Georgia Unemployment benefits are capped by law and at just $330 a week, many people find it difficult to cover basic necessities, especially if it takes more than a couple weeks to find a new job.
Fortunately, there are public and private organizations and nonprofit agencies that can help if you are in a difficult financial spot. Whether you need help with your mortgage, utilities, food, health care or even childcare and other supplies, you will usually be able to find an organization near you to give you a helping hand.
Help with Healthcare and Medical Expenses in GA
The Medicaid program in Georgia is administered through the Department of Community Health. Traditional Medicaid in the state is generally limited to the following categories of people:
- Pregnant women
- Children age 19 and younger
- Seniors age 65 and over
- The blind or disabled
- Family Medicaid for pregnant women, children under age 19, and families with dependent children. It also includes family planning under the Planning for Healthy Babies (P4HB) program.
- PeachCare for kids, the federally funded children’s health insurance program for low and moderate income families.
- Women’s Health Medicaid, designed specifically for women with either breast or ovarian cancer who have no other way to pay for treatment.
- Emergency Medical Assistance for help with bills you received while being treated for a medical emergency.
Help with Prescription Drugs in Georgia
Anyone in Georgia may apply for the Georgia Drug Card, a free discount drug program that offers lower prices on many prescription medications at participating pharmacies across the state and the nation. You apply online through the website above.
In addition, many of the free and low cost health and dental clinics detailed in the section below offer free or deeply discounted prescription medications to their patients. If you need help paying for prescription drugs, be sure to ask your provider if there is any medication assistance available.
Free and Low-Cost Health and Dental Clinics in GA
If you make too much money to qualify for the Georgia Medicaid program and no longer have health insurance through your employer, you can still get health care, dental care, and prescription drugs for free or on a sliding-scale basis at one of the many nonprofit facilities and community health clinics throughout the state.
Most clinics serve individuals regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status. In some cases, you may have to bring documentation proving your identity, income, and residence in order to receive care. It’s a good idea to call before you show up to find out what’s required, even if the clinic accepts walk-in patients. You may be asked to pay a small co-pay or fee based on your income for your care.
Here are some places to get care in the largest counties and cities in Georgia.
BIBB COUNTY – MACON
This clinic provides free medical and dental care services including:
- Primary Medical Care
- Dental Exams, X-rays, Cleanings, Restorative Services, and Extractions
- Eye Exams and Prescription Eyeglasses
- Non-narcotic Prescription Medication Assistance
- Cancer Screenings (such as Mammograms, PAP Smears and Colonoscopies)
- Laboratory Analyses
- Diagnostic Services
- Diabetic education and testing supplies (glucometers, testing strips, and lancets)
- Nutrition Counseling
- Mental Health Counseling
- GYN Services
- Dermatology Services
- Outpatient Surgery through S.P.I.N. – Surgery for People In Need
Saturday appointments are available every sixth Saturday.
Eye Clinic: Monday 1p–3p
Dental Clinic: Monday 1p–3p; Friday 9a–12p
Established patients who have seen a physician may schedule a dental or eye appointment.
Wednesday 9a–12:30p, 2p–4p
Thursday 9a–12:30p, 2p–4p
Macon Volunteer Clinic
376 Rogers Avenue
Macon, Georgia 31204
CHATHAM COUNTY – SAVANNAH
The clinic provides access to health care on a sliding scale basis. Services include:
- Adult Medicine
- Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB/GYN
- Prenatal (Pregnancy)
- Family Planning (Birth Control, etc)
- Patient Assistance Programs for Medications
CURTIS V. COOPER PRIMARY HEALTH CARE
106 E. Broad Street, Savannah, GA 31401
(All services mentioned)
PHONE: (912) 527-1000
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 8:00a.m.-5:00p.m.
Tuesday and Thursday, 8:00a.m.-7:00p.m.
2 Roberts Street, Garden City, GA 31408
(All services provided except Dental & Radiology)
PHONE: (912) 527-1100
349 W. Bryan Street, Savannah, GA 31401
800 East 70th Street, Savannah, GA 31415
SAVANNAH STATE UNIVERSITY
3219 College Street Savannah, GA 31404
(Savannah State College Students Only)
Monday, Thursday, 8:00a.m.-5:00p.m.
5354 Reynolds Street Savannah, GA 31405
PHONE: (912) 355-6990
COBB COUNTY – MARIETTA
There are several centers across Georgia offering sliding-scale health and dental care services, including family medicine, pediatrics, OB-GYN, lab and x-ray, pharmacy, and behavioral health.
