Navajo Nation ARPA hardship program team to visit Shiprock for return check drive

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation Office of the Controller will visit the Shiprock Chapter house this week to distribute ARPA hardship assistance checks that were returned to the office after initially being mailed.

"Due to the many hardship checks that were returned by the post office back to the Office of the Controller, the hardship team will be conducting check distribution to hardship recipients for their returned checks," the news release from the controller's office states.

The event is open to residents from the 19 chapters that make up the Northern Agency and will take place on May 5 and May 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Shiprock Chapter house.

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The news release states in order for team members to release checks, recipients must bring a copy of their Certificate of Indian Blood and a state-issued photo identification card.

"The hardship team will not print checks, only disburse returned checks," the release states.

Tribal members wait outside the building that houses the Navajo Nation Office of the Controller in Window Rock, Arizona on April 18 to visit the office for services related to the ARPA hardship assistance program.

In order to help ease the process, the controller's office provided to the Shiprock Chapter a list of names of recipients whose checks were returned.

Staff at the chapter house advise Northern Agency residents to call 505-368-1081 or 505-354-5021 to see if their name is on the list.

They also advise residents to prepare for long wait times when visiting the chapter house during the team's setup.

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The controller's office has disbursed 306,507 checks as of April 26, acting Controller Elizabeth Begay told the Budget and Finance Committee last week.

The hardship assistance is funded by $557 million from the total amount allocated to the tribe from the federal coronavirus relief package known as the American Rescue Plan Act.

The assistance was authorized by tribal leadership in January to help enrolled tribal members cover expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The amount approved was based on enrollment numbers at that time.

Begay told the committee that the enrollment figure has increased by approximately 25,000 since January.

Ron Duncan, program manager of the tribe's Office of Vital Records and Identification, said there are 405,195 enrolled members as of the week of April 18.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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