Shareholders

Sitnasuak CARES ACT 2020 Direct Assistance Program

Shareholders impacted by COVID-19 can apply for up to $2,500
Extended deadline to apply is December 3, 2021. For Shareholders who had applied on or before November 5, 2021 distributions will be made by November 19, 2021. All others will be distributed mid-December.

On September 16, 2021, The Sitnasuak Native Corporation (SNC) Board of Directors announced that they have approved CARES Act funds to be directed to Shareholders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through the SNC CARES Act Direct Assistance Program. In August, SNC received $5.96 million in CARES Act funds and they will provide financial assistance to eligible SNC Shareholders who have incurred necessary expenditures from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All SNC Shareholders as of the record date of September 16, 2021 are eligible and encouraged to apply for up to $2,500. The program is subject to the requirements of the CARES Act and all other applicable laws and guidance from the United States Department of the Treasury.

Applications will go live in early October in the MySNC Shareholder portal. Shareholders can apply for the program funds through the MySNC Shareholder portal. If you are not enrolled yet, we encourage Shareholders to enroll in the MySNC Shareholder portal, which will be the most efficient method to apply and receive payment. Please ensure that your contact information, such as your email address, physical mailing address and cell phone number, are current in the MySNC portal. If you are unable to enroll in the MySNC portal, paper applications will be available to download or to pick up from the Nome or Anchorage SNC offices. Those registered through the MySNC portal will receive their funds faster via direct deposit.

SNC will continue to keep Shareholders informed of progress related to these relief funds through regular communication channels, including the MySNC portal and on the website at: www.snc.org/cares-act. If you have any questions, please email caresact@snc.org.

Program Details and Applications

The Sitnasuak Native Corporation Direct Assistance Program (the “Direct Assistance Program” or “DAP”) provides eligible Sitnasuak Native Corporation Shareholders with financial assistance (a “COVID Assistance Grant”) for necessary expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021 that have not already been reimbursed by any other CARES Act Relief Funds or other federally-funded COVID-19-related assistance programs.

Eligibility. Sitnasuak Native Corporation Shareholders are eligible to receive a COVID Assistance Grant if they incurred unreimbursed, unbudgeted and necessary expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021. *SNC encourages Elders and Shareholders to contact and consult with their program case worker or the appropriate agency. You can find a local assistance resource page for contact information to your respective program or agency here

Financial Assistance. The COVID Assistance Grant will be in the form of reimbursement to the Eligible Applicant for unreimbursed, unbudgeted and necessary expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021. The amount of the COVID Assistance Grant will be provided based on the COVID-19 impacts attested within the application. Sitnasuak Native Corporation retains the sole discretion to determine the amount of any COVID Assistance Grant that will be provided to an Eligible Applicant, up to a maximum of $2,500.

Eligible Expenses. Any COVID Assistance Grant may only be used for eligible expenses, which were (or are) necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021 and are not being reimbursed (or have not already been reimbursed) by other COVID-19 response relief funds, such as unemployment, PPP, IRS-issued Economic Impact Payments, state or city COVID-19 relief funds, Tribal CARES Act funds or other Native Corporation CARES Act funds. The following is a general, non-exhaustive list of eligible necessary expenses:

  • Unreimbursed medical expenses related to COVID-19.
  • Personal care items (Personal Protective Equipment such as masks, sanitizer, hygiene products, etc.).
  • Quarantine costs (cleaning supplies, medical supplies, equipment, etc.).
  • Groceries for food security during the pandemic, including food shipping/delivery costs.
  • Transportation costs related to testing, procedures or treatment related to COVID-19.
  • Payment of rent or mortgage (to avoid eviction or foreclosure, etc.).
  • Home-related costs for sanitary and safe living conditions, such as air quality improvements.
  • Utility costs such as electricity, gas, propane, water, firewood, internet, phone, etc.
  • Expenses for telework or distance-learning, including internet and related equipment and fixtures (computers, modems, monitors, desks, etc.).
  • Dependent care (childcare, food, homeschooling and other care supplies, etc.) due to school closures or other impacts due to COVID-19.
  • Other necessary expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deadline to Submit Application. Applications may be submitted via the online application portal, emailed to caresact@snc.org, mailed, or dropped off between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Sitnasuak Native Corporation offices in Anchorage and Nome. The office addresses are: 2700 Gambell Street, Suite 300, Anchorage, AK 99503 and (physical) 214 Front Street, 2nd Floor, Nome, AK 99762 or (mailing) PO Box 905, Nome, AK 99762. A completed and signed application has been extended and must be received by 5:00 p.m. Alaska time on or before the extended deadline of December 3, 2021. If the application is approved, the COVID Assistance Grant will be mailed via check or direct deposited per the mailing address and banking information located in the MySNC Portal.

