Indian Social Services_Welfare Assistance

To provide financial assistance for basic needs of needy eligible American Indians who reside on or near reservations, including those American Indians living under Bureau of Indian Affairs service area jurisdictions, when such assistance is not available from State or local public agencies.

Examples of Funded Projects

Individual financial assistance (welfare) grant to a single American Indian person or to an American Indian family of eight based upon public assistance standards of the State where recipients reside.

Agency - Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior protects and provides access to the Nation's natural and cultural heritage, including responsibilities to Indian tribes and island communities. Departmental goals include resource protection and usage, overseeing recreational opportunities, serving communities and excellence in management.

Office - Information can be secured from the Agency Superintendents and from Regional Directors (see Catalog Appendix IV for addresses).

Applications for general assistance are made at the local agency or tribal level.

Program Accomplishments

General assistance is provided to over 41,000 persons on a monthly basis. Indian Child Welfare Assistance is provided to an estimated 3,000 children on a monthly basis and Non-Medical Institutional or Custodial Care is provided monthly to about 1,100 disabled American Indian adults.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Provides cash payments to eligible American Indian individuals and families to meet basic needs (i.e., food, clothing, shelter, etc.).

Provides extra monthly benefits to tribal members on general assistance who also work on tribal projects under the Tribal Work Experience Program.

Provides monthly assistance for non-medical institutional or custodial care of adults who are not eligible for care from Indian Health Services, Social Security, or any other county, state or Federal program.

Provides foster home care and appropriate institutional (non-medical) care for dependent, neglected, and handicapped American Indian children in need of protection.

This program also pays the burial expenses of indigent American Indians whose estates do not have sufficient resources to meet funeral expenses and provides emergency assistance to prevent hardship caused by fire, flood or acts of nature.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

An American Indian who is a member of a federally recognized Indian Tribe, who resides on or near a federally recognized Indian reservations, who is in need of financial assistance and who meets the eligibility criteria in 25 CFR Part 20.

Beneficiary Eligibility

American Indians who are members of federally recognized Indian Tribes.


Proof of American Indian status, residency, and income/resources available must be provided by applicant.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

A verbal or written request for assistance to the Bureau of Indian Affairs agency or regional representative or designated tribal authority.

Award Procedures

Assistance is provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs agency or regional office or contracted tribal program.




Snyder Act of 1921, Public Law 67-85, 42 Stat. 208, 25 U.S.C. 13.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Generally within 10 days depending upon applicants needs and the extent of investigation required. Decisions will take no longer than 45 days.


An unsuccessful applicant may appeal a Bureau of Indian Affairs official's decision under the procedures contained in 25 CFR Part 20, Subpart D "Hearings and Appeals" and 25 CFR Part 2 "Appeals from Administrative Actions."



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements


Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The length of assistance is indefinite, depending on continued need and available resources. Assistance is usually provided monthly or as needed.

Post Assistance Requirements







Financial Information

Account Identification



(Total program funds including direct payments) FY 07 $59,332,460; FY 08 est $59,332,460; and FY 09 est not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

May range from a few hundred to several hundred dollars monthly depending upon the assistance provided.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

25 CFR 20.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Information can be secured from the Agency Superintendents and from Regional Directors (see Catalog Appendix IV for addresses). Applications for general assistance are made at the local agency or tribal level.

Headquarters Office

Deputy Director, Office of Tribal Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1849 C St., NW., MS 320 SIB, Washington, DC 20245. Telephone: (202) 513-7642. Use the same number for FTS.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Must be an American Indian residing on or near a reservation as defined in 25 CFR 20 and must be in need as defined in 25 CFR Part 20. All eligible applicants will be funded subject to availability of funds.

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