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Second payout from Cobell settlement expected in the fall

Filed Under: Cobell
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The second payment from the $3.4 billion Cobell trust fund settlement is expected this fall, Indian beneficiaries were told today.

The first payment of $1,000 went out in December. A total of 327,957 beneficiaries qualified for the historical accounting portion of the settlement, according to information presented during a webinar / conference call.

The second payment covers the trust administration portion of the settlement. This class is turning out to be a much larger group of people -- nearly 470,000 beneficiaries.

The minimum payment for the trust administration class is $800. Many people will receive more, based on the level of activity in their Individual Indian Money (IIM) account.

Most of the members of the historical accounting class are also in the trust administration class. But some Indian beneficiaries needed to submit claim forms to determine eligibility for the second payment.

Some 378,941 people, in fact, submitted claims by the March 1 deadline, according to information presented during the webinar. Determination letters were mailed to all of them on May 1.

Of those who sent in claims, 111,964 were deemed to be eligible for the trust administration class payment. Another 191,448 were told they need to submit more information.

Some 73,500 were claims submitted by the heirs of a deceased beneficiary. Another 1,002 were determined to be non-class members while 800 more were submitted too late or were excluded altogether.

Those who were told to submit more information must do so by July 1. A second determination will be mailed by August 1.

Those who wish to appeal the second determination must do so by September 4. Final decisions will be made by Richard A. Levie, a former federal judge who has been appointed as special master.

The timeline was established to give beneficiaries the "maximum opportunity" to prove they are members of the trust administration class, Jennifer M. Keough of the Garden City Group said on the webinar. The Garden City Group was appointed by the court to distribute the settlement.

The second payment won't go out until all of the class members are determined, Keough added.

The webinar / conference call lasted about 50 minutes. Audio can be found below:

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