Apply Now!

FAQs


What is the CARES Act?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or (CARES Act), was passed by Congress on March 27, 2020. This bill allotted $2.2 trillion to provide fast and direct economic aid to the American people negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act reserved $8 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) for payments to Tribal governments

Why did it take so long for Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) to receive the funds?
In April 2020, the U.S. Department of Treasury determined that ANCs were eligible to receive relief under Title V of the CARES Act, and the Department set aside a portion of the $8 billion for payment to ANCs. Several federally recognized tribes subsequently challenged this determination, arguing that ANCs were not eligible for Title V payments because (1) ANCs do not meet the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act’s definition of “Indian tribe,” and (2) ANCs are not or do not have a “recognized governing body” of an Indian tribe.

What decision ruling did the Supreme Court make in Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of Chehalis Reservation, et.al.?

On June 25, 2021, in Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, the Court ruled that ANCs are “Indian tribes” under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 and are therefore eligible to receive certain COVID-19 relief funds made available under Title V of the CARES Act. The U.S. Treasury said it would allocate nearly $443.9 million to ANCs, which include 12 regional corporations and more than 200 village corporations. The amount allocated to ANCs is less than 6 percent of the total allocated for Tribal relief.

This ruling also safeguards ANCs’ economic self-determination by protecting our ability to participate in the Native 8(a) Program, which operates in tandem with the U.S. SBA 8(a) Business Development Program.

See the Supreme Court’s decision: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/2020/20-543_hgci.pdf


How much did Sitnasuak Native Corporation receive from the CARES Act?
SNC received its allocation of CARES Act funding in the amount of $5.96 million.

How much money am I eligible to receive as a Shareholder?
All eligible shareholders qualify to apply for a one-time payment of up to $2,500.

What is the SNC CARES Act Direct Assistance Program?
SNC’s CARES Act Direct Assistance Program (“DAP”) is a program that allows SNC to provide cash assistance directly to eligible SNC shareholders who experienced extra expenses and/or loss of income related to the COVID-19 pandemic that have not been paid by or reimbursed by any other Alaska Native corporation, CARES Act Program or federal, state, tribal or local government. This program is funded through the corporation’s allocation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding from the federal government.

Who qualifies as an eligible Shareholder?
Eligible shareholders are defined as individuals that are 18 years or older and have held voting shares of SNC stock as of, or before, Sept. 16, 2021. Minors (under age 18) that have held voting shares of SNC stock as of, or before Sept. 16, 2021, also qualify, but their applications must be filled out and signed by a legal parent or guardian that is at least 18 years or older.

When is the application window?
Applications will be accepted beginning October 1, 2021, through November 5, 2021.

How do I apply for the DAP funds?
To apply, visit the MySNC shareholder portal at https://shareholder.snc.org/home. There are two options – logging into the MySNC portal or through the Direct Assistance Program application link. If you go through the MySNC portal, the application will pre-populate your personal information. If you have questions or need a paper application, email caresact@snc.org. Paper applications may be submitted by mail to Sitnasuak Native Corporation, Attn: SNC Direct Assistance Program, 2700 Gambell Street, Suite 300, Anchorage, Alaska 99503 or by email to caresact@snc.org. You may also make an appointment at either the Nome or Anchorage SNC office locations to drop off your application with the Shareholder departments. Each eligible shareholder should only submit one application form and multiple adults cannot be listed on one application.

What does self-certification mean on the application? Will I need to submit receipts for reimbursement?
Self-certification is attesting that the information you are providing is true and accurate. SNC will not be requesting receipts, but you should keep them for your records for a period of five years. Per the federal government, use of the CARES Act funding paid through SNC must be directly connected to the COVID-19 pandemic to assist our Shareholders. It is possible that the government will audit recipients of CARES funds and request proof of your expenses.

In addition to being an eligible SNC Shareholder, I am also a Shareholder of another Alaska Native Corporation that is offering CARES Act assistance to individuals. Do I qualify for their program too?
It depends. The important thing to remember is that you cannot “double-dip.” In other words, you cannot apply for financial assistance from multiple sources and claim the same expenses. As an example, if you incurred $3,000 in increased utility costs and childcare assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic and those expenses were not otherwise paid or reimbursed, you could apply to receive $2,500 in DAP funds from SNC and $500 from another Alaska Native corporation that has the same type of direct assistance program. However, you could not apply to have those same expenses reimbursed by another Alaska Native corporation.

