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Georgia residents who are eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will receive their monthly payments on the usual December schedule, with the first payments scheduled for December 5. The joker is whether state SNAP administrators can iron out issues that have caused delays in recent weeks.
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Some SNAP recipients in Georgia and elsewhere have not received their benefits on time due to an increase in renewals as well as staff shortages at the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS), which administers the program. Many Georgians looking for answers about their benefits ended up with an automated voice system, WMAZ reported.
“Due to inflation and labor shortages, we are working on an increased volume for SNAP applications and renewals,” the DFCS said in an emailed statement. “We continue to look at ways to get more flexibility from the federal government to process cases faster and more efficiently.”
While all of that is being ironed out, most Georgia SNAP recipients can expect to receive their payments on the usual December schedule.
SNAP, formerly known as Grocery Stamps, is a federal program that helps low-income households buy groceries. Although part of the US Department of Agriculture, the program is administered at the state level. In Georgia, the DFCS transfers monthly SNAP benefits to low-income households through the Georgia Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
Georgia SNAP EBT cards can be used in most grocery stores and certain other retail outlets. You can use SNAP benefits to buy the following groceries:
- fruits and vegetables
- meat, poultry and fish
- Dairy products
- bread and muesli
- snacks and non-alcoholic beverages
- Seeds and plants that produce food for the home.
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Items you cannot purchase with SNAP benefits include alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, dietary supplements, live animals, pet food, cleaning supplies, paper products, and cosmetics. Georgia also cannot use your EBT card to purchase hot meals prepared at the point of sale since it is not one of the states that participate in SNAP’s Restaurant Meals Program.
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SNAP benefits in Georgia and elsewhere also include perks beyond just buying groceries — including discounts on certain products and services. Here’s a quick look at the money-saving opportunities offered by your EBT card:
- Amazon Prime discount: Recipients of SNAP and SNAP EBT Cash benefits (or Medicaid benefits) may qualify to save 50% on their Prime memberships. To see if you qualify, visit amazon.com/prime/qualify.
- Museum discounts: Those who receive SNAP benefits receive free or discounted admission to more than 850 museums and art groups across the United States, including the Museum for All program. According to the iGeorgia Food Stamps website, museums offering discounts or free admission to Georgia EBT cardholders include the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, the Atlanta Contemporary Museum of Art, the Georgia State Railroad Museum in Savannah, and the Thomasville History Center.
- Farmers Markets: You can also use your SNAP EBT card to buy fresh produce at participating farmers’ markets. The USDA’s Food Nutrition Service provides a monthly listing of the names and locations of markets across the country that are currently eligible to accept SNAP benefits.
- Lifeline program: If you are a SNAP recipient and your income is below a certain limit, you may be eligible for free or low-cost landline or cellular service through the Federal Lifeline Program. You may also get discounted internet service. Contact your provider to see if they offer the program.
If you’re 60 or older, have a steady steady income, meet certain income requirements, and live where other household members don’t work, you may qualify for Senior SNAP, a simplified application process.
In Georgia, benefits are sent by the 23rd of each month. Here is Georgia’s SNAP payment schedule for December 2022:
|ID # ends with:||Available Benefits:|
|20-29||9th of December|
|90-99||23rd of December|
All Georgia SNAP recipients must complete periodic screening to continue their eligibility. A renewal form and all required supporting documentation can be submitted to the Georgia Gateway portal or using Form 508.
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Customers who have lost food purchased with SNAP benefits due to weather disasters—or who have suffered a loss of food due to power outages lasting at least four hours—can receive replacement services within 10 days of reporting the loss. You must report all losses to your local DFCS office and complete an affidavit.
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