WINDOW ROCK, AZ – The Navajo Nation Office of the Controller began the process of distributing CARES Act Hardship Assistance checks for over 48,000 enrolled members of the Navajo Nation who are 60 years and older and previously received the Hardship Assistance to help mitigate the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the high volume of recipients, it will take several days to process and distribute the payments. Each recipient will be receiving a check in the mail in the amount of approximately $342.
The CARES Act Hardship Assistance funds were approved by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer on Dec. 30, 2021, through Resolution CD-61-21. Navajo Nation leaders and health officials are urging recipients to use the funds for essential items such as food, utilities, fire wood and PPEs.
“We have to remember that we are in the midst of a large surge in COVID-19 infections here on the Navajo Nation due to the Omicron variant,” said President Nez. “Please do not overcrowd post offices, banks, and other financial institutions and please do not crowd border towns, where the Omicron variant is much more prevalent. If you have elders in your family, please take it upon yourself to caution your parents and grandparents and urge them to take precautions and use the funds for essential services and items to help push back on COVID-19. Please be very cautious and do your best to stay home as much as possible.”
Elders are not required to re-apply for the funds, if they previously received Hardship Assistance through the CARES Act in 2020 or last year.
“We are helping our grandmas and grandpas who often rely on a fixed monthly income and many who continue to struggle financially due to the pandemic,” said Vice President Lizer. “As the CARES Act Hardship Assistance funds are distributed and received, we must do everything we can to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. Please take precautions, use the funds locally and help support the ‘Buy Navajo, Buy Local’ initiative.”
On Jan. 4, President Nez and Vice President Lizer also signed a separate resolution approving Hardship Assistance through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to provide financial relief for the Navajo people, to help mitigate the devastating effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will provide $2,000 in hardship assistance for adults, who are age 18 years and older on or before Jan. 4, 2022, and $600 for minors, who are enrolled members of the Navajo Nation.