Georgia cash assistance isn

Georgia’s cash aid isn’t really cash…and it’s causing some headaches

Some Georgians thought the money could be converted into cash to pay bills or buy groceries, but that’s not quite how it works.

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp has pledged a one-time $350 payment to vulnerable Georgians to help offset some negative costs of COVID-19 and deal with high rates of inflation.

People enrolled in Medicaid, SNAP and TANF programs have started receiving money. However, some find it difficult to access and/or spend money.

Have a question? Go to the end of the article to see our questions and answers.

11Alive has received several emails from people detailing frustrations with the way the money was distributed, problems using the money, and general confusion about how to get the cash aid. One of those emails was from Paula Moore.

“Your cash assistance payment is available,” said Moore, who originally thought cash assistance would be fine…cash.

Then she discovered, “It won’t be money per se, it’s on a virtual card.”

Thus, the 64-year-old woman downloaded the virtual card to her phone; not realizing he was logged into his Apple Pay, and therein lies a problem.

“I went to Walmart, I went to Sam’s Club and none of them took it,” Moore said.

Walmart and Sam’s Club do not accept Apple Pay for in-store purchases. Additionally, Cash Aid cannot be transferred through Cash App or Zelle, cannot be converted to cash, and cannot be used at stores that do not accept digital payments. The virtual card can also be declined if a cashier runs it as the wrong type of transaction.

Moore’s original plan for the money also turned into a failure.

“My radiator is supposed to be fixed next weekend and I was going to pay for it, but I can’t even do it,” she said.

Moore wonders why the funds weren’t released as a physical card or check.

The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) wrote in a statement that it uses the virtual card option as “the safest and fastest way to obtain funds for Georgians…and that they do not have access to the customers’ bank account”.

DHS also said people can request a physical card if they’ve opted for the US mail-only option.

Moore thinks it’s too much trouble now, but feels for others in her senior community.

“Especially with older people. I’m an older person but there are people here much older than me and they have no idea, really they have no idea,” she said.

As for the money on her card, it’s still there, since she can’t use it to withdraw cash, fix her radiator, or shop at some discount stores, without having to shop online. .

“Forget it. It’s not worth it to me. People on SNAP go to the cheapest stores. I’m not hiding, so I’ll keep doing what I’m doing,” Moore said.

We asked DHS several questions to help people trying to use their money, their answers are below.

Questions and answers :

Why didn’t DHS use physical cards, paper checks, or deposit money in bank accounts?

“The virtual card option was chosen because it was the safest and fastest way to get funds to Georgians. DHS does not have access to our customers’ bank accounts, and there are more possibilities of fraud with cheques.”

What are the restrictions for the virtual card?

If recipients attempt to transfer their card balance to Apple Cash, Cash App, or Zelle, the transfer will be declined.

Cards cannot be used to purchase money orders or unauthorized transactions.

A card balance cannot be converted to cash. A card cannot be used in stores that do not accept digital payment.

One remedy suggested by DHS is to use online purchase and in-store pickup, depending on availability.

What if I don’t have an email / want a physical card?

Instructions on how to use virtual payment will be included in the email communication when the payment is issued. Plastic cards will be mailed to eligible Georgians whose email address is not listed in Gateway. Those who are eligible and have opted for US mail only will receive a physical card in the coming weeks.

What if I don’t have a smartphone?

“People can use the virtual card number, expiration date and CVC2 code like they would use a regular debit card.”

What are the reasons why virtual cards may be declined in stores?

“The most common reason is that the merchant does not accept digital cards. Once you load your card into your digital wallet (Apple, Google or Samsung), it can be used in-store at merchants that accept digital cards. digital cards. Just open the wallet/app on your device and follow the on-screen instructions, including manually entering your virtual card number.”

“Your virtual card may show ‘decline’ if a cashier executes it as the wrong type of transaction. Make sure your virtual card is executed as an in-store debit transaction. You may need to enter your debit PIN .”

“Are you trying to use your virtual card for an online or phone purchase? You may be asked to provide a name and address. You should use the name and address of the person whose name appears on the virtual card, as shown in Gateway.”

“Card conflict is a problem that can occur if you accidentally touch more than one virtual card on a reader at the same time. To avoid card conflicts, make sure you have selected the virtual card you have access to. intention to pay before touching it to the reader.”

“When you use your card at a gas station, you have to pay inside instead of paying at the pump.”

For more information, restrictions and solutions for the virtual card: click here.

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