Delegates support proposal for additional hardship assistance program
FARMINGTON – The Council of the Navajo Nation has passed the bill to implement the second round of the tribe’s program to financially assist registered members with expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Delegates voted 23 for and zero against on June 25 to enact the second phase of the Navajo CARES Fund’s hardship assistance program, which is funded by the tribal allocation of the Federal Aid, Relief Act and economic security against coronaviruses.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has 10 calendar days after submitting the resolution to his office to sign, veto, or use his authority over the measure.
Navajo Nation Council amended bill to prioritize certain payments
While the intent of the bill is to help those who did not request the first round of payments, council amended the bill at the special session to prioritize payments to 1,865 applicants.
These people had submitted their applications before the deadline of November 30, 2020. Some encountered problems such as submitting proof of an Indian blood certificate because the registry office and the identification of the tribe has been closed due to the pandemic. Some have had their checks returned to the comptroller’s office due to issues with the US Postal Service.
Delegate Eugenia Charles-Newton, who called for the amendment, said these candidates should not be punished for actions beyond their control.
“This amendment that I am proposing, it only applies to 1,865 people who have not received their provident checks. Their names are in the system. They were approved but, again, because they may not have been able to submit their CIB or they could not verify their address, they did not receive a check, “said Charles-Newton.
The group would receive the same amount paid in the first round, up to $ 1,350 for adults and up to $ 450 for minors.
She added that there are approximately 9,000 names on a waiting list at the comptroller’s office, which is due to applications not delivered on time or errors on the application.
Acting Controller Elizabeth Begay clarified that the pool of 1,865 candidates is made up of:
• 1,378 applications submitted by the November 2020 deadline;
• 208 applicants awaiting payment;
• 279 claimants who have had checks returned by the postal service, and the comptroller’s office is working to reissue those payments.
Begay said the hardship assistance program had around $ 41.97 million for the second round, but $ 2.45 million would be needed to pay the 1,865 applicants the same amount given to adults. and minors in the first round.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for the Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at [email protected].
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