Households must meet eligibility requirements and provide information and verification about their household circumstances.
To participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program:
USDA-FNS defines the food items that are eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. DSS does not have the authority to change the food definition.
Households CAN use SNAP benefits to buy:
Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:
Eligible households are issued a monthly allotment of SNAP benefits based on the Thrifty Food Plan, a low-cost model diet plan. The TFP is based on National Academy of Sciences’ Recommended Dietary allowances, and on food choices of low-income households. An individual household's SNAP allotment is equal to the maximum allotment for that household's size, less 30 percent of the household's net income.
SNAP statistics for South Dakota as of July 2014:
The Department of Social Services is committed to the integrity of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Benefits Specialists carefully evaluate each application to determine eligibility and the appropriate level of benefits, ensuring that only eligible individuals participate and that recipients receive the correct amount of benefits. South Dakota has a proven track record for providing accurate benefits to the households it serves with a payment accuracy rate off 99.01% for Federal Fiscal Year 2013.
USDA-FNS is responsible for authorizing and monitoring retailers that accept EBT cards. If a retailer is suspected of being involved in the illegal sale of SNAP benefits for cash or other ineligible items, they will be investigated by FNS. If found guilty of violating program rules, retailers can face heavy fines, removal from the list of eligible vendors or face jail time.
As part of the commitment to program integrity, USDA works closely with the states to ensure they issue their benefits correctly. State workers carefully evaluate each application to determine eligibility and the appropriate level of benefits. USDA monitors the accuracy of eligibility and benefit determinations. States that fail to meet standards for issuing their SNAP benefits correctly can be sanctioned by USDA and those exceeding the standard for payment accuracy can be eligible for additional funding support. People who receive SNAP benefits in error must repay any benefits for which they did not qualify.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program traces its earliest origins back to the Food Stamp Plan, which began in 1939 to help needy families in the Depression Era. The modern program began as a pilot project in 1961 and was authorized as a permanent program in 1964. Expansion of the program occurred most dramatically after 1974, when Congress required all states to offer food stamps to low-income households. The Food Stamp Act of 1977 made significant changes in program regulations, tightening eligibility requirements and administration, and removing the requirement that benefits be purchased by participants.