What Government Benefits Do Native Americans Receive?

Free health care, college tuition grants, temporary assistance for needy families, food stamps and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations are some of the government benefits that Native Americans who are eligible can receive as of 2015. Supplemental Security Income and the Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program are available to Native Americans living on or off of reservations. Some tribes also receive government benefits that fulfill treaty obligations or for the extraction of minerals on tribal lands.

Indian Health Services corresponds in activities with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Health care services are provided through a network of clinics and hospitals based on reservations. This network also provides mental health services, substance abuse counseling and treatment, home health care, nutrition education, and mother and child health programs.

Native Americans are eligible for all of the low-income assistance programs that other American citizens can receive, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Some of these programs may be administered directly through tribal authorities instead of traditional channels.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Indian Higher Education Grant Program provides grants for eligible Native American students who are enrolled in accredited degree programs at colleges or universities. Other federal government departments, including Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Justice, Commerce and Labor, as well as the departments of Energy and Education, administer special programs to assist Native Americans.