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LIHEAP IM 2011-02 Treatment of Per Capita Payments

Special Topics

Published: December 22, 2010
Audience:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Category:
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Information Memorandums (IM)
TO:

LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP) GRANTEES AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES

ACTION
INTENDED FOR: 

__X__STATES

__X__TRIBES/TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS

__X__TERRITORIES

SUBJECT:

Treatment of Per Capita Payments

RELATED REFERENCES:

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981, 42 U.S.C. § 8621 et seq.; Section 2 of the Per Capita Act, 25 U.S.C. § 117b; Sections 7 and 8 of the Indian Tribal Judgment Funds Use or Distribution Act, 25 U.S.C. §§ 1407 & 1408.

PURPOSE:

To advise grantees of the treatment of per capita payments when determining eligibility for LIHEAP benefits.

BACKGROUND:

Section 2605(b)(2) of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981 (the “LIHEAP statute”), 42 U.S.C. § 8624(b)(2), defines who may be eligible to receive LIHEAP assistance. The LIHEAP statute provides grantees with the flexibility to include as eligible all of those mentioned in the law, or to limit eligible households to a smaller target group. Although the law allows categorical eligibility (such as those households receiving assistance through TANF), grantees must also offer eligibility to households on the basis of income as required by section 2605 (b) (8) of the LIHEAP statute, 42 U.S.C. § 8624(b)(8).

The LIHEAP statute does not specify what types of household income should be counted when determining eligibility.  LIHEAP grantees have the discretion to establish income inclusion guidelines; however, by law, certain benefits and resources must be excluded from household income when determining eligibility for Federal or Federally assisted programs.

CONTENT:

 

There are various laws addressing the income of certain payments made to Tribes that require the inclusion or exclusion of payments when determining eligibility for Federal or Federally assisted programs based on income.

The Per Capita Act, 25 U.S.C. § 117a et seq. , provides that per capita payments to Tribes out of tribal trust revenue may be made by either the Secretary of Interior or by the tribe pursuant to an approved plan.  In the past, the law permitted per capita payments to be made only by the Secretary.  Furthermore, the law requires that funds be distributed subject to the provisions of “section 7 of the Act of October 19, 1973 (87 Stat. 466), as amended [25 U.S.C.A. § 1407].”  Section 7 of the Act of October 19, 1973, also known as the Indian Tribal Judgment Funds Use or Distribution Act, states that per capita payments shall not “be considered as income or resources [or] otherwise utilized as the basis for denying or reducing the financial assistance or other benefits to which such household or member would otherwise be entitled under the Social Security Act or, except for per capita shares in excess of $2,000, any Federal or federally assisted program.”  As indicated in the Per Capita Act, per capita payments to Shoshone and Arapaho Tribes of the Wind River Reservation are addressed in other laws (25 U.S.C. § 611), but are subject to the above provisions.

According to Section 8 of the Indian Tribal Judgment Funds Use or Distribution Act, 25 U.S.C. § 1408, the individual interests earned from Tribal “trust or restricted lands shall not be considered a resource, and up to $2,000 per year of income received by individual Indians that is derived from such interests shall not be considered income, in determining eligibility for assistance under the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 301 et seq.] or any other Federal or federally assisted program.”

Per capita payment distributions made related to gaming revenues may be considered a resource and included when determining eligibility based on income.

 

INQUIRIES TO: Chad D. Sawyer, Program Specialist
Energy Policy and Evaluation Branch
Telephone: (202) 260-0277
E-mail: chad.sawyer@acf.hhs.gov

 

_______/s/_________________
Nick St. Angelo
Director
Division of Energy Assistance
Office of Community Services