Cobell v. Salazar SettlementMore than 400,000 Native Americans from numerous tribal groups received an early Christmas present last week when the federal government began mailing them $1,000 checks under the landmark $3.4 billion Cobell v. Salazar class action lawsuit settlement.

The Cobell v. Salazar settlement was one of the largest class actions ever filed against the United States, and accused the government of mismanaging money owed to Native Americans under trust funds. The alleged mismanagement dated as far back as the 1880s.

The Indian trust class action settlement was originally settled in December 2009 and later approved by Congress in November 2010. An appeal was filed and the case was held up in court for nearly two years. In May 2012, an appeals court rejected the appeal and upheld the $3.4 billion Indian trust settlement as fair, reasonable and adequate.

On December 12, 2012, the court filed an order directing the Claims Administrator to commence distribution of payments to Class Members no later than December 24, 2012. However, there are thousands of eligible Class Members that have still not filed claims.

According to the Claims Administrator, nearly 40,000 Historical Accounting Class Members are shown as “whereabouts unknown,” and another 10,000 have no contact information in the records furnished by Interior. If you are a member of the Historical Accounting Class and are not currently receiving statements on your IIM account from the government, then you need to provide contact information to the Claims Administrator by calling 1-800-961-6109 or entering the information at

In addition, the court has entered a final deadline for submission of claims for the Indian trust class action lawsuit settlement. Any claim forms must be postmarked by March 1, 2013. Claim Forms and more information on the Cobell v. Salazar Indian Trust Class Action Lawsuit Settlement can be found online at

UPDATE 1: Second Cobell v. Salazar Settlement Checks Expected Early 2014.

UPDATE 2: More than 30,000 Class Members of the Cobell v. Salazar Indian trust class action settlement are still awaiting payments. Class Counsel explains why. 

UPDATE 3: According to the Settlement Administrator, the final round of payments from the Indian Trust settlement could be made in early Fall 2014.

UPDATE 4: A federal judge approved the distribution of payments to more than 15,000 Class Members whose records were missing from the Department of Interior. The first checks were mailed Sept. 15, 2014. Learn more.

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Please note: Top Class Actions is not a settlement administrator or law firm. Top Class Actions is a legal news source that reports on class action lawsuits, class action settlements, drug injury lawsuits and product liability lawsuits. Top Class Actions does not process claims and we cannot advise you on the status of any class action settlement claim. You must contact the settlement administrator or your attorney for any updates regarding your claim status, claim form or questions about when payments are expected to be mailed out.



  • Brianne F. Lyons December 28, 2012

    How do we know if, when and where a payment went to if we haven’t received anything yet?

    • mary frances tsotaddle January 13, 2014

      I just seen on this page is it true that the cobell/salazar payments where already mailed out and I was wondering where I need to call or look up on an website to find out where my check was mailed to because I havent received my check yet because I updated my information by calling the 1-800-961-6109 number already..
      thank you
      maryfrances tsotaddle

      • Elizabeth Robertson January 16, 2014

        You and so many others have never received the first payments. Unfortunately Garden City Group (Claims Administrator) has a very questionable reputation.

        In a letter dated 01/15/2013 from Kevin Washburn Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs DOI addressed to all Tribal Leaders the following is quoted “In the Cobell settlement agreement only the Claims Administrator (Garden City Group) can address issues regarding payments”….

        The high volume of complaints about Garden City Group, not only from us (Native Americans) but from past claimants of other class action lawsuits make this situation a repeat of why the Cobell lawsuit was implemented in the first place. Garden City Group with their high turn over of employees and there past reputation of committing credit card fraud leads be to believe this is another entity that is going to take advantage of us….

      • Fedup January 22, 2014

        This article was dated Dec 2012 regarding the first round of settlement checks, yes they were mailed and even though your current address is on file with the gcg they still mailed my check to a random previous address, which actually I would have been able to get it. But the mail carrier decided not to put in the box because she didn’t think I still lived there…. it was my sister’s house. Just can’t win

  • GeorgiannaCleveland December 28, 2012

    I am wondering about that too ! I never received mine either !!

