Question: Who is eligible to receive Indian benefits?
Answer: The answer is in the federal Indian Act. It defines an Indian as “a person who, pursuant to this Act, is registered as an Indian or is entitled to be registered as an Indian.” To be eligible to receive benefits under the Indian Act, individuals must be registered in the Indian Register, which is maintained by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND).
The recognition by the federal government of persons registered under the Indian Act is referred to as Registered Indian Status. Please note that most of the benefits mentioned in this booklet do not apply to Non-Status Indians, who are individuals of First Nation ancestry who are not registered under the Indian Act.
Knowing which programs and policies apply to you may be difficult. Social legislation varies across the ten provinces and three territories and so do the services available to Canadians in general and to Aboriginal people in particular. What you are eligible for depends largely on where you live.
You can, however, find out about specific benefits provided by the federal government by contacting regional and district offices of DIAND, Health Canada or First Nation offices and tribal councils.