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Posted: May 5, 2020

Treasury Releases Portion of Tribal Coronavirus Relief Fund

Coronavirus Relief Funds Meant for Tribes to Hit Bank Accounts

Today, May 5, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of the Interior announced they will be begin disbursements of a portion of the $8 billion meant for tribes under the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) allocated to tribes under Title V. of the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136). Over $4.8 billion of the original $8 billion will be released based on the format below. 

  • Distribute 60 percent of the $8 billion to Tribes based on population data used in the distribution of the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), subject to a floor of $100,000.  This data is based on U.S. Census figures and is already familiar to Tribal governments. 
  • Distribute the remaining 40 percent of the $8 billion based on the total number of persons employed by the Indian tribe and any tribally-owned entity, and further data to be collected related to the amount of higher expenses faced by the tribe in the fight against COVID-19. 
  • Payment to Tribes will begin today based on the population allocation, and will take place over several banking days.  Amounts calculated for Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act regional and village corporations will be held back until pending litigation relating to their eligibility is resolved. 
  • Payments to tribes based on employment and expenditure data will be made at a later date.  Treasury will work with Tribes to confirm employment numbers and seek additional information regarding higher expenses due to the public health emergency.

The Treasury Department has faced intense scrutiny over its handling of the CRF and the subsequent delay of payments to tribal governments as the law intended. The Treasury Department originally had until April 26, 2020 to disburse the full amount to tribal governments, but litigation surrounding the inclusion of ANCs halted the process.

Despite this, NAFOA will be working with the Treasury Department to ensure quick disbursement all of the CRF money to tribal governments to stem the complete loss of revenue from a contraction in the economy as a result of the COVID-19 crisis for government services.

This is an evolving issue and NAFOA will continue to provide updates. 

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