  • Harlana Jackson December 28, 2012

    I also would like to know where my payment went if i have not received it yet?!

  • regina tchida December 28, 2012

    i got my ck. but 1 sister shirley huff and 1brother olaf holman and all 5 sons and daughers didnt get any what can i do?

  • TONIA POLK December 29, 2012

    Did nt receive my check. Wen will I find out where my check is at?

  • Lorrie L. Black Bear December 29, 2012

    I was wondering if they received my CLAIM FORM? Send it the same time that I send my aunt’s Joyce L. Hayes. She got her check but, I haven’t received mine as of yet. I have an extra Claim Form if you need me to resend another one. Been trying to call with no avail. If you can ever so kindly get back with me to let me know what I have to do.
    Thank You Very Much.

  • LaDonna D. Moore December 30, 2012

    As of 12-29-12 I have not recieved my payment but my brothers and sister have, is there something I should do?

  • Larry Bartletteg December 30, 2012

    My cousins have received their checks. I have not got mine nor has the rest of my family. Is there someone we can call to find out what has happened to them?

  • Larry Bartlette December 30, 2012

    My name was not spelled right on my 1st e-mail to you so I corrected it.

  • Diana Dixon January 1, 2013

    I have not received my payment and don’t know where to look or who to ask. I telephoned but was on hold almost two hours without my concerns being addressed. Where did my payment go if I have not received it yet?

  • Linda Naylor January 2, 2013

    when will I get a check or will I get one

  • frederick big lake January 9, 2013

    Mismanagement is what the Interior is good for when their supposed to have all the information concerning IIM’s. This is another lawsuit waiting to happen. It’s bad enough the US Government squandering millions from our accounts, us settling with less than what they really owe, and all the original account holders that have perished while waiting for some form of justice.

    They’re known cases of ineligible individuals receiving this disbursement while other, like myself, that are legitimate account holders have to file claims. This is how this settlement came about–mismanagement! Now it’s happening all over again.

  • Delbert John January 10, 2013

    First of all, where do I get started on my claim? What web address do I go to? And what do I click on when I get there?

  • Roberto Stewart January 11, 2013

    There is my address 2407 hillrose pl Oxnard California 93036. Send it to my address ASAP thank you

  • K. Trujillo January 11, 2013

    I agree with Mr Frederick Big Lake. I called the 1-800-961-6109 and spoke with a supervisor who is “escalating” my call to a “case specialist’ who will contact me, so I’m told. All this after listening to class reqiurements repeated several times. I originally called be cause my two youngest children received and spent their checks but our oldest child did not, nor did my spouse and myself. My being referred to a “case specialist” is because I asked who oversees the Claims Administrator regarding how and when status determinations are made. I hope this is of some help to others.

    • Elizabeth Robertson January 16, 2014

      Those Case Specialist are Temp Employees. The number you called is directly tied in with Garden City Group. GCG has a questionable reputation of among all things, credit card fraud. They were given the responsibility of being the only one to address issues regarding payments to members of both the Historical and Trust Administration Class. The DOI has a limited (very limited) role in payments to us. Which sounded good in the beginning, BUT AFTER THE PAST REPUTATION OF GCG CREDIT CAR FRAUD INCIDENT, HIGH VOLUME OF TEMP AGENCY EMPLOYEES AND COMPLAINTS FROM ATTORNEYS AND OPERATORS WHO ARE AND WERE EMPLOYED WITH GCG, IT MAKES ME SUSPICIOUS OF THEIR COURT AWARDED INVOLVEMENT IN A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT OF THIS MAGNITUDE. They are now the responsible party for updating our IIM account information and we are giving them (GCG) our deceased relatives probates, our social security numbers and CIB and probate numbers and what are they going to do with this private information, become the new DOI or BIA?

  • john cali January 11, 2013

    Sounds like the same song and dance in Cali. Waiting for my payment too. Some of my family members cashed their checks before xmas.

  • lesliedewitt-turner January 11, 2013

    i would like to know if everyone will get a check or is it for people who were born on the reservation or just regertered? and how would we no that we will or will not receive the money?

