Oklahoma locals have been feeling the financial pinch of the COVID-19 but help is on the way. More than $1.2 billion of relief money is set to be given out to cities and counties in an effort to help people address their financial issues. The initiative is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was formed and led by Governor Kevin Stitt.
News on 6 revealed that the CARES Act is comprised of experts in sectors financially affected by COVID-19. They have been tasked to provide guidance and make sure that the money is being spent in compliance with the law. The funds are not meant to fill the budget holes created by economic pains, according to Stitt.
“I think the $1.2 billion will be enough to hit those COVID-related expenses,” Stitt said via KOSU.org. “So I don’t think we’re gonna have to pick and choose between municipalities.”
In preparation for the release of these funds, locals are advised to submit requests of reimbursements. States and counties with COVID-19 related expenses are advised to create an account here. However, it should be noted that people who plan to file need to take into consideration that this will only be applicable to people who encountered expenses due to the virus. The ones who were dealing with budget issues at the start of the year are not covered. The complete guidelines can be found here.
Once filed, the state will process the applications. Payouts are scheduled to start by early June. The CARES Act is a welcome move but likely to draw criticism tied up to graft and corruption. Stitt wants to make sure that everything is transparent. To prove that, there is a tracker that people can monitor daily to see where the money was sent. That can be found here.
On the end of the government, attention to detail is needed. Online scams are unsurprisingly rampant during these times and some cybergang groups have been identified as culprits. The Agari Cyber Intelligence Division (ACID) has identified these crooks and have been tracking them. They believe that these are the same people behind the decade-old business email compromise (BEC) cybergang that it calls Scattered Canary. Fake emails or using prepaid SIM cards are just some of the ways that they can get away with their unfortunate plans. It remains to be seen if the state is prepared for this considering it could lead to wasted money and depriving people who actually need them.