An open letter to the Tribal Membership:
UPDATE: W-9's are not due August 22, but Monday, September 10. W-9s will be due sometime closer to the distribution date; once information is available, the date will be announced. Direct Deposit forms are due August 22. Tribal Members are strongly encouraged to get the forms in to the Enrollment Office as soon as possible.
You are undoubtedly aware that the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes participated in a Trust case against the United States. The name of the Case was Nez Perce Tribe et al.V. KENNETH L. SALAZAR, Secretary of the Interior, el al. The case was settled by agreement on May 16, 2012. The United States first announced the settlement on April 11, 2012. Until the case was settled, Tribal officials were bound by a Court order to keep silent about the case. In the following weeks, the Tribal Council deliberated on the most appropriate use of the settlement funds in a process that included Tribal Council sponsored meetings in each district to solicit comments from the membership. Comments regarding the possible use of the funds were also requested from the membership through notices, articles in the Char-Koosta, and invites for written comments. Following that process the Tribal Council decided to pay out to the Tribal membership part of the total settlement funds. That payment to the membership will happen on September 12, 2012. Now the Tribal Council is in the process of deliberating over the use of the remainder of the funds. When we have a plan we will notify everyone.
These are exciting times for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. We have an opportunity as individuals and as an organization to do more than ever to protect and enhance our future. During this time if there is anything we can assist you with or if we can answer any questions please do not hesitate to ask.
There are some issues that Tribal members may want to address if they are recipients of any of the services provided by Tribal Departments. The payment may put you or your family income above the threshold for qualifying for some services. If you receive any of these services, and if you are concerned with the potential impact to your services, we advise you to be in contact with the relevant program.
We have also included information about taxability and a requirement for a W-9 form. We also encourage everyone who does not have a bank account to establish one and urge everyone to consider applying for Direct Deposit. (The deadline to establish direct deposit for the September 12 check is August 22)
Department of Human Resource Development (DHRD)
TANF (Welfare): The resource limit is $3,000. The Department recommends that you close your TANF case in the month of the payment and reopen it at a later date.
Child Care: The resource limit is 125 percent of Poverty.
Kerr Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Since the payment is being made prior to October, the payout should not affect your energy assistance under LIHEAP.
WIA: The payout would affect you if it puts your income over the $13,513 income limit. As with other programs we recommend that you contact the program if you have any questions.
Commodities: The payout will be counted in the month received and as a resource in months after. Please check with the program.
General Assistance(GA): The resource limit is $2,000. The payout will be counted every month that the balance is over $2,000.
Trust Management: Same as GA.
Federal regulations establish that the first $2,000 is excluded from being counted toward the family income for the year. The payout could cause your rental or mutual help payment to increase. We recommend that you contact housing if you have questions about your situation.
The payout will be counted as a resource if you apply for Federal Financial Aid (PELL) or the Tribal Scholarship. These programs are based on need. We recommend that you contact the Education Department if you have questions about your situation.
On June 13, 2012, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued national policy guidance to its regional and field offices instructing technicians that for the purposes of determining eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicare Part D Extra Help, per capita payments received by individual tribe members under this settlement agreement are excludable from income and resources.
The Settlement funds will be considered taxable income to the recipient in the year paid. The Tribal Council is working hard with the Department of Justice, Department of Interior and Treasury to get an exemption from taxes. We will notify everyone if we get the exemption approved.
Each Tribal member who receives a check is required to submit to the Tribal Enrollment Office a W-9 Form before a check will be issued. (See related article by clicking here)
The Tribal Council strongly urges everyone to set up a bank account before the payments are sent out. This will make it easier for you to get your checks cashed. You may set up an account at a bank of your choice but if you do not set up an account you may only be able to cash your check at Eagle Bank and, by regulation, they will be required to fill out a number of forms before they can cash your check. Please check with the bank ahead of going there to verify what information you may need to have with you. You will make it easier if you open a bank account before the payment is made.
When you set up an account, you will also make it easier if you set up a direct deposit. This can be done by filling out the proper form prior to the payment. These forms are available at the Tribal Administration Enrollment Office. The last date for filing a direct deposit form is August 22. Get the form by click here.
In closing, The Tribal Council offers our most sincere best wishes and prayers for a happy and safe end of summer for you and your family. If we can be of assistance please feel free to contact us now or in the future.