  • Erick January 12, 2013

    What I’m wondering is if anyone else who has already received a check and cashed it into their bank account has had problems like I am having. Bank sent me a notice informing me that their closing my account because of suspected counterfeit check(s) being cashed. One check being the case. I cannot be the only one seeing how many people are going to receive a check. Anybody else having this same issue?

  • Norman L. Smith January 14, 2013

    I put in for this 2-plus years ago under Docket #93 and I now have a new address. My old address was at 621 MacKaye Harbor Road, Lopez Island, WA. 98261. My new current address is 3181 Mt. View Road, Ferndale, Washington 98248.

  • Leticia Pineda January 15, 2013

    I have enrolled already ,Im just waiten on my payment.what should I do to recieve it.? Ive called many times and got no where
    For my answer.please may someone help me out with an Answer?.I’ve waited with patience.please ! ! ! !

  • Francis L. Pierre January 16, 2013

    I like many of you are being told lies still. if anything it should of been awarded by degree of blood instead of telling us that we don’t exist.

  • evette christensen January 17, 2013

    ima heir, therefor they told me heirs r the LAST ONES TO B PROCESSED! STILL WAITIN 4 MINE 2!

  • Erick January 17, 2013

    Please, if anyone else is having issues like I am having please tell me. I need to know that I’m not the only one. I received my check and I cashed my check by opening an account with my bank, then at the beginning of this month that tell me that they are closing my account cause of suspected counterfeit check that had been cashed. I am not a criminal. Why did this happen. Twice I have called their toll free number that was on their website, and both times I have been told that they are escalating my issue and that they’ll call me back, told to wait which both times I have for 24 to 48 hours. I’m becoming impatient with waiting which is understandable seeing how my financial future is on the line. If someone else is having this same thing happen to them please speak up. Did you sort things out? Also to those who are going to receive checks, let my story urge you to make sure there is no mistakes with your check.Thank you for your time.

    • Ken April 15, 2014

      Eric, Ken here. On this blog, this is the second post referring to the Claims Administrator (Garden Group?) actually mailing out fake checks. This is crazy and needs to be reported to the proper authorities. Contact your bank and ask for information leading to who wrote the check and file a criminal report. Does anyone believe another class action law suit needs to be filed? I haven’t read this yet so I thought I’d throw that in. Any takers? I have read where one blogger demanded interest accrued on everyone’s late payment. Someone start a new class action lawsuit on facebook where people who feel ripped off can sign up. How many signatures are needed? My girlfriend said I’d never get a check. This situation is the weirdest ….brain ache I’ve seen affecting a staggering amount of individuals.
      I just hope a lot of the money goes for Indian education,
      Good day all,

  • Michael Longie January 18, 2013

    Try this number-(701)477-3828 and keep trying..eventually they will answer. At first it sounds like it isn’t going to ring but it will.

  • sally little light r January 22, 2013

    does anyone know if this includes the blackfoot reservation ?not blackfeet blackfoot rez. in sisika alberta.?please let me know soon..

  • amanda ochoa January 23, 2013

    Filed claim form June 2011. Called thecall center they said they don’t have my claim in computer sent it again Jan. 2013 priority mail called again today and said they received all document. But can’t tell me when or if I’m going to receive a payment I filed a claim because my mother is in the system, but she passed away 2008. And me and my sisters are heirs to her iim account. I guess we just wait. I think its weird that call center gets paid for receiving are calls but its really no help.:(

  • SandyBoushie-Meshell January 26, 2013

    How many tribes kept all but $300, which was sent to each tribal member? Balance to “pay the tribe’s bills”?

  • ARLEEN C. KOLB January 29, 2013



  • Francis L. Pierre January 29, 2013

    I don’t thinkthat anybody is monirtering the problems we are having.I see this as mismangement all over again who can give us stright answers that we need. it’s the same generic answers that get us nothing I very much know who you people feel.i am still nowhere after 30 +calls to the 800no.

