TN 114 (10-11)

SI 00830.852 The Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (Cobell v. Salazar)

Citations:

Public Law 111-291

A. Introduction to the Claims Resolution Act of 2010

This section provides background, policy, documentation requirements, and instructions for how to exclude payments made under the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (also known as the Cobell v. Salazar Class Action Settlement).

B. Policy on the types of settlement payments

On December 8, 2010, President Obama signed the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. The Resolution Act requires the Federal government to pay $3.4 billion towards three specific funds.

1. The Trust Administration Adjustment Fund

This Fund will reimburse a large number of Individual Indian Money (IIM) account holders due to inadequate historical accounting of funds held in trust by the federal government. There are two types of settlement payments made through this Fund. An individual may receive one or both types.

  • Each Historical Accounting Class member will receive a per capita payment of $1,000 per person.

  • Each Trust Administration Class member will receive no less than a per capita payment of $500 per person. The average payment will be about $800. However, based on the amount of money a member received in his or her IIM account, the payment could be significantly larger than $800.

2. The Trust Land Consolidation Fund

Currently, many parcels of trust land have multiple owners, making it difficult for an individual owner to use or sell his or her land. This fund will allow individual Indians to sell their portion of jointly owned trust land to the Federal government. The Federal government will then turn the land over to individual Indian tribes.

3. The Indian Education Scholarship Holding Fund

This fund will improve access to higher education for Indian youth by providing scholarships. A portion of the Trust Administration Adjustment Fund and the Trust Land Consolidation Fund will finance this scholarship fund.

C. Eligibility requirements for settlement payments

To qualify for a lump sum or periodic settlement payment, an individual Indian must:

  • have been alive on September 30, 2009.

NOTE: Certain heirs to deceased class members also may be entitled to these payments; and

  • have or had an IIM account; or

  • show ownership of land held in trust or in restricted status.

Identifiable IIM account holders and individual Indian trust landowners will receive a Direct Class Notice regarding the settlement. Individual Indians the Government cannot locate will receive notification through the media as well as through efforts of Tribes, government agencies, or other organizations that can help disseminate the class notice. Individual Indians can self-identify or apply for inclusion by registering at Indian Trust . All claim requests must be submitted and postmarked by September 16, 2011

NOTE: Recipients may be entitled to more than one payment and may qualify for either a lump sum or periodic settlement payments until all claims are paid.

D. Policy for excluding the claims settlement payments

1. Income exclusion for Historical Accounting Class and Trust Administration Class payments

For purposes of determining eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), exclude these payments from income.

2. Resource exclusion for Historical Accounting Class and Trust Administration Class payments

For purposes of determining eligibility for SSI, exclude these payments from resource counting for 1 year from the date of receipt.

Example: A class member receives a settlement payment on 10/5/11. We exclude this money for one year (November 2011 through October 2012). If retained, the money would be a countable resource starting November 2012.

3. Individual Indian ownership interest in trust lands

The Trust Land Consolidation Fund is a buy-out program (see SI 00830.852B.2. in this section). The funds received from the sale of this land are not income but rather a conversion of a resource per SI 00815.200. Exclude funds received from sale of this land from resource counting for 1 year from the date of receipt. Funds retained longer than 1 year are countable as