Mon. Mar 27th, 2023

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ATLANTA — Georgia officials said Monday that ongoing issues with the rollout of $350 cash payments to residents enrolled in certain social benefit programs had been “largely resolved.”
Many of the people who received the assistance reported problems spending the money after it was sent out in the form of a virtual card, connected to Apple Pay.
They found some major stores, such as Walmart and Sam’s Club, don’t accept Apple Pay, and others don’t accept digital payments of any kind. They also found that the cash on the card could not be transferred to other payment apps or converted into cash.
RELATED: Georgia cash assistance isn’t actually cash… and it’s causing headaches for some
In response, the state Department of Human Services said Monday that they had been working with Mastercard throughout the weekend to implement a fix.
Georgia DHS did not describe exactly what was done, though they said it involved connecting “many Georgia merchants to the network” utilized by Mastercard and other payment processors.
The state reported seeing “rising numbers of successful purchases using the Cash Assistance prepaid card.”
With that done, DHS said it would now move ahead with distributing a second wave of cards to those who opted to receive them through email. The department said that distribution would be happening this week through Thursday.
“Since the Cash Assistance Program launched on Sept. 20th, 328,433 Georgians on Medicaid, PeachCare for Kids, SNAP, and/or TANF have claimed $114,951,550 and spent $62,709,599.02 through 1,462,001 successful transactions,” DHS reported.
The department also advised people to remain aware of “restrictions on the use of the card” such as “attempts to transfer card balance, buy money orders, or convert the card balance to cash” – indicating people will continue to be unable to use the money for anything beyond what is functional with the card.
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