  • Francis L. Pierre February 5, 2013

    to all people that recived claim forms by mail, check out the big white envolope that it came in some very confidentla info was exposed , let people know that you do not appericate this and take care

  • roxanne bryant February 11, 2013

    it is so sad to hear these stories do we even question again the government or maybe our own tribal affiliation we as enrolled members who live off the rez do not get the same benefits as our people we need to speak up and let our voices be heard for we are enrolled members and i feel we are not notified of our rights outside of the rez i am a enrolled member of the minnesota chippewa eastern band white earth rez no i do not reside on the rez i am out of state and i am not happy that being an enrolled member do not reap the benefits that im entitled to so be it and let it be heard for all enrolled members who do not live on he rez

  • roxanne bryant February 11, 2013

    now who will respond to these questions i for one would like a legit answer trust me n i’m sure other enrolled members want the same n these symbols you want us to input is ridiculous are you for real please we native american indians are for real why do you make us look like we are not intelligent

  • Francis L. Pierre February 12, 2013

    i know we hurt, but we must remember ,one brave lady warrior, whom i will always respect forever
    she can hear us

  • cecelia de la cruz February 20, 2013

    i am wondering how do i go about getting information relating to the deceased settlement that i have inherited? my name is on the probate….hoping for a quick response,,,,

  • Joan February 25, 2013

    Hope I hear from somebody, I am entitled to know when my money will come. I would love to hear from you Asap. Thank You for listening. Joan

  • Ruth Satre-Williams March 6, 2013

    I live in Ohio but my children and I are enrolled in the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Just inquiring about checks being mailed to us.

  • Ruth Satre-Williams March 6, 2013

    My children and I belong to the Cheyenne River sioux tribe, i was just inquiring about the checks that are to be sent out.

  • larry March 9, 2013

    where is my check

  • Autumn Shaw March 14, 2013

    I’ve sent in my claim form along time ago and still haven’t heard anything. What’s up? My younger brother got his payment, but I didn’t get mine! I have called and talked to who ever answered the call and still none of mine questions have been answered. I’m sick and tired of your song and dance. Where in the HELL is my money? You have had my correct address for over a year now! So where is it? Plus i filled out the conformation forms. What more do you want?

  • Francis L. Pierre March 15, 2013

    When will I get an answer to my Questions

  • Francis L. Pierre March 27, 2013

    why won’t you post

  • Francis L. Pierre March 27, 2013

    your firm needs to be held resposnible for your mis-management of records

  • Francis L. Pierre April 4, 2013

    I would like to talk to Whoever is in charge of this whole thing , I want an answer and not that my claim is being diligenlty beinging looked at !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gayla A Rico April 8, 2013

    I had gotten mine back in Jan and yesif youare having problems with this listen not everyone will get it unless you have filed a claim with them. My check was good my bank didnt close myaccount . My sisters and brothers have not got their checks cause they are to lazytocheck in to it . That is their fault for not filing theclaim

  • Gayla A Rico April 8, 2013

    The other half of my check will be disbursted in July sometime they said boy i suredoneed it

  • Gayla A Rico April 8, 2013

    People on the rez dont have to pay nothing and they already get stuff for free thatshouldbe good enough. Most people work for what they got and cant even get commodies cause they make too much money .But its not about the rez people they get alot for free handouts . I would love to get some bufflo meat or deer meat . I have 3 brothers and3 sisters who also didnt get their checks. Most people are greedy when it comes to money that was coming to the heirs who had land back then . My grandmother had oil and property back then. To me people just want and take what doesnt belong to them. Like i said Not everyone is getting the settlement.

  • quinndalyn cheney April 11, 2013

    hi i still did’nt get my check from before i was just wondering when i will recieve an check.

  • Barbara Haight April 14, 2013

    FLATHEAD TRIBE….. I would like to know why we didnt receive the FULL PAYMENT…. for the settlement when other tribes received theirs. We received $10,000 when the FULL amount was supposed to $19,000. That money was designated for individual accounts as ordered by OBAMA. I think this should be examined by the original distributors of the settlement. Or is this information just swept under the rug of the tribal counsel members. I work for a living and I make $24,000 a year. I am the working poor. I am living in poverty according to the living wage standards. I need that money! It’s not fair! And it’s not fair to make us wait, especially to those in need!

