Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the distribution of $44.4 million in federal pandemic funding to help struggling New Yorkers with children to cover back-to-school and early life nutritional expenses. Administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund will provide New Yorkers on Public Assistance with one-time payments of $214 for each child ages 3 to 17 and $150 for each child younger than 3 in their household.
“Hardworking New York families are still feeling the economic toll of the pandemic,” Governor Hochul
Starting Aug. 12, OTDA will issue one-time payments of $214 to Public Assistance recipients who have a child between the age of 3 and 17. In total, the agency will distribute approximately $39.3 million, which will provide benefits for roughly 184,000 children.
Simultaneously, OTDA will be distributing $150 to Public Assistance households for each child that is 3 years old or younger to assist them with infant nutrition costs. The agency anticipates distributing $5.1 million to roughly 34,300 eligible children.
The Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund was created as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 with the intention to assist needy families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Per federal guidelines, the funding must be usedfor 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 children.
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, “For families already struggling to make ends meet, the cost of education supplies and other school-related purchases can create significant financial stress for families sending their children back to school in the fall. These one-time payments will help cover these expenses for Public Assistance households at a time when so many of them are still coping with the negative economic effects of the pandemic.”
Representative Brian Higgins said, “We saw with the advanced Child Tax Credit payments, the critical difference additional resources can mean for struggling families. Governor Hochul’s leadership in allocating this federal funding directly to families who need it most will help put food in lunchboxes, supplies in backpacks, and clothes and shoes on students as they start the new school year.”
Representative Adriano Espaillat said, “It’s more critical than ever we support New York families struggling to meet daily challenges — especially as communities continue to recover from the pandemic and as children and families begin the new school year. I am grateful to Governor Hochul for allocating this additional Congressional pandemic funding, which I helped to advance, to support some of the most vulnerable residents across my district. These additional payments will support households across our state by helping cover monthly expenses and ensuring that our children are prepared for the coming school year.”
The Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund has already helped hundreds of thousands of low-income New Yorkers with their essential needs. In February, OTDA tapped roughly $19 million from the fund to provide households enrolled in Public Assistance or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program with $140 for each child age 3 or under to defray the cost of diapers.
In April, the fund provided $730 in food benefits to more than 28,000 multi-generational households. These one-time payments helped about 31,500 adults over the age of 55, providing about $21.3 million to families throughout the state.
In May, families on Public Assistance with a child 17 or younger in their household received a payment of $250 from the fund to help pay for housing expenses, bills, and other critical needs. Roughly 110,000 households received payments totaling more than $27 million, which assisted more than 216,000 children.
OTDA also worked with the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence to provide financial assistance through the fund to support low-income survivors of domestic violence. As a result of this effort, the agency was able to provide $12.5 million to help domestic violence survivors and their families.