805 Campbell Hill Street
Marietta, GA 30060
DEKALB COUNTY – DECATUR
Free non-emergency primary health care and medications, plus chronic disease management. Referrals are also available for specialty care. The clinic is open on Wednesday and Thursday evenings by appointment only.
440 Winn Way
FULTON COUNTY – ATLANTA
Mercy Care provides full health, dental, and vision care for adults and children on a sliding scale; office visits are as low as $35 and they offer payment plans if you are unable to make your copayment at the time of your visit.
There are 13 locations in the Atlanta area and one in Rome. Make an appointment directly with the clinic closest to you. If you have questions about Mercy Care, contact the administrative offices:
424 Decatur Street
Atlanta, GA 30312
GWINNETT COUNTY – LAWRENCEVILLE
This is a nonprofit organization providing affordable health and dental care to adults and children on a sliding scale basis. Visits typically cost between $25 and $75 and payment is expected at the time of service.
5949 Buford Highway
Mon – Wed: 8am – 4pm
Thursday: Noon – 8pm
Friday: 8am – 3pm
1st and 3rd Saturday: 8am-Noon
Cash Assistance in GA
Georgia families and individuals with low incomes or who are in a financial crisis due to unemployment or other event may qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). There are several requirements for eligibility:
- You must have a dependent child living in the home.
- You must apply for all other benefits you may be entitled to, including unemployment and SSI.
- You must be a US citizen and all members of the family must have a Social Security number.
- You must meet income and asset requirements (a single mother with two children, for example, must have income below $784 a month and assets below $1,000).
- You must comply with work requirements.
- There is a 48-month lifetime limit on TANF benefits.
You must apply for TANF in person at your local Division of Family and Children’s Services office. If you have questions or need more information about TANF in Georgia, you may call the DFCS Customer Contact Center at 1-877-423-4746 (Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Rent and Mortgage Assistance in GA
It can be difficult to pay your housing costs when you are unemployed in Georgia. The following resources are available to help you avoid foreclosure or eviction while you are looking for work.
The state of Georgia was given federal funding to help homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments due to unemployment or underemployment or due to a medical or other family emergency or hardship.
The funds are administered through the HomeSafe Georgia program, which has helped over 9,200 state homeowners remain in their homes.
There are three program types:
Mortgage Payment Assistance is available for eligible homeowners who became unemployed or underemployed in the last 36 months through no fault of their own. Homeowners can receive up to 24 months of monthly assistance plus lender fees while they search for employment or complete training. For those who became delinquent, up to 12 of the 24 months can be used to bring the loan current. Quarterly recertification of eligibility is required for this government mortgage assistance program. Successful applicants may have to make partial payment contributions toward their mortgage.
Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance is available for eligible homeowners who became delinquent on their mortgage due to unemployment, military, medical or death hardships that occurred within the last 36 months. Up to 12 months of mortgage assistance plus lender fees are available as a onetime payment to the lender to help bring the mortgage current. The delinquency must be tied to the hardship and the homeowner must have sufficient income to make their payments after the assistance is administered.
Mortgage Payment Reduction is available for eligible homeowners who had a permanent reduction of income within the last 36 months due to disability, death of spouse/homeowner, or unemployment (drawing Social Security benefits after unemployment benefits were exhausted). Up to $45,000 will be provided directly to the lender to enable an affordable payment. Contact your lender to determine if your loan can qualify before applying.
To see if you qualify, take this screening quiz online. If you are eligible, you will be automatically directed to the online application. If you have questions about the process, you can call customer service at 770-806-2100 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you do not qualify, be sure to check the additional resources in this section and at the bottom of the page to see if there are other nonprofit organizations in your area that can help you with your mortgage payment if you become unemployed.
ASSISTANCE WITH RENT/EVICTION
Georgia Legal Aid offers free legal advice and assistance for low income individuals and families who are facing eviction. They also make referrals for local legal services.
Below is a list of organizations by city and county that may be able to help you with your rent or mortgage payments if you get behind.
BIBB COUNTY – MACON
The EOC offers a broad range of housing assistance services, including rent and mortgage assistance, moving assistance, referrals to lenders, counseling, and assistance with landlords. For help with housing services, please contact Carlton Williams at (478) 750-8689. The office is located at:
1680 Broadway Street Suite B
Macon, Georgia 31201
Phone: (478) 738-3240
CHATHAM COUNTY – SAVANNAH
The Salvation Army operates Project SHARE, which provides emergency funding to help families in crisis meet basic needs, whether that is utility assistance, a rent payment, or even a prescription medication.
