By Joe Morey
LCO Chairman Louis Taylor stated Monday, Nov. 9, that any tribal families who are still waiting on the CARES Act distribution checks for their children may contact his office for help. He said there are many families expressing their frustration on Facebook claiming they are calling and leaving messages with tribal office officials regarding the checks and those messages are going unanswered.
On June 1, the LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) approved a $1,000 payment to tribal members and $500 to their children who live on the reservation or within Sawyer County, the service area for the Tribe, but the following week they extended the payment to every tribal member on the membership rolls, including children.
At their weekly meeting, the TGB briefly discussed the comments on Facebook which included statements by some parents that they received checks for one child but not another. There were a couple people in the council meeting who said they had yet to see a check for their children.
Some of the comments suggested the payments that had been distributed didn’t start reaching parents until October. They questioned why checks weren’t sent out sooner for all the kids they had correct information for such as living arrangements and addresses.
Taylor said he didn’t understand why there was such a long delay. LCO Tribal Judge Elaine Smith was in the meeting room and stated that the Tribal Court did what they were supposed to do on their end over two months ago regarding kid’s checks. Any hold-up at this point has nothing to do with the court and deciding where checks should go when children aren’t in the home.
When the TGB approved the distribution they wanted to insure that payments for children were distributed to the family member or foster parent actually taking care of each child. This process was expected to take some time but in discussion, it was clear they didn’t expect it to take this long.
“We need to get these checks out to these families right away,” Taylor stated. “Some of these families are in serious need and that money will help them.”
TGB Member Gary “Little Guy” Clause added they should be distributed at the tribal office immediately and not sent out through the mail. He stated the checks right now are sitting in a box in an office.