TL:DR You may be eligible for pandemic assistance offered by the United States, your statehouse, and/or your local/city government.
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Be wary of benefit scams! Before submitting any personal information for COVID-19 relief, confirm the website or resource is trustworthy. We’ve linked more information about scams to watch out for here, and if you catch one, it’s a good bet someone else may not, so report them here.
What pandemic or assistance is available?
The American Rescue Plan Act has earmarked up to $9.961 billion in money and resources for relief, assistance and support across the United States and all territories. When accessing those resources, it’s often best to apply to both the Federal and state level as they are often wholly separate programs.
When using these websites, remember it’s just like a job working at a computer. Take regular breaks and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
First the main categories
Here are the major areas people have been needing help since at least April 2020. In the next sections below we’ll get into more detail.
- Rental assistance & housing resources
- Food stamps & meal programs
- Healthcare support
- Federal Mental Health and Safety Resources
Where can I quickly find official sources of COVID-19 relief?
Visit benefits.gov for the latest and most comprehensive list of available government benefits related to the pandemic.
Renters may be eligible for rental assistance through their state Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offices. Some federal programs have been extended, and Georgia’s overall programs are still in place for now with some additional requirements. To find out if you qualify:
- Find and contact your local HUD office here
- Call HUD directly (800) 569-4287 or their regional office in Atlanta (678) 732-2200
- Read our article on rent relief for more information for renters.
Food & Nutrition Assistance
Food and nutrition assistance are among the busiest of social services, but don’t get discouraged here because they are among the most regularly (if not robustly) funded programs. Contact your state's social services agency to see if you're eligible for these resources:
- Additional funding for SNAP benefits
- School meals
- WIC assistance by State
- Additional COVID-19 related information can be found on the USDA’s website here.
- Food Aid for Seniors Citizens
- Post Disaster Food Aid
If you became unemployed due to the pandemic, you may qualify for unemployment assistance. If you’re unsure if you qualify, don’t assume, let them tell you and even then, file an appeal.
- Contact your state's unemployment assistance agency to apply
- Visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s unemployment assistance page and be sure
During the past year, staying well has become even more important. Manage your physical healthcare by using the following resources:
- If you have a lapse of employment, check out COBRA Continuation Coverage
- Medicare and Medicaid benefits may be available to you
- Veterans, of course, also have Veterans Administration Healthcare
Mental Health & Safety Resources
You and your loved ones have possibly been through a lot in very little time and should you or anyone you know need mental health support or if you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, if you’ve observed drastic changes in attitude, eating habits, an recreational activities in yourself or someone else please use these numbers:
- Mental Health Crisis Hotline: 800-273-8255 or 988
- Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)
- To use chat, go here
The state of Georgia has surprisingly robust programs and dedicated personnel on par with their national counterparts, and their Human Services website could teach the federal government a thing or two. Take a look here, and if you’re looking for specific services, we’ve split into these categories:
- Georgia’s Unemployment insurance
- Georgia's Medicaid Support site is here
- State level GA resources for mental health support are provided by the MHTTC
- The GA Department of Public Health website is extremely useful, packed with info on vaccines, COVID, and even Monkeypox.
- A full roster of immunizations for your kids in GA can be found here.
The GA Dept. of Community Health has a list of Home & Community Based services for the elderly and the disabled.