You can see a list of places to apply for Project SHARE grants here. Keep in mind that you may only receive one grant per 12-month period and that there are some eligibility requirements in order to receive funds. The money may only be used for basic living expenses.
COBB COUNTY – MARIETTA
CFR has once-in-a-lifetime grants to assist families with their rent so they can remain in their homes. The amount is based on income, family size, monthly rent payment, and the Center’s current caseload. They also administer Tenant-Based Rental Assistance funding and can help with rapid rehousing and ongoing rental assistance up to six months if you are facing homelessness. You must have a dependent child living in the home.
995 Roswell St. NE Suite 100
Marietta, GA 30060
DEKALB COUNTY – DECATUR
This is a nonprofit agency supported by area churches that may be able to assist with crisis aid and other basic needs. You must apply in person and bring proof of identity (including SSN) and residence. The DEAM office is at the following address:
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
515 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. (DEAM office entrance is on Sycamore Street)
Decatur, GA 30030
They only accept clients from Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
FULTON COUNTY – ATLANTA
Emergency assistance and other long-term aid is available for basic needs including rent and utilities, and the 70/30 Project, which helps low-income families avoid homelessness. You must make an appointment to apply for assistance. You need to meet the following minimum requirements in order to be given an appointment:
- Live in one of the zip codes we serve, or be a member of a partner church.
- Have paid rent or mortgage on your current residence for at least three months.
- Have held a job within the past 12 months, or be unable to work due to age or disability.
- Have experienced an emergency within the past 12 months.
- If you need help with utilities, your rent must be paid in full.
Please call the helpline for an appointment, (404) 239-0038.
This agency provides emergency financial assistance for rent, utilities, clothing, food, and other basic needs to individuals and families who meet the following requirements:
- NFCC serves the Fulton County portions of the following zip codes: 30004, 30005, 30009, 30022, 30024, 30075, 30076, 30092 and 30097.
- The applicant must bring a current photo ID and current proof of residency. (preferably a lease, mortgage statement, gas, electric or water bill)
- If rental or utility assistance is requested, the applicant must provide documentation of a recent lease or utility bill.
- Current proof of income.
- The applicant must bring documentation that clarifies the emergency financial need such as receipts for medical expenses, car repairs, separation letter for job loss, etc.
Emergency assistance applications are accepted in person only and by appointment. To apply, complete this online form and you will be contacted for an appointment.
Address:11270 Elkins Rd.
Roswell, Georgia 30076
Email: [email protected]
Help with Childcare and Education Expenses in GA
The state Division of Family and Children Services administers the Child Care and Parents Services (CAPS) program to subsidize the costs of childcare for Georgia’s low income families who are underemployed, looking for work, or training for a job, or meet other eligibility requirements.
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SE
Suite 670, East Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
Help Paying Your Utility Bills in GA
If you have trouble paying your utility bills, you may be eligible for assistance from the Heating Energy Assistance Team (HEAT), a nonprofit organization assisting low-income families with their heating costs. Private citizens, utility companies, and other organizations contribute to the HEAT program.
Funds are administered by the Department of Family and Children Services. In order to qualify, you must meet the following requirements:
- Total gross yearly household income is at or below 60% of Georgia’s median income level.
- $21,881 for a one-person household
- $28,614 for a two-person household
- $35,346 for a three-person household
- $42,079 for a four-person household
- $48,812 for a five-person household
- $55,544 for a six-person household
- $56,807 for a seven-person household
- $58,069 for an eight-person household
- Household has a member who is responsible for paying the heating bills.
- The person making the application is a U.S. citizen, qualified alien or permanent resident.
- Applicant has received a disconnection notice or needs to restore service (must provide verification). Energy assistance is provided within 48 hours after eligible household applies and within 18 hours for households with an individual in a life-threatening situation. If a life-threatening situation exists, the applicant must present at the time of application a medical statement or verification of the medical condition by an approved medical staff person.
Apply in person at your local partner agency. Funds are paid directly to your utility provider. If you have questions about how to apply for H.E.A.T. funds, please call 678-406-0212.
Most public utility companies also have emergency assistance and rate discount programs in place for low income families and those experiencing a financial crisis. If you are having trouble with your utility bill, contact your local energy provider and ask about rate discounts or assistance programs.
