BSNC CARES Act Direct Assistance Program

CARES ACTBSNC CARES Act Direct Assistance Program

Please download the CARES Act Direct Assistance Program Checklist and Information below. Please read it before filling out and submitting your application.

The Bering Straits Native Corporation (BSNC) Board of Directors announced they have approved a CARES Act Direct Assistance Program (DAP) for eligible shareholders. In August, BSNC received $15 million in federal CARES Act funding and has developed the DAP to provide needs-based assistance directly to shareholders.

“Addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on Our People and within our communities is a top priority for BSNC,” said Board Chairman Henry Ivanoff. “This direct assistance will make a meaningful difference in the lives of our shareholders and their families, and we are excited to provide this program.”

BSNC shareholders who have shouldered extra expenses and/or the loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to apply for assistance under the DAP. Approved applicants who are shareholders on record as of Sept. 17 will receive a one-time payment of up to $2,000 paid in December.

“I’m grateful to the Board of Directors for approving this much-needed program, and to our BSNC staff for moving quickly to make it a reality,” said BSNC President & CEO Gail R. Schubert. “I strongly encourage shareholders to apply for direct assistance; this funding supports Our People as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Applications will go live on Sept. 24. in the MyBSNC shareholder portal. Shareholders can apply for the DAP funds through the My BSNC shareholder portal.  Shareholders are also encouraged to sign up for a MyBSNC account at https://shareholder.bsnc.net/home; those registered through MyBSNC will receive their funds faster via direct deposit. Paper applications will also be mailed to shareholders in the coming weeks. The deadline for all applications to be submitted is Oct. 29, 2021.

BSNC will continue to keep shareholders informed of progress and work related to these relief funds through regular communication channels, including the MyBSNC portal and on the website at: www.beringstraits.com/cares-act. If you have any questions, please email bsnccares@bsnc.net.

CARES Act 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. A number of 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 the 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. Through its subsidiaries, BSNC is proud to serve government customers and our nation’s military by providing optimal, reliable services to achieve mission success.

See the Supreme Court’s decision: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/20-543_3e04.

How much did BSNC receive from the CARES Act?

BSNC received its allocation of CARES Act funding in the amount of just under $15 million.

What is the BSNC CARES Act Direct Assistance Program (DAP)?

BSNC’s CARES Act Direct Assistance Program (DAP) is a program that allows BSNC to provide cash assistance directly to eligible BSNC 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.

Is there a period during which the financial hardships had to have occurred?

Yes. All financial hardships must have occurred between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021.

How much money am I eligible to receive?

Eligible shareholders qualify to apply for a one-time payment of up to $2,000.

Who qualifies as an eligible shareholder?

Eligible shareholders are defined as individuals that are 18 years or older and have held voting shares of BSNC stock as of, or before, Sept. 17, 2021. Minors (under age 18) that have held voting shares of BSNC stock as of, or before Sept. 17, 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.

Can a BSNC shareholder apply for a minor child?

Yes, if the minor child is a BSNC shareholder.

When is the application window?

Applications will be accepted beginning Sept. 24 through Oct. 29.

How do I apply?

To apply, visit the MyBSNC shareholder portal at https://shareholder.bsnc.net/home. If you have questions or need a paper application, email bsnccares@bsnc.net. Paper applications may be submitted by mail to Bering Straits Native Corporation, Attn: BSNC CARES Act Direct Assistance Program, 3301 C Street, Suite 400, Anchorage, Alaska 99503 or by email to bsnccares@bsnc.net. Each eligible shareholder should only submit one DAP application form and multiple adults cannot be listed on one application.

How will I know if my application was received?

Shareholders who submit an application online will receive an email from BSNC confirming receipt of their application within three weeks. Shareholders who mail in or drop off an application will receive a letter confirming receipt of their application within three weeks.

Are the funds paid on a first-come, first serve basis?

No, all complete applications received by the Oct. 29, 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 DAP 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 Alaska?

Yes. DAP funds are available to all shareholders who meet certain criteria, regardless of where they live, as long as the applicant is a U.S. citizen. Please note that direct deposit may not be available to individuals residing outside of the United States.

Am I eligible to receive more money if I’m an original BSNC enrollee and/or age 65 or older?

No. Regardless of your age, eligible applicants are all qualified to receive the same amount of cash assistance: A one-time payment of up to $2,000.  The exact amount of the distribution will depend upon the number of shareholders who apply but will not exceed $2,000.

I am a descendant. Do I still qualify?

No. At this time, the DAP is only available to eligible shareholders.

Will the DAP affect BSNC shareholder distributions made to beneficiaries of BSNC Settlement Trust?

No.

Is cash assistance from DAP considered a BSNC “special dividend”?

No. The DAP is funded through BSNC’s allocation of CARES Act funding. It is not a BSNC or BSNC Settlement Trust distribution or “special dividend.”

Is DAP cash assistance a loan or grant that I will need to repay?

No. As long as you can demonstrate unreimbursed negative financial hardship expenses from COVID-19 for the time period March 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021, the money is yours to keep.

Is DAP cash assistance a one-time program or will it be offered again in the future?

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 hardships” from COVID-19?

The DAP application lists a number of 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 lost his or her job, and already received payment or reimbursement from another source for that job loss, he or she may not claim the same loss a second time with BSNC.

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 BSNC 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 money?

Approved applications will receive payment on Dec. 7, 2021 if you have signed up for direct deposit. Otherwise your payment will be mailed on December 7, 2021. Please register for direct deposit through the MyBSNC shareholder portal at https://shareholder.bsnc.net/home.

How will my DAP money be paid?

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 record. Please register for direct deposit through the MyBSNC shareholder portal at https://shareholder.bsnc.net/home.  

Are there limits on how I may spend my DAP money?

No, DAP is reimbursement for expenses you previously incurred.

Will BSNC be mailing recipients 1099s for these payments?

No, 1099s will not be mailed.

Will DAP cash assistance impact eligibility to receive public/welfare assistance benefits?

Possibly, depending on your individual circumstances. Please consult with your program case worker or the appropriate agency. BSNC cannot offer advice about this.

I will turn 18 before the Oct. 29, 2021 Application Deadline. Can I apply after my birthday?

Yes.

In addition to being an eligible BSNC shareholder, I am also a shareholder or descendant of another Alaska Native corporation that is offering CARES Act cash assistance to individuals. Do I qualify for both programs?

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 $2,000 in increased utility costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic (such as higher internet, phone, electric or other costs associated with working from home), and those expenses were not otherwise paid or reimbursed, you could apply to receive $2,000 in DAP funds. However, you could not apply to have those same expenses reimbursed by another Alaska Native corporation.

Do I have to be enrolled in a federally recognized tribe in order to qualify?

No.

BSNC CORONAVIRUS INFORMATIONCOVID-19 Updates and News

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BSNC is headquartered in Nome, has a business office in Anchorage and site locations and offices across the U.S.
OUR LOCATIONSWhere to find us?
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Follow BSNC for news, updates, stories, and opportunities to share in this journey.
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