ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – 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.

The Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund will provide New Yorkers on Public Assistance with a one-time payment of $214 for each child between the ages of 3 and 17, plus $150 for each child younger than 3 in their household. The funds will be administered via the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).

The payments were expected to be released beginning Friday. In total, the agency will distribute about $39.3 million, which will provide benefits for roughly 184,000 children.

The payments of $150 per each child under 3 are meant to help with infant nutrition costs, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office. OTDA 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,” Hochul said in a statement on Thursday. “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. It’s meant to help low-income 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 address 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. 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, benefit from the program.