Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

The food distribution program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) is a program that provides USDA foods to qualifying applicants through the federal government so that people can eat.

However, you must live on an Indian reservation or be a Native American household that resides in a designated area near a reservation or in Oklahoma. To meet FDPIR program eligibility requirements, you must also be a member of a low-income household, which includes the elderly.

If your application to receive FDPIR benefits is approved, you will receive a food package each month that will help you and your family maintain both a nutritious and balanced diet. To apply for FDPIR benefits, you must do so directly through your state. Though the FDPIR is administered at the federal level, it is locally operated through the state and each state has varying eligibility criteria.

What is FDPIR?

The FDPIR program is administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This food assistance program operates locally through Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) or other agencies of the state government, to offer food to low-income households on, or around, reservation land.

Many households that currently participate in FDPIR do so as an alternative to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because these households usually do not have quick access to SNAP offices or food stores that authorize SNAP purchases. However, keep in mind that households cannot participate in SNAP and FDPIR benefits in the same month, so be sure to discontinue one service if you wish to participate in the other.

How Does the FDPIR Program Work?

Before you can apply for the food distribution program on Indian reservations, you must first know how the program works. According to program guidelines, the USDA purchases then ships food to local ITOs and state agencies. However, it is the responsibility of the USDA to provide the distributing agencies with funds to cover the program’s administrative costs.

Related Article: Program Basics

It is up to the administering agencies to determine which applicants meet eligibility requirements. Then, they must provide them with nutrition education. Once the food arrives, the administering agencies distribute the food by providing each recipient with a package of USDA foods that were selected to help the household maintain a nutritionally-balanced diet that is consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Food selection is based on both guide standards on the food readily available, such as seasonal fruits and vegetables.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for FDPIR?

Now that you know how the FDPIR benefits program works, you may be wondering if you and your household meet eligibility requirements.According to program guidelines, to meet the FDPIR eligibility requirements, first, you must be a member of a household that:

  • Lives on an Indian reservation
  • Resides in approved areas near a reservation
  • Lives in Oklahoma

Next, to qualify for FDPIR, at least one person in the household must be a member of a federally-recognized tribe. Once all of these requirements have been met, households must also meet income requirements, which are similar to the requirements for SNAP benefits in the state. After the application has been processed and approved, you will begin to receive benefits in the following month.

What Foods Can I Get Through FDPIR?

Now that you know whether you meet the requirements for food distribution on Indian reservations, you are ready to know which types of foods are available.

Each month, your household will receive a food package with products that you can choose from. According to program guidelines, you can choose from over 100 products, which include:

  • Meats, such as beef roast, frozen ground beef, chicken, canned meats, pork chops, poultry, and fish
  • Canned foods, such as vegetables, fruits, soups, spaghetti sauce, and beans
  • Grains, such as cereals, rice, and pasta
  • Dairy products, such as egg mix, cheese, nonfat dry milk, low-fat ultra-high temperate milk, and evaporated milk
  • Baking goods, such as bakery mix, flour, crackers, and cornmeal
  • Dried beans and dried fruit
  • Dehydrated potatoes
  • Juices
  • Peanut butter and peanuts

NOTE: If preferred, recipients of FPDIR benefits can choose fresh produce instead of canned vegetables and fruits.

How Can I Apply for FDPIR Benefits?

Now that you have learned about the FDPIR program, you are ready to apply. To do so, you must contact your State Distributing Agency (SDA) or ITO, which is responsible for overseeing the program in the area in which you reside. You can also contact the FNS Regional Office where you live for further assistance.

NOTE: In accordance to federal law, the USDA and its agencies, offices, and employees cannot discriminate against applicants based on their race, national origin, color, sex, age, religious creed, political beliefs, or disability.

Can I Get Assistance with my FDPIR Application?

If you are a person with disabilities who need an alternative means of communication to receive information about the FDPIR program, such as audiotape, large print, American Sign Language or Braille, you should contact your SDA. If you are hard of hearing or deaf, or have a speech disability, you may contact the USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. If you speak a language other than English, you may be able to request program information in another language.

My FDPIR Application is Approved. How Often Do I Need to Recertify?

If your household meets FDPIR benefit requirements, it is essential that you know that you will need to certify frequently. If you fail to do so, you will lose your benefits.Therefore, to make sure that you continue to follow the program guidelines, you will need to recertify when necessary. Households are certified based on the income standers put in place by the federal government and must be done at least every 12 months. However, disabled and elderly households may be able to certify for up to 24 months.

Related Article: How to Renew Food Stamps Benefits

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