  • JoAnn Tanner Osburn April 18, 2013

    My family has not received a check either… We are beginning to wonder if we ever will. I feel for most of the Tribal Members because most of us live in poverty and can not afford to even call the numbers. I have called all numbers given and the only one that answered me was from my own tribe telling me they do not know either. GOOD LUCK to all.

  • Elaine Pennell May 5, 2013

    This just goes to show you that there are idiots everywhere and there are people who don’t know how to do the job they are hired to do. In the 3rd week of January 2013, I received a check for a thousand dollars. However, my oldest daughter got her check for a thousand on December 18, 2012 and notified me…I started my claim at that time no knowing I had a check in the mail to my former address. Today, May 5, 2013, I received a letter stating that I am ineligible. So, go figure! idiots everywhere!

  • elaine May 5, 2013

    People, seems everybody is having problems with this claim, but this part is just for comments…go through the claims part and do all the peperwork and make sure your mailing adress is changed at the post office as well. Good luck.

  • Willow Frishman May 28, 2013

    I am qualified to receive the first payment, have sent e mail, birhcertificate, name change (adopted) current address, I inquired in February 2012. I missed the deadline for the Historical, but I do qualify. I am dyslexic, paper illiterate and I didn’t know how to apply for the Historical, but I did qualify for it. I need an appeal from the court as I have inquired about the Historical before the deadline, but didn’t know how to apply for it.
    I was enrolled in the tribe long, long ago. My address and correct last name were not known by the tribe.

  • Pauline Quick August 1, 2013

    Reading some of these comments just shows us that there are still injustice done to all tribes and individuals. Please enroll in your tribe and call all relatives or write a letter asking them for their family tree to help you. I have worked on my mothers land being given to her rightful heirs for 21 years. I didn’t give up and I am still working on it. I am a very stubborn Oglala Sioux and I will not give up.

  • Brian August 2, 2013

    A letter was mailed out yesterday did anyone receive this letter yet?

  • thomas September 17, 2013

    hey im enrolled yakama and the cobelle said im not enrolld…. my mother father even my daughtr got a cobblele check but i never how come??? its like they crossd me out… was even told by an operater that im not enrolld… the hand book states im able to recieve one even the tribe says im able too.. but cobbele says im not… why cross me out… its like im gettn rippd off… plus upset the cobbele settlement says im not gettn one and sayn im not enrolld…. its b.s. if u ask me…

  • Wendalynn Holmes January 1, 2014

    Really don’t understand how that some people have gotten their 2nd payment? Shouldn’t direct deposit be faster then a check?

  • adrienap January 27, 2014


  • Jennifer February 27, 2014

    I owned land from october 2001 to 2013 my abstract reads on hwy 152 three miles west of Binger, Oklahoma 73009. it is a fragnated parcel pieace of property near indian territory in the newsletter and the form to file a claim I sent in copies of all my deeds to my land and a copy of my abstact also. i qualified for all classes. I am not sure but at the court house in anadarko oklahoma they also pulled up other property under Jennifer Buster that was put in my name in 2005. How much land do I really own am i an heir to to other land or is it held up by the goverment in in probate. my deceaced grandparents names are Floyd Foster,and his wife is Lucille foster. And my other grandfater name is Lee Roy James Tee-win-in both of Binger OKLAHOMA 73009. He is of the CADDO tribehis identification no:is806u005124 and his probate cace was p000071880 IP. i also sent in all the information on him. I did get my first check but not the second check. I no other s are getting big settlements for being land owners well I am a single owner of the fracnated parcel pieace of property so why am i not getting a big settlement also . i do not get a IIM accout statement in the mail either how do i find out how to get my case looked at . I should be involed in in the land and be receiving the bigger settlement checks also. I have been working on this on the phone with you from the start and i have been told different amounts ever time they keep getting smaller. and been told i would have got my check in december of2013 AND STILLNothing Nor why I am not getting what others have got for the property that was worth the most in the settlement form I want information on this please and i dont want to be cheated out of my setttlement money either. When wiill i get my check . Please take the names i have givin u and they are held at the Andarko court house, and at the BIA office in Andarko okla. i want help with this please I cant get anybody to tell me anything. sincerly jennifer brook kellogg.