Are the funds paid on a first-come, first serve basis?
No, all complete applications received by the November 5, 2021, deadline are eligible to receive payment. Complete applications will be processed in the order they are received. To receive funds, approved applicants must be alive on the date of distribution of the payment. Failure to submit the required information will delay processing and may cause the application to be denied.

Is there an age requirement for applicants?
Yes. Shareholders are eligible to apply if they are at least 18 years of age. Minor shareholders may apply by having a parent or legal guardian that is 18 years or older submit their application on their behalf.

Can I apply if I live outside of Alaska and the region?
Yes. The funds are available to all shareholders who meet certain criteria, regardless of where they live, if the applicant is a U.S. citizen. Please note that direct deposit may not be available to individuals residing outside of the United States.

I am a descendant of an SNC Shareholder. Do I qualify for the DAP program?
No. Currently, the funds are only available to eligible shareholders.

Will the DAP affect SNC Shareholder distributions made to beneficiaries of the SNC Settlement Trust?
No. Distributions to Shareholders will be a separate payment.

By applying for funds under the DAP program, is this considered a “special dividend”?
No. The DAP is funded through SNC’s allocation of CARES Act funding. It is not a SNC or SNC Settlement Trust distribution or “special dividend.”

Is the DAP assistance a loan or grant that I will need to repay?
The DAP is a one-time program for as long as funds last and applicants can only apply once.

What does it mean to have experienced “negative financial hardship” from COVID-19?

The DAP application lists several categories of potential financial hardships. Applicants are required to check the boxes corresponding to COVID-related financial impacts they have experienced that have not been paid or otherwise reimbursed by another Alaska Native Corporation, CARES Act program, or federal, state, tribal, or local government. For example, if an applicant received reimbursement from another source, like the regional Corporation, Bering Straits Native Corporation, he or she may not claim the same loss a second time with SNC.

All applicants must certify that the expense or financial hardships for which assistance is sought have not been otherwise accounted for or reimbursed.

Receipts are not required to be submitted; however, applicants must agree to maintain reasonable documentation of the expenses for which DAP funds are received for at least five years and, upon reasonable request, to assist SNC during that five-year period by providing copies of documentation and any other information necessary to verify the expenses.


When can I expect to receive my DAP funds?
Approved applications will receive payment between November 17-19, 2021. if you have signed up for direct deposit. Otherwise, your payment will be mailed on November 19, 2021. Please register for direct deposit through the MySNC shareholder portal at https://shareholder.snc.org/home.

How will my DAP funds be paid?
Please register for direct deposit through the MySNC shareholder portal at https://shareholder.snc.org/home which will be the most efficient way to receive the funds. Approved payments will be mailed in check form to the address on file with the Shareholder Department or direct deposited. If your mailing address has changed, please check the box on the application that says it is a new address and the Shareholder Department will update your records.

Will child support or other mandatory deductions that I normally have taken out of my Settlement Trust dividends be taken as a deduction from the DAP funds?
* CORRECTION: Yes, based upon information from the US Treasury Department, CARES Act payments remain subject to Child Support Withholding Orders. Therefore, SNC must continue to apply the Orders and withhold the indicated amount.

SNC apologizes for any confusion the prior response may have caused.


Are DAP fund payments considered taxable income?
The tax consequences of receiving funds under this program, if any, depend on individual circumstances. According to the federal government, these CARES Act funds are generally not taxable to individuals. However, if you apply for and receive payment from the DAP program, you would be responsible for payment of any taxes or fees associate with any assistance provided pursuant to the Federal CARES Act funding. Please consult with a tax advisor. SNC cannot offer tax advice.

Will DAP fund payments impact eligibility to received public / welfare assistance benefits?
Possibly, depending on your individual circumstances. Please consult with your program case worker or the appropriate agency. SNC cannot offer advice about an individual’s benefits although you can view SNC’s local programs flyer to identify and contact your appropriate agency.

What if my application is denied?

SNC could deny your application for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Inaccurate or incomplete information on the application.
  • Newly turned 18-year-old who had an application submitted under a legal guardian.
  • No signature on the paper application that was submitted.

Note: If your application is denied, someone will reach out to you as soon as possible to discuss how to remedy your application in time for you to re-submit it for funding.