resources specifically for veterans to stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Veterans Health Administration recently received $17.2 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. With this money, the VA increased access to telehealth and has said it will serve even those veterans not enrolled in the VA system.

Below is a list of resources that veterans, active-duty military and their families can receive if they need assistance during the pandemic.

Veterans Crisis Line

If you’re a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, there are caring, qualified VA responders standing by to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource available to any Veteran, even if they are not enrolled in VA health care or registered with VA. Care does not end when the conversation is over. The Veterans Crisis Line can connect Veterans to their local suicide prevention coordinators (SPC), who follow up to coordinate care.

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 Press 1

Georgia 2nd Congressional District VA Clinics

Each VA facility has created separate areas or zones to isolate Veterans with possible or confirmed COVID-19 from uninfected patients who need other routine and emergent care. VA is also identifying appropriate quarantine options for Veterans to receive treatment if they are symptomatic or screen positive for COVID-19 but are not ill enough for hospital-level care.

VA is committed to helping all Veterans stay well and avoid becoming sick from COVID-19:

If you have concerns regarding COVID-19, please reach out to your local VA clinic, and they will be able to assist you.

Columbus VA Clinic

1310 13th Ave, Columbus, GA 31901

(706) 257-7205

 

Albany VA Clinic

814 Radford Blvd, Albany, GA 31701

(229) 446-9000

VA Clinic on Fort Benning
6635 Bass Rd, Fort Benning, GA 31905

 

Veterans Affairs services
 

Claims and Appeals Processing 

The American Rescue Plan provides $272 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on the benefits claims and appeals backlog. This funding will be used to increase staff overtime, expand Veterans Benefits Administration-funded scanning of service records from federal records facilities impacted by COVID-19, improve scheduling of hearings, and enhance contact center functions.
 

 Veterans are eligible for deadline extensions on claims and appeals, such as suspending actions on veteran debt under the Treasury Department and repayment on previous Veterans Affairs debts. Paperwork also may be submitted late for a variety of other claims.

 

Health Care 
 

The American Rescue Plan appropriates nearly $13.5 billion for the VA to provide health care services and related support to eligible veterans. It includes funding to cover the impacts of delays in care, more expensive care being needed as a result of putting off needed care and greater reliance on VA due to economic impacts from the pandemic.
 

This legislation also allows VA to waive copays for treatment provided to eligible veterans, beginning April 6, 2020, when VA first paused medical billing, through September 30, 2021. This section also authorizes VA to reimburse those veterans who already submitted payments for their care during this period.

 

MyHealthEVet: Veterans can sign in to send a secure message to their doctors. Other telehealth options include VA Video Connect, an app available for Macintosh and Windows computers as well as Android and Apple mobile devices, which allows them to explain their conditions and receive a prompt diagnosis.

 

Facebook Portal Smart Device: Active participants in VA caregiver support programs or VA geriatric services are eligible to receive the smart video calling device for free. Facebook donated more than 7,400 portals to the VA that are being distributed with the help of the American Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network. The goal is to reduce isolation and improve social connectedness.

 

VA caregiver support: Caregivers can find specialized support and community connections through two programs. Local caregiver support coordinators can help you find services in your area, or call the Caregiver Support Line, 855-260-3274, to speak with a licensed professional.

 

Vet Centers: Veterans, active-duty service members and their families can seek out Vet Centers, an extension of the VA medical centers nationwide. Individual, group, marriage and family counseling plus care coordination are available. Its call centers are always open at 877-927-8387.

 

Transportation: The VA has a formal partnership with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) for transportation to VA health facilities. Veterans should call 844-698-2311 or contact their DAV service office.

 

 Homeless Veterans
 

VA is committed to helping all Veterans stay well and avoid becoming sick from COVID-19:

If you are enrolled in VA’s Homeless Program, contact your VA Homeless Program Case Manager for information about scheduling your COVID-19 vaccination.

 

If you are not enrolled in VA’s Homeless Program, please call 1-800-MyVA411 (800-698-2411) to find your local VA medical center for priority scheduling of your COVID-19 vaccination.

 

Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness are strongly encouraged to contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance. If Veterans do not have access to a phone or the internet, only then are they to visit their closest VA medical center without calling in advance. VA also urges Veterans who are not homeless or at risk of homelessness to contact their VA medical center before visiting for any reason. These steps are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

VA hotlines
 

• 24/7 White House VA Hotline: 855-948-2311

• VA Benefits Hotline: 844-698-2311

• VA Caregiving Hotline: 855-260-3274

• VA Crisis Line for Mental Health: 800-273-8255

• VA Loan Center Hotline: 800-827-0648

• Health Care Debt Relief: 888-827-4817


 

Transportation

 

Airlines

The American Rescue Plan extends the Payroll Support Program for airlines. This section prohibits air carriers and contractors from furloughing or reducing pay rates or benefits for their workers until September 30, 2021. 

 

Urban Areas

The American Rescue Plan Act provides $30.4 billion of additional relief funding to transit

agencies to prevent layoffs of transit workers and prevent severe cuts to transit services

that essential workers and the general public rely on.

  • Albany to receive $1.5 million

  • Columbus to receive $1.3 million

  • Macon to receive $2 million

Paratransit 

Paratransit offers transportation services to people with disabilities. The American Rescue Plan provides:

  • $365,000 for rural areas in Georgia;

  • $276,000 for small to medium-sized cities in Georgia (50k-200k in population);

  • $44,000 for Columbus. 

Rural Transit

The American Rescue Plan provides $281 million in operating assistance formula grants for states to support rural transit agencies in areas of fewer than 50,000 people.

  • Georgia will receive $1.5 million for rural transit services. 

Railroad Workers

The American Rescue Plan ensures that unemployed railroad workers continue to receive parity with regards to unemployment benefits. Railroad workers are not eligible for unemployment benefits provided through the normal state-administered unemployment programs (receive UI under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act).

  • The legislation provides an additional $300 per week to unemployed railroad workers on top of their standard benefit; up to 29 additional weeks of unemployment benefits and waives the one-week delay in benefits for newly unemployed or sick workers.

State And Local Government Funding

 

The American Rescue Plan created a new program for State and Local Coronavirus Relief Funds. Local governments of every size would receive dedicated allotments. Funds are available until expended and must be used to address the pandemic or its negative economic impacts, including to replace revenue lost, delayed, or decreased as a result of the pandemic.

  • Georgia will receive $4.7 billion in assistance to the state government.

  • 55 cities in GA-02 will receive federal awards from the American Rescue Plan

    • This totals $155 million for cities in the district

    • The average award per city is $2.8 million

  • 11 townships in GA-02 will receive federal awards

    • This totals $880,000 for townships in the district, with the average award being $80,000

 

On May 3, 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration’s announced the release of $76,259,756 in funding for critical Older Americans Act programs as part of the American Rescue Plan for Georgia’s senior citizens.

This funding focuses on programs to support Georgia seniors, with an emphasis on much-needed pandemic relief, including:

  • $76,259,756 in funding was designated for critical Older Americans Act programs as part of the American Rescue Plan for Georgia’s senior citizens.
  • $20,454,723 for meals for older adults in Georgia,
  • $12,545,563 for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) through the Older Americans Act, supporting older Americans to age with dignity and safety in their homes and communities,
  • $1,200,010 for evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention in Georgia,
  • $3,793,217 to help family caregivers support their loved ones, and
  • $272,730 to safeguard the health and welfare of residents in Georgia’s long-term care facilities.

 

 

 

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