ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Struggling New York State families will be getting some help with their back-to-school expenses, thanks to a $44.4 million federal pandemic grant to the state. Administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund will provide New Yorkers on Public Assistance with one-time payments of $214 for each child ages three to 17 and $150 for each child younger than three in their household.

Starting Aug. 12, OTDA will issue one-time payments of $214 to Public Assistance recipients who have a child between the ages of three and 17. In total, the agency will distribute about $39.3 million, which will provide benefits for roughly 184,000 children.

Simultaneously, OTDA will be handing out $150 to Public Assistance households for each child that is three years old or younger to help with infant nutrition costs. The agency anticipates distributing just over $5 million to about 34,300 eligible children.

“Hardworking New York families are still feeling the economic toll of the pandemic,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “As New Yorkers prepare to send their children back to school this fall, these one-time payments will help struggling families across the state pay for education supplies and other household expenses that may otherwise pose a burden on their household budget.”

The Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund was created as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 with the intention to help needy families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Per federal guidelines, the funding must be used for issuing non-recurring benefits to impacted households with children to deal with a specific short-term situation or need.

Public Assistance provides monthly grants to help low-income individuals and families meet basic needs, such as housing. This program helps more than 500,000 New Yorkers who may be temporarily unemployed or unable to work, as well as very low-wage workers and their children.