Tribe offers new programs to offset financial impact of COVID-19 health crisis

This article appeared in the August 2020 edition of the Chickasaw Times

The Chickasaw Nation has established new ways to assist citizens regarding the public health crisis. The tribe has received federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act intended to offset the financial impact of COVID-19.

The Chickasaw Nation COVID-19 Citizen Support Program was established to provide assistance to Chickasaw citizens who have experienced loss of income or other financial hardship resulting from unemployment, furlough or layoff or have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

More information can be found online at

Several types of assistance are available. Following is a breakdown to help citizens decide which relief best meets their needs.

Direct to citizen assistance packages

Chickasaw citizens living within the United States who certify they have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency may be eligible for direct financial assistance packages. Eligibility and required application documentation differ from program to program, though a W-9 will be required to be completed for each citizen receiving relief package funds.

Assistance packages include:

  • Economic support package provides supplementary economic support to the family of a Chickasaw citizen who has passed away due to COVID-19.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) assistance furnishes funds to purchase PPE and other necessary supplies needed to respond to COVID-19 to any citizen who has been negatively impacted by the public health emergency. Assistance can be requested as needed and is available once per month.
  • Student distance learning package offers a one-time allowance for technology tools, equipment and internet access to aid in distance learning. Funds are available to citizens who are attending school from home due to the pandemic. Elementary, secondary and post-secondary students are eligible.
  • Telework package offers a one-time allowance for technology tools, equipment and internet access to support work from home due to COVID-19.

To services and vendors on behalf of citizens

Some assistance through the Chickasaw Nation COVID-19 Citizen Support Program will be paid to the vendor on behalf of Chickasaw citizens, rather than directly to citizens.

Types of assistance in this category address needs in housing, telecommunication and child care, among others.

To meet eligibility requirements, applicants must be Chickasaw citizens age 18 or older who have experienced a loss of income or other financial hardship resulting from unemployment, furlough, reduced hours/compensation or layoff due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Eligibility also extends to employed Chickasaw citizens earning 150% or less than the National Poverty Guideline standards who have experienced a reduction in income, either through loss of hours worked or decrease in rate of pay due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Eligible applicants must reside within the United States.

The following methods of assistance will be paid directly to the vendor on behalf of the Chickasaw citizen: housing (rent/mortgage), emergency shelter, car payments, vehicle insurance, utilities, phone bills including cellphones, security deposits for housing and utilities, funding for mental health and counseling services, home health or over-the-counter medication, student loan assistance, home and car repairs, child care, displaced worker retraining assistance, toiletries, infant items, school supplies, appliances, COVID-19 quarantine, homelessness assistance, emergency financial assistance, food and fuel.

Those who need assistance are encouraged to apply online. Contact or call 580-272-5420 for more information.

Rental and Utility Assistance Grant

A one-time emergency assistance for rent and utility payments is available to citizens who meet income eligibility requirements and are facing financial challenges caused by the pandemic. Chickasaw citizens can contact a resource specialist at their local area office to learn how to apply for these funds.

At-large citizens can call the Oklahoma City area office at (405) 767-8971 for assistance. A complete list of area offices is available at

Chickasaw citizen-owned business support

The Chickasaw Nation COVID-19 Citizen Support Program also provides financial assistance for economic support in connection with the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Chickasaw-owned businesses can apply for financial assistance for reimbursement of costs associated with the pandemic. Some eligible expenses include: PPE for employees; sanitizing products; COVID-19 testing for employees; COVID-19 tracing technologies; telework capabilities; establishing public safety measures such as touchless systems, barriers, sneeze guards and other similar tools; facilitating distance learning and other technological improvements as well as portions of personnel and owner/self-employment compensation.

To be eligible for assistance, the business must:

  • Be majority-owned (at least 51%) and operated by one or more Chickasaw citizens
  • Be registered and in good standing with the Secretary of State and tribal government
  • Have less than 776 part- and/or full-time employees prior to March 1, 2020
  • Have been negatively impacted by COVID-19
  • Have a current DUNS number (check your status or apply through Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) at
  • Have an active registration on

The business grant application along with detailed requirements is available online at Contact (580) 310-7992 or for assistance.