Thousands of checks remain unclaimed in Navajo Nation hardship assistance program

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Approximately 7,500 checks have not been claimed in the Navajo Nation's Navajo Nation CARES Fund Hardship Assistance Program, the Office of the President and Vice President said in a news release on Dec. 13.

The program was created to help enrolled tribal members impacted financially by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Tribal members who applied and have not received a check, or did not cash one before it expired, are encouraged to contact the controller's office by 5 p.m. on Dec. 23, according to the release.

The release states that the controller's office can be reached by sending an email to rthompson@hardship.nnooc.org or wjames@hardship.nnooc.org; or by calling 928-871-6955 or 928-871-6271 or 928-871-6073.

"We strongly urge our people who applied, but have not received a relief check, to contact the Office of the Controller by Dec. 23," tribal President Jonathan Nez said in the release. "Unclaimed checks may be due to a change or error with a mailing address, an incomplete application or other issues. In accordance with federal requirements, all CARES Act dollars must be spent or obligated by the end of the calendar year."

More:Navajo Nation health officials recommend continuing COVID-19 precautions as Omicron variant studied

Funding for the hardship assistance program was through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Congress passed the act and President Donald Trump signed it into law in March 2020 to help state, local and tribal governments address issues related to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The deadline for governments to spend allocations provided through the CARES Act is Dec. 31.

Navajo Nation officials authorized two application periods for the hardship assistance program. Approximately 312,000 enrolled members have received assistance, according to the president's office news release.

More:San Juan County COVID-19 vaccine tracker: 57% of people fully vaccinatedIn November, Speaker Seth Damon introduced a bill to use part of the funding from the American Rescue Plan Act on infrastructure projects and another round of hardship assistance.

That bill remains in the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee. President Nez, Vice President Myron Lizer, division directors and council delegates meet earlier this month to review the spending proposal.

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