TN 115 (12-11)

SI 00830.850 Exclusion of Income from Individual Interests in Indian Trust or Restricted Lands

Citations: Act as amended, §

1612(a) (2);

20 CFR 416.1124(b);

P.L. 93-134, §8, as amended by P.L. 103-66, §13736

A. Background information on Indian trust or restricted lands

Federal statutes exclude Native American income derived from tribal trust lands. For more information on exclusions, see SI 00830.830. We exclude individual interests of Native Americans in trust or restricted lands from resources. For information on Indians in trust or restricted lands, see SI 01130.150.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-66), enacted August 10, 1993, further provides for an exclusion of income derived from those individual interests in Indian trust or restricted lands for purposes of determining Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility and payment amount.

This income (called individual Indian trust or lease income) generally comes from interests in lands allotted to individual Indians many years ago. The income generated by those interests may be quite small since many of the original interests in allotted lands have fractionated over time; e.g., due to inheritance by multiple heirs over several generations.

B. Payment exclusion for SSI eligibility

Effective January 1, 1994, we exclude up to $2,000 per year in payments derived from individual interests in Indian trust or restricted lands from income. Such payments include any interest that accrues on funds while held by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and before distributing or crediting to an individual's account.

This exclusion applies to the income of an ineligible spouse or ineligible parent(s) in the deeming process. However, the exclusion does not apply to the income of a sponsor when deeming to an alien or to the income of an essential person.

For purposes of applying the $2,000 annual exclusion, for both eligibles and deemors, only payments received in months of the SSI individual's eligibility count toward the $2,000 annual exclusion.

C. Development and documentation of income

The field office should verify and document income derived from individual interests in trust or restricted lands per SI 00830.830E (in this section).

If that income exceeds $2,000 per calendar year, determine the month exceeding the $2,000 annual exclusion, and count the excess as unearned income in the months received. Field offices (FOs) may use any method of keeping track of the excluded income that is effective (e.g., manual record-keeping, use of rental or lease income (IRLI) screen on the Modernized Supplemental Security Income Claims System (MSSICS).

EXAMPLE: During a redetermination interview, Mr. Elwell, a member of the Yakima Indian Tribe, reports receiving accumulated lease payments of $2,800 in 1994 from his individual interests in allotted Indian grazing lands. He alleges receiving $1,000 in March, $700 in June, and $1,100 in October. Review of FO records shows that the claimant reported the payments for March and June timely, but Mr. Elwell was ineligible for SSI payments in June due to receipt of earned income. The claims representative (CR) excludes the payment received in March and $1,000 of the payment received in October, and does not consider the $700 received in June. The CR determines unearned income of $100 for October, is the month that exceeds the $2,000 annual exclusion.

D. Procedure for manual notices

Issue manual notices in all situations where the income derived from interests of individual Indians in trust or restricted lands affects payment amounts.

Suppress the systems-generated notice.

For instructions on preparing a manual notice, refer to NL 00801.010E.

Include in the manual notice:

  • an explanation of the $2,000 annual exclusion of income derived from an individual Indian's interest in trust or restricted lands; and

  • a summary of date(s) and amount(s) of such income used in figuring the individual's SSI payments.

NOTE: Follow the special notice procedures in NL 01001.010 if sending the notice to a claimant, beneficiary, or representative payee who alleges blindness or visual impairment.

E. References

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
SI 00830.850 - Exclusion of Income from Individual Interests in Indian Trust or Restricted Lands - 10/12/2012
Batch run: 10/12/2012