Even with the nearly two-year-long coronavirus pandemic still raging in many parts of the United States, both the White House and Congress have not taken any meaningful steps to approve another round of stimulus checks to help financially struggling Americans.
However, it is an entirely different story at Navajo Nation, whose controller’s office confirmed it has finished processing and mailing hardship assistance stimulus checks to approximately 48,000 older tribal members, according to the Farmington Daily Times.
These particular stimulus checks, which amount to about $340 per eligible adult 60 years of age or older, are from funds left from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
“Many elders have already received the $342 check in the mail while other recipients can expect to receive theirs in the coming days,” a press release said.
The release also noted that the controller's office will prioritize issuing more hardship assistance checks from the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act to the older tribal members.
The Farmington Daily Times said that due to “federal guidelines and financial reporting requirements, the controller’s office was not able to combine the two amounts into one check for older tribal members.”
More Checks Heading Out
The Navajo Nation tribal council also approved issuing $2,000 checks to each qualified adult and $600 for each child. The earmarked funds will come from the $557 million in federal coronavirus relief money.
“It has been over eight months since President Joe Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act and our Navajo people should not suffer another day without knowing how their government will assist them as they suffer from grief, mental health and financial hardship,” Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty said in a statement.
Roughly 250,000 adults will each receive $2,000 checks. Parents or guardians of 95,000 tribal members under the age of eighteen will get $600 for each child.
States Get in Game
There are no national stimulus checks heading to those outside of Navajo Nation, but some states have taken action to disburse their own direct stimulus payments to residents on a smaller scale.
For example, California recently disbursed another round of Golden State stimulus checks of $1,100 to residents who earned less than $75,000 last year. Governor Gavin Newsom has hinted that even more stimulus payments could be approved.
Meanwhile, Indiana is giving back a chunk of the state’s current budget surplus to residents as a tax refund worth about $125. Minnesota recently announced a plan to provide $700 million in direct payments to state residents. This means that 2.7 million Minnesota households are in line to receive a $150 or $350 check.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.