The General Assistance program is funded through the Bureau
of Indian Affairs and administered through Human Services in the Family
This program is a financial assistance service for eligible Indian
families to address essential living needs.
Assistance is based on welfare payment standards and is considered a
secondary resource to the Department of Human Services TANF program and Social
Security SSI program. Families who are
eligible for TANF and SSI are required by federal regulations to apply and
comply with their guidelines and requirements.
When families are not eligible for the General
Assistance program or any other program within Family Assistance, then they are
referred to other agencies. The Family
Advocates are social workers who work closely with other agencies on a daily
basis to keep updated with their programs, eligibility guidelines and
availability of funds. Referrals may be made to other agencies by sending a
referral form to the other agency on behalf of the family. Family Assistance
Offices and hours of operation are listed in a downloadable document at the
bottom of this page
To be eligible for this program, families must meet
eligibility standards developed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (CFR 25, Part
20). The basic eligibility is as follows:
Must be a member of a
Live within the Cherokee Nation
jurisdiction for the past six months.
Not have sufficient resources to meet
the essential living needs.
Additional eligibility criteria could
be required based upon family situation.
Cannot receive General Assistance from
another tribe concurrently while receiving General Assistance from the Cherokee
Nation. Documentation is required for
all eligibility elements before assistance can be rendered.
Tribal Emergency Assistance (TEA)
In 2004, the Human Services Group/Health Services was
allocated funds from the Cherokee Nation Council to administer an Emergency
Assistance program. This program was
designed for families whose needs or request cannot be met through any other
The program in Human Services was designed and approved by
the council to assist families in the time of imminent need. Imminent need is
defined as basic needs of an individual or family that if not addressed
immediately within 24-48 hrs. or less may result in hunger, loss of shelter,
medical peril, job loss or family breakdown.
The program in Health Services was designed to help
those with medical emergencies for transportation, lodging and related costs,
medication, medical equipment or supplies.
An applicant must meet all the following criteria before an
emergency assistance payment can be processed for the household.
A household applying for assistance
must have at least one member that is a Cherokee Nation citizen. If, however,
the family has already received assistance from another tribe, the family will
be referred back to that tribe for further assistance.
Applicants live within the Cherokee
Household income may not exceed income
eligibility standards developed by the Cherokee Nation.
Applicants must not qualify for, or
have exhausted eligibility for other services from existing Cherokee Nation
programs or any federal, state, local or other tribe’s resources and/or
This program is requested through the Family Advocates
in each area and can only be accessed one time.
All applications are approved by a Manager in each department and final
approval is through Human Services Executive Director.
The Cherokee Nation currently administers a
burial assistance program funded through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and
the Cherokee Nation. This program is designed to relieve or totally eliminate
the financial hardship associated with traditional funeral cost for indigent
impoverished or low income families with little or no resources. The program
shall make available two (2) burial assistance options for eligible families to
select from. Eligible families must select one of the funeral homes that have
an active contract with the Cherokee Nation. This program is not an entitlement
program, meaning that being a member of the Cherokee Nation or any other
Federally Recognized Tribe does not automatically make a person eligible for
benefits under this program.
The deceased must be a member of a
federally-recognized tribe, verified by a tribal membership card (a blue card
for Cherokee Nation citizens). A white CDIB card is not proof of membership and
will not be accepted.
The deceased must have been a resident
of the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction for six months prior to date of death.
The deceased and his or her immediate
family many not have resources (life insurance, veteran’s benefits, cash,
savings accounts, etc.) exceeding $2,500.00.
The deceased and his or her immediate
family may not have income for the previous month greater than 150% of the
National Poverty Level income standards.
For example: For a household of
two, income cannot exceed $2,003.00 for the previous month or $24,030.00 for
the past twelve months.
The family must select a funeral home
included on the list of those having an active burial contract with the
Cherokee Nation. (See the downloadable
document found at the bottom of this page).
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO APPLY
Residential verification that the
deceased has lived within the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction for the past six
months. The document must verify the physical location of the residence
(utility bill or a rent receipt with the physical location listed), Department
of Humans Service statement, statement from a nursing home, 911 statements or
any other document including a physical address.
Tribal Membership card (a white CDIB
card will not be accepted as proof of tribal membership).
Proof of income for the previous twelve
months for the deceased and his or her immediate family. Verification documents include, but are not
limited to: pay stubs, copies of benefit
checks if they cover the previous twelve months, benefit award letters, etc.
Proof of all available financial
resources including but not limited to:
bank statements, savings account statements, life insurance police,
veterans benefits statements, etc.
Social Security Card
This option is restricted to eligible Cherokee Nation Tribal
Members and if selected, the service will be paid in full (less any available
family resources) by the Cherokee Nation, totally eliminating the eligible
family of any financial burden normally associated with funeral expense.
This service is very limited and cannot be altered in any
way. The service shall provide at minimum a 20 gage steel casket, concrete
outer container/grave liner (non-biodegradable), tent and cemetery set up,
memorial package, one death certificate, burial notice in local paper and the
traditional professional service provide by the contracted funeral home
conducting the service.
