First Nations flood evacuees re-registered for benefits
More than 2,400 Manitoba First Nations flood evacuees have registered a second time for federal flood benefits, as officials hope to prevent more fraudulent claims from being filed.
The re-registering of evacuees was ordered by the federal Aboriginal Affairs Department after it discovered about 170 ineligible flood claimants from the Lake St. Martin First Nation.
The ineligible evacuees claimed to have been living on reserve when it was rendered uninhabitable by flooding last spring.
Hundreds of claimants lined up at a Winnipeg hotel on Saturday to apply again for benefits, according to the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters, which has been tasked with monitoring First Nations flood evacuees.
"It was open from eight o'clock in the morning to nine o'clock at night [to] make sure that everybody [was] registered that was on the list from before," Gerald Houle, the organization's president, told CBC News on Tuesday.
Staff worked overtime to process all 2,400 applications and submit the information to the federal department, Houle added.
"We should get the numbers properly from everybody," he said.
In the re-registration process, evacuees had to indicate where they were living at the time of the flood.
The federal government has promised to cut off flood benefits by June 1 for evacuees who indicated that they were not living on reserve.