Individual Indian Money Accounts

What is an IIM Account?  

An Individual Indian Money (IIM) account is an interest-bearing account managed by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Trust Funds Administration (BTFA) on behalf of an individual who has money or other assets held in trust for them by the Federal government. You might have an IIM account because: 

  • You inherited the land through probate. 
  • You received an interest in trust land through a Gift Deed or purchase. 
  • You received a per capita trust payment from a Tribe, a tribal settlement, or a court-ordered judgment award. 

Where does the money come from? 

The Federal government deposits money into IIM accounts from a variety of sources. These sources include encumbrances (commercial, industrial, recreational, mineral, or agricultural leases), grazing and range permits, timber sales and permits, rights-of-way uses, land sales, and court judgment or settlement awards for Tribes and individuals (e.g. per capita payments). IIM Accounts do not include proceeds from Tribal gaming. 

Do accounts earn interest? 

If funds are held in an account for more than one day, they are invested in government securities and earn interest. The rate of interest earned on trust accounts is determined by  how the money is invested and how those investments perform. While these interest rates vary, they are always higher than what’s offered by regular savings bank accounts. Your quarterly statement will list your earnings through interest. 

Types of Accounts 


Most adults have unrestricted accounts, which means funds will be automatically disbursed as received. By default, funds in unrestricted accounts are sent to the account holder whenever the balance reaches $5. However, beneficiaries may choose to put their IIM account on “Voluntary Hold” , which means the account holder decides the timing and amount of payments from the account.


Restricted accounts must meet certain criteria before funds can be disbursed from them. Funds in restricted accounts are invested and earn income. Accounts are restricted for a variety of reasons, including: 

  • A claim is pending against the account, such as for child support. 
  • BTFA does not have a current address on file. This may occur when the post office returns mail and the beneficiary is placed on the Whereabouts Unknown list. 
  • Supervised accounts created for adults in need of financial assistance, adult non compos, or other legal disability.  
  • Supervised accounts created for minors and managed on their behalf until they’re 18 years old. 

The funds in supervised accounts are disbursed in accordance with a distribution plan approved by Bureau of Indian Affairs Social Services. If the account holder is a minor, the account is supervised until the account holder reaches 18 years of age (age of majority) unless social services determines the account should remain supervised. 


Estate accounts are established when BTFA receives notice that an account holder is deceased. Estate accounts remain open, receiving income and earning interest, until the probate process (which may take several years) is completed and assets are distributed in accordance to the probate officer. Family members of deceased account holders should contact their agency as soon as possible to begin the probate process. 

Need help? 

Contact us if you have questions about your IIM account. To safeguard your account, we may require additional documentation in order to verify your identity. 

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