If an eligible family selects any type of cremation,
the funeral home will explain the contracted options available to the family
and if services are within the contract, this service will also be paid in
This option is for any eligible family where the deceased is
not a member of the Cherokee Nation, but is a member of another
federally-recognized tribe. The eligible family can select any funeral service
the funeral home will sell them and the Cherokee Nation will pay a one-time
maximum payment of $2800.00 (less available resources). The family will be
totally responsible for all costs above this amount. The family must meet
income, resource and residential requirements for this service.
This option will also be made available to eligible Cherokee
Nation Tribal members that may have family members (not living in the deceased
immediate household) that wish to upgrade the contracted service identified in
Option #1. The eligible Cherokee family can select any service the funeral home
will sell them and the Cherokee Nation will make the one-time payment in the
amount of $2,800.00 (less available resources) and the family will be totally
responsible for paying the balance.
Many funeral homes have active contracts with the
Cherokee Nation to provide all services outlined in Option #1 and Option #2
identified above. If the family selects a funeral home that is not listed in
the downloadable document found at the bottom of this page, please contact one
of the Cherokee Nation offices. This list is always being updated.
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Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The Low Income Home Energy (LIHEAP) Assistance Program is funded by the State’s Department of Health & Human Services and administered by the Cherokee Nation Family Assistance Department.
The LIHEAP Program is an Energy Assistance Program designed to assist low income Indian households with home heating, cooling, and crisis intervention assistance. LIHEAP services include Residential Heating Assistance. This program provides assistance to eligible households for their primary source of heating, including wood, wood pellets, natural gas, propane, electric (total electric homes), kerosene, and coal.
Benefits are calculated according to the amount of income, energy source, and family size to assure the highest level of payment will be provided to households with the lowest income and highest energy source, taking into consideration family size. The benefit payment will be paid directly to the energy supplier/vendor.
Applicants 60 years of age & older or disabled will be given priority service. All other eligible households will be assisted as funds permit.
When funds are available, the elderly and disabled households are assisted with electric expenses associated with Summer Cooling.
Under the LIHEAP program a Crisis Intervention Program for assistance can be given to families who have experienced hardship and are in jeopardy of getting their utilities turned off or have already had a cut-off. This is a one-time assistance payment, paid directly to the vendor. This program usually starts in from January and runs till the middle of February. The payment standard is based on need and cannot exceed $250.00.
Emergency Housing Assistance
Since February of 1999, Human Services has had a program to help address homelessness in Cherokee Nation. This program is funded by HUD through the Native American Housing and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA).
The program’s primary focus is keeping families safe and in secure housing. Assistance is always made to the landlord or mortgage facility and in some cases utility companies. This assistance is a one time payment to the vendor and payment is based on the family’s need and their ability to remain self sufficient. The family’s income cannot exceed the current HUD income guidelines and the family must have sufficient income to maintain their housing. A family can only receive service in this category once in a three year period of time.
Priority is given to assist those that are:
1. Currently living in shelters
2. Homeless families or individuals living on the streets or in cars.
3. Recent disasters such as burnouts, total loss of a home due to flood, fire or tornado.
4. Elderly persons
5. Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare cases
6. Families residing in overcrowded conditions.
7. Families living in Cherokee Nation or state-subsidized housing and are at risk of becoming homeless.
School Clothing Voucher Program
The Cherokee Nation Clothing Voucher Program is funded
through the Tribal Council and has been implemented through Human Services
since 2006. The overall goal of this program is to assist families with back to
school expenses by providing financial assistance for school clothes for the children’s
first day school.
MUST be a Cherokee Nation Citizen.
Student and family must live within the
Cherokee Nation jurisdictional area.
Student must be in grades K-12 for the
upcoming school year.
You must bring proof of school
enrollment for each child.
Kindergarten students must be age 5
before September 1, 2017.
You must bring a current utility bill,
not older than 30 days, that shows your physical address or service address.
Application must be made by custodial
parent or legal guardian and must show ID.
Guardians must bring letters of
guardianship issued by a district court.
You must bring verification of income
for everyone in the household.
PLEASE NOTE: State home school is not eligible for the program.
The link in the Downloads section below opens a school
clothing distribution calendar for you to locate a site nearest to you for the
application process. There is also a flyer that identifies the income
For more information please call:
Angela King, Program
Manager - 918-453-5266
Program Assistant - 918-453-5346
Lee Robbins, Program
Assistant - 918-453-5231
Elder Services seeks to provide a comprehensive coordinated system of supportive and nutritional services to older Indian participants with the goal of improving the quality of life for Indian elders residing within the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction.
Nutrition services are available at 12 community senior nutrition sites. These sites are listed in a downloadable document at the bottom of this page. Each site provides an Indian Elder (age 50+) and their spouse an opportunity for a nutritious meal and to participate in recreational activities which are planned by the elder participants. Meals are free for eligible participants; however participants may be asked if possible to make a donation for center operation. Non-eligible participants must pay for their meals.
For those eligible participants who are homebound, home-delivered meals are available. A doctor’s statement is required for home delivered meal participants.
Participants must be American Indian, Alaskan Native, or Native Hawaiian. No income guidlines apply and the program is not restricted to the Cherokee Nation boundaries but is available in all participating nutrition sites.
- Cherokee Nation Tribal Citizenship
- Within 14 county Jurisdictional area
- Income Guidelines
firstname.lastname@example.org (918)-453-5000 OR 1-800-256-0671