Applications are open for the $26.6 million available to support essential workers and first responders through the Empire Pandemic Response Reimbursement Fund program.
The program, coordinated by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, is designed to reimburse out-of-pocket child or dependent care, transportation, lodging and other qualifying expenses that eligible workers incurred between March 1, 2020, through the date of application submission.
Up to $1,000 is available per household. The funding comes from private donations from individuals, charitable trusts and businesses.
“From day one of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York’s essential workers and first responders did their jobs so the rest of us could stay safe. Their brave and selfless service to New Yorkers will never be forgotten and we must ensure we support them in the midst of unique transportation, lodging and child care challenges,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday.
Qualifying applicants include first responders, health care workers and many multi-industry essential workers. Eligible workers can apply on their own or be referred to the application by employers, unions or social service providers who employed them during the COVID emergency. Families who earn up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level – or $125,470 for a family of four – are eligible to apply for the funds to cover expenses.