If you qualify for the Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance program, you may also be eligible for an Obama Phone. Let’s briefly review how the program works, who qualifies for it, and how to enroll.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) General Assistance program provides assistance to federally recognized American Indians and Alaska native tribe members. It is designed to provide cash to participants which is to be used to meet the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, utilities and in some cases burial assistance. Additionally, qualifying for BIA General Assistance, or any other government program described on this site, also qualifies you for the Lifeline Assistance Obama Phone program.
BIA General Assistance Program Details
Participants in the BIA General Assistance program are required to work with a social services worker to develop and sign an Individual Self Sufficiency Plan (ISP). This plan is a roadmap and a pledge to find and maintain employment. The plan must outline specific steps you will take to increase your independence from subsidized assistance.
Eligibility for BIA General Assistance is reviewed every three months, six months, or when a change in status affects eligibility. If you decline employment or quit a job while participating in the program, you are unable to receive benefits for period of between 60 and 90 days.
In addition to basic needs, the BIA General Assistance program also provides funds for the following situations:
- Adult care assistance to provide medical care for adult Indians with advanced health needs who require personal care and supervision and cannot be cared for by family members
- Child assistance to cover services at a residential care facility, adoption or guardianship subsidies, temporary foster care or short-term homemaker services
- Case management services that assist individuals and families in solving problems related to family Case management services that assist individuals and families in solving problems related to family functioning and interpersonal relationships. This can include referral to resources for problems related to illness, substance abuse, legal issues, protective services or economic opportunity and money management skills.
- Cash emergency assistance for individuals or families who are the victims of a natural disaster or experience the destruction of their home and damage to personal possessions
How to Qualify for BIA General Assistance?
In order to qualify for BIA General Assistance, you must meet all of the following criteria:
- Be an enrolled member of a federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native tribe
- Have an inability to cover the costs of basic food, clothing, shelter and utilities
- Live in or near an approved service area
- Apply concurrently for all other federal, state, tribal, county and local programs for which they are eligible
- Not be currently receiving any type of similar assistance
How to Enroll in BIA General Assistance?
If you wish to enroll in BIA General Assistance, you must locate and visit a BIA operated or tribal social service provider. There you must complete an application that contains information on all family members living in the household and all of the income sources available to the family.
Program administrators will make a determination on the application within 45 days of submittal. Those who are approved to receive assistance will receive an award letter from the national or regional BIA office. Benefits are prorated from the date that the application is submitted.