The Board of Directors wish all of our Shareholders and their families health and wellness during the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. This has been very difficult times for our Shareholders and we are pleased to announce an opportunity to provide financial grant support to relieve the burdens experienced from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), enacted on March 27, 2020, and amended on December 21, 2020 by the Consolidated Appropriates Act of 2021, established a Coronavirus Relief Fund (the “CARES Act Fund”) to help pay for unanticipated and necessary expenses related incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021. Approximately $450,000,000 of the CARES Act Fund was set aside for distribution to Alaska Native Corporations (“ANCs”).
The CARES Act imposed restrictions on how OHNC, and other Alaska Native Corporations, can use these funds. OHNC (and other Alaska Native Corporations) is specifically barred by law from distributing the CARES Act funds to the Shareholders as a dividend. Instead, OHNC can only use the CARES Act Funds to pay for, or reimburse, unbudgeted expenses that are necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Board of Directors appreciates the opportunity to provide this CARES Act assistance to you. We hope that this program will help you during these difficult and trying times
The CARES Act was passed by Congress on March 27, 2020, and appropriated $8 billion for Tribal governments to provide Coronavirus relief and response. In April 2020, the Department of Treasury determined that Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) were eligible to receive these funds because the fit the definition of “Indian tribe” adopted by the CARES Act and allocated $450 million to be divided among Alaska’s 12 regional corporations and nearly 200 village corporations. A lawsuit was filed by 18 federally recognized tribes challenging Treasury’s decision arguing that ANCs are not “Indian Tribes” under the CARES Act. On June 25, 2021, the United States Supreme Court affirmed what the Federal Government has maintained for almost half a century: Alaska Native Corporations are within the definition of “Indian tribes” under the Indian Self Determination Act of 1975 and therefore eligible to receive CARES Act funds. This means that OHNC is eligible to receive Coronavirus Relief Funds under the CARES Act, including a portion of the $450 million that has been divided amongst Alaska’s 12 regional corporations and nearly 200 village corporations.
OHNC will use a portion of the CARES Act funds to reimburse OHNC for necessary expenses that OHNC incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. OHNC will also provide assistance to Shareholders negatively impacted by COVID-19 through OHNC’s COVID Assistance Program.
The COVID Assistance Program will provide financial assistance to eligible Shareholders for expenses or losses that they incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic from March 1, 2020, through December 31, 2021, which have not already been reimbursed as part of a similar application for CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds or other federally-funded COVID-19-related assistance programs.
Shareholders of OHNC who are over 18.
The following is a general, non-exhaustive list of eligible expenses or losses:
Eligible shareholders who submit completed applications will receive a $1,500 financial assistance payment. Eligible shareholders with dependents can receive an additional $200 per dependent, up to a total additional amount of $600.
OHNC has also mailed a letter with a hard copy of the COVID Assistance Program application to all Shareholders. Please contact Brenda Collinge in Shareholder Relations with any questions.
November 19, 2021 at 5 PM
The Department of Treasury has regulations and guidance that govern how CARES Act funds can be used. These regulations specifically prohibit OHNC (and other Alaska Native Corporations) from issuing a special distribution to all Shareholders regardless of whether they have incurred losses or expenses due to COVID-19. OHNC can only provide direct financial assistance to Shareholders that have been negatively financially impacted by COVID-19. Therefore, OHNC must solicit applications from Shareholders in which the Shareholder certifies and documents their COVID losses or impacts in eligible categories prior to distributing any funds to the Shareholders.
OHNC Shareholders may be eligible to apply to other organizations for Coronavirus relief, including other Alaska Native Corporations and Alaska Native Tribes. However, any recipient of CARES Act funds cannot “double dip.” This means that you cannot apply for or receive funds from multiple organizations for the same loss or expense. For example, if you have an unbudgeted, unreimbursed medical expense due to COVID-19 that cost $4,000, you can apply to one organization to cover $1,400 of that expense and then apply to a second organization to cover the remaining $2,600. Once you receive $4,000 for that expense, you could not receive any additional CARES Act funds to cover that expense because it has already been reimbursed by the two organizations. However, if you had a separate, additional COVID-19 expenses, such as $200 spent on masks, you could seek reimbursement of that $200 from a third organization (or one of the first two organizations to which you applied) because that expenses has not yet been reimbursed by CARES Act funds.
The financial assistance provided by OHNC should not be taxable. However, OHNC does not make any representations or promises as to whether or not the financial assistance provided by OHNC is taxable in any particular instance. The recipient is responsible for payment of any taxes or fees associated with CARES Act relief payments.
The financial assistance provided by OHNC should not affect your eligibility to receive federal benefits. However, each federal program and individual position is different such that OHNC cannot make any representations or promises as to the impact that these assistance payments will have on individual Shareholders. You will need to determine the specific impact that payment may have your eligibility for federal welfare benefits.
Yes, non-voting Shareholders are eligible to apply.