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Navajo Nation Council approves second round of pandemic hardship assistance payments

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The Navajo Nation Council on Wednesday passed emergency legislation allocating $557 million for a second round of hardship assistance checks.

More than 345,000 members of the tribe are eligible for the payments that are designed to provide help amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will pay up to 250,000 people 18 years and older a maximum of $2,000 each, and $600 each for up to 95,000 children.

The funds come from the federal American Rescue Plan, and Navajo leaders say it’ll help with grief, mental health, utilities and other financial hardship.

Those who applied for the first round of assistance payments don’t have to reapply.

The bill now goes to President Jonathan Nez’s desk.

As of two weeks ago, about 7,500 checks from the first round of the tribal program remained unclaimed.