TN 115 (12-11)

SI 00830.880 Indian Fishing Rights Income


Social Security Act, as amended
Public Law 100-647, Sections 3041-3044

A. Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act (TAMRA)

The TAMRA of 1988 amended title II of the Social Security Act to exclude income from exercising fishing rights by a member of an Indian tribe from the definitions of wages and self-employment income (thus removing the income from Social Security coverage and the retirement earnings test). In doing so, TAMRA had the effect of removing Indian fishing rights income from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) definition of earned income, making it treatable as unearned income.

NOTE: Because TAMRA adversely affects SSI applicants and recipients, SSA introduced legislation to treat fishing rights income as earned income for SSI purposes. However, SSA withdrew the legislative proposal at the request of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

B. Derived income is unearned income

Income derived by a member of an Indian tribe from the exercise of recognized fishing rights (i.e., secured as of 03/17/88, by a treaty, Executive Order, or an Act of Congress) is unearned income for SSI purposes.

C. Claims treatment of fishing rights income

1. Initial claims

When processing initial claims, follow the policy in SI 00830.880B (in this section).

2. Post eligibility cases

Make no special effort to identify SSI recipients with Indian fishing rights income. If, during a scheduled or routine contact (e.g., a redetermination, post eligibility report of an income, or address change), you determine that an individual has fishing rights income, input a correction to treat the income as unearned, effective 2 months after the calendar month of input. Do not change any posted income from earned to unearned for earlier months. Send the individual a notice as described in SI 00830.880C.3. in this section.

3. Manual post eligibility notices

Send a manual notice to individuals when their eligibility or payment amount could be revised due to the change in treatment of fishing rights income as outlined below (For information on post eligibility cases, see SI this section):

  1. a. 

    Follow the notice instructions in NL 00801.001 through NL 00801.025 and NL 00803.001 through NL 00803.300.

  2. b. 

    Explain that we are changing the individual's SSI payment because of a change in the law under TAMRA, which requires that we treat income from fishing rights as unearned income, instead of earned income. Because the law requires us to count unearned income, less favorably than earned income; this requirement may reduce the individual's SSI payment.

  3. c. 

    Explain that the individual will receive another letter shortly telling:

    • the amount of the new payment and the month it will change, and

    • what to do if the individual disagrees with our decision.

NOTE: If we send the notice to a claimant, beneficiary, or representative payee who alleges blindness or visual impairment, follow the special notice procedures in NL 01001.001 through NL 01001.440

D. References

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
SI 00830.880 - Indian Fishing Rights Income - 12/09/2011
Batch run: 04/24/2015