  • yvette March 9, 2014

    its unfair to members on list to not receive payments automatic . if your on a list to get a settlement ,then we should receive it no matter what or if we missed signing up to get the payment. that money is ours. if a member didn’t know of this payment or know about it then what happens? where does money go? or stuck at home with no acknowledge of what was going on back then.yeah even disabled and can’t go no where because no car to get around? so unfair I should know because it happen to me. whrs my zhoonz ,its mine , I want it now. disappointed member! will I be eligible to receive whats rightfully mine? kinda late but still unfair n just


    Seems like there are alot of people who didn’t receive any money!Although they were and are eligible.I did everything they asked,from the moment I received the packet.I was told that I qualified to receive both payouts.Never received the first!I really think this is a hit or miss situation and someone is profitting.I’ve yet to see any questions answered!

  • Jacqueline(Jacquelyn) M. Berkey March 24, 2014

    I have wondered about the settlement checks. Originally they were to be out in the fall of 2013; then changed to December 2014; then to early 2014. It is now the end of March 2014 and still no checks. Has something delayed this?

    • elsie April 1, 2014

      Now! Ive heard the pay off is until june are july.

  • Shelley March 25, 2014

    I think its time for everyone in different towns to start contacting news stations! This is ridiculous to promise us a date to recieve our checks only to delay several times. If we get their name out there and let them hear how terrible of a company they are running then hopefully we can prevent someone else from dealing with this same kind of issue!!!

  • Joshua March 28, 2014

    Were the hell is me and my sister’s money ? No Historical payment its2014 May for god sake’s

  • elsie April 1, 2014

    I kept on asking when are going to send out the payment.(They kept saying we dont know)!!

  • hendo April 5, 2014

    To no suprise we are failed again. They are thinking of so many alternatives to not be able to pay out Eloise’ hard fought long battle. Pay the f’n dues an let her r.i.p. I got took for my second payment for child support; more like drug habbit support. Another rip in indian country

  • Johann williams April 28, 2014

    Yea I sure like to know were the hell the 2nd payment is sure can use it about now.the only thing is the 2nd check is one big check to my big brother then he sends to all nine of us in my family all ten of us so hope it comes soon.we all got a $100 the 1st time now just waiting for the second check.

  • Top Class Actions May 14, 2014

    UPDATE 5/14/14: More than 30,000 Class Members of the Cobell v. Salazar Indian trust class action settlement are still awaiting payments. Class Counsel explains why.

  • frank w. big soldier May 16, 2014

    It really doesn’t matter what number anybody calls regarding the money. You can speak to ten different people and they’ll all tell you something different. The last thing I heard about the second check being mailed out that it should be getting mailed out anytime now until December 2014. Now that’s stupid

  • elsie May 18, 2014

    When will i receive my money

  • k dupree June 5, 2014

    I am in agreement with all of you…I think we are all getting s—–ed again and no one really cares except for us and of course we all know what that means….it just amazes me how people can praise our gov’t about how the gov’t treats them….just wish sometimes they could see it from our perspective. thanks for letting me rant…

  • sharon samuels July 11, 2014

    how many time we all call this number 1-800-961-6109 they don’t know nothing they just tell us early 2014 will what early 2014 are they taking about they should tell us what month we are going to get our checks or they should tell us were there at with this or are they waiting for the one that having claim their money I think they should just putting into their account so we can all get pay please let us know what going on stop give us the run around.

  • Top Class Actions August 19, 2014

    UPDATE: According to the Settlement Administrator, the final round of payments from the Indian Trust settlement could be made in early Fall 2014.

  • Top Class Actions September 15, 2014

    UPDATE 4: A federal judge approved the distribution of payments to more than 15,000 Class Members whose records were missing from the Department of Interior. The first checks were mailed Sept. 15, 2014. Learn more.

  • melinda louise hevel October 9, 2014

    I am also one that has not received this check. My mother and my sisters have but my brother and I have not I know that we registered at the same time as my siblings and my mother did. so I would like to know how I can get this for my brother and me. please contact me through e-mail on this matter. thank you

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