Help with Groceries and Food in GA
Georgia SNAP (Food Stamps)
If you meet income requirements, you may qualify for Georgia SNAP benefits to help offset the cost of your groceries. In addition to the income guidelines below, you must have less than $2,001 in combined checking and savings account balances in order to qualify.
|Household Size*||Maximum Income Level (Per Year)|
You can download the application for SNAP here or you can call the Customer Contact Center at 877-423-4746 and request an application be mailed to you.
After you complete and return the application, you will be contacted to schedule an interview at your local DFCS office.
The Women Infants and Children program (WIC) is available to families with children age five and younger, and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.
The program provides funds for the purchase of specific foods and infant formula, including fruits, vegetables, cheese, cereal, meat and other proteins, plus infant foods.
To see if you qualify, you can take this online assessment. In most cases, you must meet the following income requirements:
|GEORGIA WIC PROGRAM
INCOME ELIGIBLE GUIDELINES
(Effective from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017)
185% of Federal Poverty Guidelines
Based on Income Before Taxes (gross income)
|More than 8 members||$7696 per added family member||$642 per added family member||$321 per added family member||$296 per added family member||$148 per added family member||I|
You must apply in person at your local WIC office. The state WIC office contact information is listed below if you have any questions before you begin the application process.
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
2 Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Participants should call: 1-800-228-9173
Food Banks in Georgia
The Georgia Food Bank Association is a coalition of 7 regional food banks in the state that supplies food to over 2,000 partner organizations across the state of Georgia. You can see which food bank covers your local area on this chart. Click on the “get help” button next to your regional food bank for a list of partner agencies near you where you can get food.
You can also dial 2-1-1 from any location in Georgia and ask for the partner food pantry near you.
For more information, contact the GFBA:
Georgia Food Bank Association
C/O The Atlanta Community Food Bank
732 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd, NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Phone (404) 419-1738
Additional Aid and Resources by City and County in GA
If you are unable to find the help you need with the organizations and resources above, try one of these nonprofit organizations in your area. In many cases, they have crisis and emergency relief funds for help with utility bills, rent or mortgage payments, food, clothing, baby needs, health care services, and referrals to other agencies that may be able to assist you.
BIBB COUNTY – MACON
Project SHARE is offered through the Salvation Army and provides emergency assistance with basic needs to families in crisis in Georgia. You can find your local Salvation Army location here. Some locations also offer food pantries, a thrift store, a furniture shop, or other services for low income families and families in need.
For more information, you can contact the Georgia Division command at:
The Salvation Army – Georgia Division
1000 Center Place
Norcross, GA 30093
COBB COUNTY – MARIETTA
This agency offers a wide array of services including emergency housing and basic needs assistance, Head Start, energy and utility assistance, help with education and job training, counseling, weatherization, financial literacy, and other family support services.
You can find a list of their locations and programs with contact information here or contact the central office for more information at the address below.
Tallatoona Cap, Inc. (Central Office)
P.O. Box 1480
1010 N Tennessee St, Suite 107
Cartersville, GA 30120
Phone: (770) 382-5388
DEKALB COUNTY – DECATUR
The St. Vincent de Paul Society operates a number of thrift stores and other service centers across the state of Georgia. They offer direct financial assistance to families in crisis due to unemployment or other emergency, with funding available to help pay rent, mortgage, utilities, and health care costs.
For help with direct financial aid, call the client assistance hotline at (678) 892-6163.
You can find a list of their thrift store locations here.
You can find a list of their family support center locations here.
You can use this contact form to request that a caseworker get in touch with you to discuss your situation and see if they can help.
FULTON COUNTY – ATLANTA AREA
MAC has helped over 132,000 Atlantans and provided over $8 million in services, including:
- Rent and Utilities: MAC provides assistance to low-income, working households that are in a temporary financial crisis to prevent eviction and disconnection of electricity, gas, and water.
- Groceries: MAC has a food pantry that provides non-perishable food for households experiencing a temporary shortage.
- Transportation: MAC provides MARTA passes for people job hunting, or with a new job, until they receive their first paycheck.
- Clothing and Shoes: MAC’s clothing closet provides men with interview and work outfits. MAC also purchases nonslip shoes and black pants for restaurant workers and steel-toed boots for construction workers.
- Georgia Identification: Without ID, finding a job is nearly impossible. MAC helps pay for people to get a state ID.
- Referrals: When clients are in need of more than MAC can provide, staff refer clients to partner organizations.
Midtown Assistance Center
30 Porter Place
Atlanta, GA 30308
404-681-0470 main office
For Assistance, call 404-681-5777 during the following times:
Monday, Thursday, Friday 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Tuesday, Wednesday 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM