[HISTORY: Adopted by the Tribal Council of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi 1-19-2012 by Res. No. 01-19-12-09; amended in its entirety 1-18-2018 by Res. No. 01-18-18-06. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor’s Note: This resolution also amended the title of this chapter, which was previously Bereavement Benefit Program.
Creation. A Tribally sponsored general welfare program to provide bereavement benefits for members of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi is hereby established.
Findings. The Tribal Council of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi finds that:
The Constitution of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi delegates to the Tribal Council the responsibility for adoption of resolutions and laws not inconsistent with the Constitution to promote, protect and provide for public health, peace, morals, education and general welfare of the Tribe and its members.
The development and provision of adequate services for tribal members and their families is a critical priority in providing for the general welfare of tribal members.
There is a need among the tribal members for sufficient funds to provide for funeral services so that those who have walked on can be honored and remembered with dignity and grace.
Therefore, Tribal Council has approved a general welfare program to provide bereavement benefits to assist tribal members with funeral and related expenses associated with honoring current and past Tribal Council members who have walked on and all tribal members who walk on so that the costs of honoring our members is not a financial burden for their families.
Adoption. The Bereavement Benefit Program was adopted by Resolution No. 01-19-12-09 and amended by Resolution No. 02-16-12-11 and amended to the Bereavement Benefit General Welfare Program by Resolution No. 01-18-18-06.
Amendment. This Program may be amended by the Tribal Council in accordance with the Constitution and any rules set forth governing amendment of laws of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi.
Severability clause. If any provision of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.
Effective date. The general welfare program established by this chapter is effective as of the date of adoption by Resolution No. 01-19-12-09, as amended by Resolution Nos. 02-16-14-11 and 01-18-18-06. Nothing in this program as amended entitles any beneficiary to additional retroactive benefits.
For purposes of this chapter, certain terms are defined in this section The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely advisory.
- The person designated as the recipient of the bereavement benefit funds and responsible for paying out those funds to the funeral service providers and caterers who provide services for the deceased tribal member who was eligible for the benefit.
- This includes professional or commercial caterers such as FireKeepers, costs of laypersons approved to apply for this benefit by the beneficiary, and the beneficiary's costs of providing food for a feast, luncheon or other food and beverages provided by the beneficiary as part of the funeral or memorial services. The Membership Services Department is also eligible for reimbursement of costs it incurs when providing food and beverages for a funeral of an eligible tribal member.
- CERTIFICATE OF STILLBIRTH
- A document created by the Department of Vital Records, or similar agency charged with the responsibility of recording records of births and deaths, that provides the following information:
- A. The name of the fetus, if it was given a name by the parents.
- B. The number of weeks of gestation completed.
- C. The date of delivery and weight at the time of delivery.
- D. The name(s) of the parent(s) through whom the child would claim eligibility for enrollment.
- E. The name of the institution in which the fetus was delivered or the name of the health professional in attendance if the delivery was performed outside an institution.
- A person between the ages of one year and 18 years.
- CUSTODIAL PARENT
- The biological or adoptive parent(s) with legal and physical custody of the infant or child and with whom the infant or child lives with most of the time.
- DEATH CERTIFICATE
- A document or certification of a person's death signed by a medical doctor or other such certification that may be made by a funeral home.
- FETAL DEATH REPORT
- A document similar to a certificate of stillbirth that is prepared for a fetus that dies prior to delivery, who has completed twenty (20) weeks of in-utero gestation or weighs at least 400 grams upon delivery. A fetal death report is prepared by the physician in attendance or the medical examiner when the death occurs without a medical provider in attendance. To substitute for a certificate of stillbirth as proof of eligibility for the bereavement benefit, the fetal death report must contain the same information as required in the certificate of stillbirth.
- FUNERAL SERVICES PROVIDER
- A provider of services for a tribal member's funeral, burial, or ceremonies. The following is a list of funeral service providers eligible to receive funds under this chapter: funeral home, crematorium, casket maker or retailer, cremation urn maker or retailer, monument maker or retailer, member of the clergy, Traditional Healer or other Traditional Practitioner recognized as such by the NHBP Culture and Historic Preservation Office, hearse or other vehicle for hire, including medical transporters used to move the body or family members for the funeral, cemeteries, mortuaries, morgues, hospitals and/or nursing homes to cover the deceased's final expenses.
- A person from birth until one year of age.
- INTESTATE SUCCESSION
- The process of distributing the deceased's bereavement benefit, if there is no designated beneficiary, or no last will and testament. The benefit would go to the following persons in this order: to the surviving spouse; if no surviving spouse then to the surviving children in equal shares; if no surviving children, then to the surviving parents in equal shares. If the Tribal Court determines that there is no designated beneficiary, no surviving spouse, no surviving children, and no surviving parents of the deceased, the Tribal Court will order that any remaining bereavement benefit funds pay all funeral service providers and caterers who applied for the funds, and any remaining balance shall inure (go back to) to the Tribe.
- LEGAL GUARDIAN
- A person assigned by a court of competent jurisdiction with the duty and authority to provide care and control over another person.
- The spontaneous expulsion of a fetus from the womb prior to the 20th week of pregnancy or prior to the fetus reaching 400 grams in weight and resulting in the death of the fetus. The term "miscarriage" shall not include a fetus or child extracted for purposes of an abortion.
- NHBP is an abbreviation for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi and is used interchangeably with that name and the abbreviation "Tribe."
- STILLBORN CHILD
- A tribal member's natural child who has completed at least twenty (20) weeks of in-utero gestation or weighs at least 400 grams and dies before delivery. The term "stillborn child" shall not include a fetus or child extracted for purposes of an abortion or a fetus that is miscarried.
- A. A tribal member who was a duly elected member of the Tribal Council of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi at the time he or she walked on; or
- B. A tribal member who formerly served as an elected member of the Tribal Council of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi and is duly enrolled with the Tribe at the time he or she walked on.
- TRIBAL MEMBER
- A person who is enrolled as a member of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi at the time he or she walked on.
- Tribe refers to the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi and is used interchangeably with that name and the abbreviation "NHBP."
Retroactive benefits. There are no retroactive benefits for those tribal members who walked on prior to the adoption of this code or for those beneficiaries who may have received less than the benefit amount in this code due to a different benefit amount identified in a prior version of this code or no benefit being available when the tribal member walked on.
Bereavement Benefit Amount.
The bereavement benefit for tribal members and Tribal Council members who walk on is established at $10,000. These funds are intended to provide for a Tribal Council member's or a tribal member's funeral services and other final expenses as those terms are defined in this code. No cash payments will be made to any beneficiary without proof of payment and/or arrangement for payment for the deceased tribal member's funeral services.
An additional amount of up to $500 is available to pay caterers, as defined in this code, to pay only the actual costs for food and beverage, or catering services, which may include the set up and tear down when paid to a commercial or professional caterer.
The beneficiary may present receipts for the actual amount paid for food and beverages for reimbursement up to but not more than the benefit amount.
Caterers and laypersons may present invoices for the costs of their service, food or beverages provided so long as it is signed off on by the beneficiary. Upon presentation of these costs approved by the beneficiary, they may be paid directly for the costs of their services up to but not for more than the benefit amount.
These funds may be advanced to a tribal member beneficiary, a commercial or professional caterer upon presentation of an invoice signed and approved by the beneficiary, or the Membership Services Manager, for the purpose of purchasing food and beverages.
The Finance Department shall establish the appropriate procedures and forms for the advancement of funds for this benefit.
Receipts and/or paid invoices accounting for the advanced funds must be presented to the Finance Department within ten (10) days of the advance, documenting the funds were used accordingly.
Excess funds are to be returned to the Finance Department with the purchase receipts or invoices within ten (10) days of the funeral service or feast.
Excess funds not returned or failure to provide receipts to support the advancement of funds will result in a garnishment from the tribal member beneficiary's per-cap payment.
Changing the amount of bereavement benefit. The Tribal Council reserves the right to amend the bereavement benefit amount by resolution stating such change without prior notice to the membership.
General. All NHBP enrolled tribal members are eligible for the bereavement benefit; however, an individual must be duly enrolled with the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi at the time he or she walks on in order to have the bereavement benefit paid to his/her beneficiary.
Enrolled Member Child or Infant. The custodial parent or legal guardian of an enrolled child or infant may apply for the bereavement benefit on the child's or infant's behalf. The heirs to the child or infant's benefits under the Revenue Allocation Plan have no effect on eligibility for benefits under this chapter.
Unenrolled Child or Infant. The custodial parent or legal guardian of an unenrolled child or unenrolled infant may apply to the Enrollment Committee for a decision regarding whether or not the child would qualify for enrollment pursuant to the Enrollment Code. A child or infant the Enrollment Committee determines as eligible for enrollment is then eligible for the bereavement benefit.
The Enrollment Committee shall apply the eligibility for enrollment standards in the Enrollment Code.
The parents or legal guardians shall have the burden of proof and be required to produce such documentation for eligibility as are described in § 2.1-11 of the Enrollment Code.
For an infant who does not have a social security card, the infant shall not be precluded from eligibility for enrollment for purposes of the bereavement benefit based on the absence of that document alone.
For children ages one to 18, a copy of the child's social security card is required to prove eligibility for enrollment.
A child or infant claiming eligibility solely through the father may forgo the DNA test required in the Enrollment Code, when the father's name is on the birth and death certificates.
The Enrollment Committee shall provide the Enrollment Office and the parent or legal guardian of the child or infant with a written decision within sixty (60) days from the date of application to the Committee. The Committee may extend this deadline based on a request from the parent or legal guardian in order to obtain necessary documentation.
The Enrollment Committee's decision is appealable pursuant to the Enrollment Code.
Stillborn Child. The parent of a stillborn child may receive this benefit by presenting any of the following documentation to the Enrollment Office verifying that the stillborn child is the child of an enrolled NHBP member: certificate of stillbirth, fetal death report, death certificate, or birth certificate. Any one of these documents is sufficient evidence. To verify eligibility for enrollment the documentation must list the name of the enrolled NHBP member as one of the parents of the stillborn child.
Miscarried Child. A child miscarried in accordance with the definition for miscarriage in this code is not eligible for the bereavement benefit.
Filing of Designation Form. It is the obligation of tribal members to file a beneficiary form with the Enrollment Office.
Distribution of Bereavement Benefits.
Payment of bereavement benefits will be initiated by the Enrollment Office upon receipt of a written request for bereavement benefits from either:
The beneficiary designated on the beneficiary form completed by the tribal member or the beneficiary form completed by his/her custodial parent or legal guardian; or
Directly to a funeral services provider or caterer upon receipt of an invoice or receipts authorized for payment by the beneficiary; or
If the tribal member did not file a beneficiary form:
According to the wishes of the deceased as expressed through his/her will or if there is no will then in accordance with intestate succession as defined in this code if the deceased is an infant, child or stillborn child to the custodial parent(s) of the deceased.
If the deceased tribal member has no surviving spouse, child/children, or parent(s), the distribution of funds shall be allocated in accordance with the definition of intestate succession in this code as determined by the Tribal Court, provided that, in the event there is no taker the remaining balance shall inure to the Tribe.
The Finance Department shall act as the holder of any funds pending the outcome of a hearing before the Tribal Court or should a designated beneficiary or intestate successor not come forward to claim the funds.
The Finance Department shall hold funds for not longer than three (3) years from the date the tribal member walked on, the date the child, infant or stillborn child is determined eligible for the benefit or the final order of the Tribal Court, whichever occurs last. After three (3) years, the funds will be presumed to be unclaimed and shall inure to the Tribe.
Payment to beneficiaries; use of payment.
The designated beneficiary may utilize the bereavement benefit funds for the costs of funeral service providers and such other final costs of the deceased. Any funds remaining after the funeral services and other final costs are paid may be distributed directly to the beneficiary.
Payment of bereavement benefits to designated beneficiaries will be paid by the following methods:
Directly to the funeral services provider upon submission of an invoice for services and a signed authorization by the designated beneficiary directing assignment of the bereavement benefit for payment of the service.
Directly to the designated beneficiary one hundred twenty (120) days after the date of death or sooner upon a showing of receipts for paid funeral, burial, or cremation expenses.
Unpaid Services. Once the total amount of the benefit has been paid out, no additional funds are authorized for disbursement regardless of to whom a debt may be owed. Funeral service providers and caterers may make a claim in Tribal Court against a designated beneficiary or heir to the benefit for the costs of services rendered yet unpaid.
Payment of bereavement benefits in those cases in which the decedent did not file a beneficiary form will be made as follows:
If the costs of a funeral services provider have already been paid in full by a relative or care-provider for the deceased, the person who paid the funeral services provider may be reimbursed for those costs by presenting copies of paid invoices and/or receipts to the Enrollment Office verifying payment to the funeral services provider;
If the costs of the funeral services provider have not been paid in whole, the bereavement benefits will be paid by two-party check(s) made payable jointly to the funeral services provider and the individual identified on the invoice as responsible for payment regardless of whether or not partial payment has been made.
If bereavement benefits remain after the funeral service providers and caterers have been paid, the balance, if any, will be paid according to the wishes of the deceased as expressed through his/her will or if there is no will then to the surviving spouse of the deceased or, if an infant, child or stillborn child to the custodial parent(s) of the deceased. If the deceased tribal member has no surviving spouse, the distribution of funds shall be allocated in accordance with the definition of intestate succession determined by the Tribal Court, provided that, in the event there is no taker the remaining balance shall inure to the Tribe.
Missing Designee. If the designated beneficiary of the deceased cannot be contacted or found, the bereavement benefits of the deceased will be held by the Tribe's Finance Department for three (3) years. If the bereavement benefits are not claimed by the designated beneficiary within three (3) years of the deceased walking on, the bereavement benefit or remaining balance shall inure to the Tribe.