COVID-19: Tribal Resources Made Available Through the CARES Act
Tribes are included in the historic $2 trillion
A component of the United States’ health and economic uncertainty due to the
COVID -19 pandemic is the impact in Indian Country. Actions taken by Indian
Nations and tribal communities to combat the novel virus include the
shutdown of tribal businesses and the further straining of healthcare and
social services resources.
As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act,
tribal governments, tribal entities, and agencies serving Indian Country can
take part in the historic $2 trillion stimulus package signed by the
President on March 27, 2020.
Below is a breakdown of the relief available to Indian Country:
$8 billion for Tribal governments out of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief
Fund for states and local governments
The Act sets up a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for State,
Tribal, and Local governments and reserves $8 billion for Tribal governments
and Tribally-owned entities and states, which the Department of Treasury will
distribute after consultation with the Tribes and the Department of the
In addition to the $8 billion reserve, the Act also provides the following:
$453 million through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), in order to
Aid to tribal governments;
Welfare assistance and social service programs;
Public safety and emergency response capabilities;
BIA capacity for teleworking and increased staffing to assist tribes.
$70 million to $96 million for Indian Child Care Development Block Grants to ensure
continued payments to child care providers during center closures and to
provide emergency child care for health care workers, emergency responders,
and other COVID-19 workers.
$69 million to the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) for response needs at BIE-funded
schools. BIE-funded programs will receive a 0.5% ($153.75 million) set-aside
for staffing, transportation, teleworking, and cleaning activities and
assistance for tribal colleges and universities.
$1.032 billion to the Indian Health Service (IHS) in critically needed
resources to support tribal healthcare systems, including tribally operated
and urban Indian health care facilities, during the COVID-19 pandemic in
order to provide medical services, equipment, supplies and public health education;
purchased/referred care; and resources for telehealth services, electronic health records improvement,
and disease surveillance by tribal epidemiology centers.
$125 million in grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
for tribal prevention, preparation, and response to the coronavirus.
$15 million to tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health
organizations, and tribal health or behavioral health providers to respond
to the coronavirus.
$15 million under the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for
tribal COVID-19 response.
$25 million to Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program for
initial equipment (e.g., video conferencing equipment, computers) that
operate via telecommunications to rural end-users of distance learning and
telemedicine. Tribes are eligible for the DLT grants.
Extension of the Special Diabetes Program for American Indians mandatory
authorization at FY2020 levels ($150 million per year) through November
Tribal Food Assistance and Nutrition
$100 million for Food Distribution Programs in Indian Country to distribute
USDA commodity foods.
$20 million for the delivery of nutrition services to American Indians,
Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian elders through the Older Americans Act
Tribal Nutrition program.
$200 million for the Native American Housing Assistance and Self
Determination Act (NAHADSA) Block Grant program with a formula designed to
assist Tribally Designated Housing Entities most in need of funding related
to COVID-19 response.
$100 million is included for Indian Community Development Block Grants to
respond to COVID-19 in tribal communities.
Unemployment Relief for Tribes
Provides payment to Indian tribes for half of the costs they incur through
December 31, 2020 to pay unemployment benefits.
Tribal Businesses Eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans
For “a tribal small business concern,” as described in section 31(b)(2)(C)
of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C.
657a(b)(2)(C)), with not more than 500
employees, the opportunity to apply for a PPP loan of up to $10 million to
cover payroll support (salaries), paid sick or medical leave, insurance
premiums, and certain operating costs such as mortgage, rent, and utility
Sacks Tierney has qualified Indian Law attorneys here to answer your
questions about these provisions and to help guide your tribal government,
entities, and businesses if you wish to apply for and obtain any of the
assistance available through the CARES Act.
See our other articles on government action
related to the COVID-19 pandemic.