Native American Indian Trust Fund

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) holds millions of acres in trust for Native Americans. Money from Oil and Gas, Coal and Mining leases, Timber Sales and Agricultural and Grazing land leases are distributed under the Individual Indian Monies Program (IIM).

The Federal Office of Trust Funds Management also administers Tribal Trust Accounts. The Special Trust for American Indians oversees the annual payments of 450 Million dollars for about 300,000 Native Americans, about $1,500 per individual.

Indian Tribes from all over the US, have collectively sued the Federal Government for funds mismanagement and improper accounting. The lawsuits alleged the government failed to properly collect and invest the tribal natural resource assets. The total amount that has been settled is over a Billion Dollars with just 41 of the 114 Tribes that had filed suit.

In another tribal case, another Billion Dollar settlement was approved, whereby individual Indian beneficiaries will receive a minimum of $1,800 each.

The IIM Instructions for Disbursement of Funds and Change of Address Form is used by the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) to establish the account preferences and update personal information, such as change of address or name, of IIM trust account holders. IIM account holders who have moved or are no longer receiving quarterly statements, should contact OST right away to update their contact information to ensure there is no lapse in service. the form can be accessed online on OST's website and returned to the OST Trust Beneficiary Call Center offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Beneficiaries can also call the Trust Beneficiary Call Center, 1-888-678-6836, to update their account information over the phone. To process the request, Call Center staff requires the caller to provide at least two of the following pieces of information:

  • Social security number

  • Date of birth

  • Last address of record

  • IIM account number

  • Approximate date and amount of the last disbursement

Are Your "Whereabouts Unknown?"

Many people believe the BIA and OST will always know where they are. They won't! People end up on the "Whereabouts Unknown" list for several reasons. For example, when a person dies without a will, his or her assets may go to his or her living heirs. Many times those heirs are not living in the same area, and no one knows where they are. Often people move and forget to notify the BIA or OST, especially if they don't have an active account when they move.

According to recent data, there are more than 102,000 individuals on the OST's Whereabouts Unknown list with $66 million in trust assets in their accounts. There's a lot of unclaimed Indian money!

To help locate these individuals these individuals, OST posts the Whereabouts Unknown list on its website and circulates it at regional trust beneficiary meetings. Here are three actions you can take to help OST locate people who are on its "Whereabouts Unknown: list:

  1. Go to OST's website and click on the link "Is OST Holding Money for You? to see a list of people on the Whereabouts Unknown list.

  2. Fill out the Instructions for Disbursement of Funds and Change of Address from found on OST's website and return it to the OST's central offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

  3. Call OST's toll-free hotline, 1-888-678-6836, to update your contact information and to speak to an OST representative.

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