Navajo Nation reports error in hardship assistance checks

January 28, 2021 GMT

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — About 120,000 checks have been issued to Navajo Nation members who applied for hardship assistance from the tribe because of the coronavirus, the tribe said.

That includes 370 checks that accidentally were duplicated and mailed. The Navajo Nation Office of the Controller announced the error Tuesday, a week after the first batch of checks was issued and blamed a printer server failure.

Controller Pearline Kirk said office personnel are planning to contact applicants affected by the error with more information. Staff will also void checks that haven’t been processed.


“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and urge members that have received multiple checks to refrain from attempting to present one or both for payment,” Kirk said in a statement. “This could result in financial loss for the member or check cashing facility, in addition to returned check fees as the duplicate payment will not be honored when presented.”

Kirk said the office is implementing additional quality control procedures to prevent it from happening again, including independently checking all batches of payments that are processed through an automated system.

The hardship assistance program is paid for by a portion of the $714 million the Navajo Nation received from a federal coronavirus relief bill. The applications processed overwhelmed the tribe, delaying initial payments.

Adults received up to $1,350 each and minors received up to $450 each from the program, tribal officials said. More than 200,000 people applied.