Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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Discrimination Complaints

It is the policy of the South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) to make sure applications for program benefits and services are made available to everyone and are approved to all who meet program eligibility standards. Staff, programs and policies must not discriminate against clients or applicants for services because of actual or perceived race, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion or national origin.

DSS must also provide fair and equal access to all of its programs and services for people with disabilities; including both physical access to buildings and access to programs and services. It is a violation of the DSS Nondiscrimination Policy when inequitable practices, based on the above mentioned factors, occur in the delivery of services.

Some of these practices are:

  • Denying services or benefits;
  • Failing to provide appropriate interpreter services;
  • Limiting access to services because of inaccessible facilities;
  • Failing to make reasonable accommodations to allow full participation of people with disabilities in all programs, activities and services.

Civil Rights Training

Click here to view a Civil Rights Training video designed to educate employees of the Department of Social Services, sub-recipients of certain federal funds and the public on Civil Rights.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

As a recipient of Federal financial assistance and a state or local governmental agency, the Department of Social Services does not exclude, deny benefits to or otherwise discriminate against any person on the ground of race, color, or national origin, or on the basis of disability or age in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs, activities or services, whether carried out by the Department of Social Services directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which the Department of Social Services arranges to carry out its programs and activities; or on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs, activities or services when carried out by the Department of Social Services directly or when carried out by sub-recipients of grants issued by the United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence against Women.

The Department of Social Services:

  • Provides free aids and services to people with disabilities to communicate effectively with us, such as:
    • Qualified sign language interpreters
    • Written information in other formats (large print, audio, accessible electronic formats, other formats)
  • Provides free language services to people whose primary language is not English, such as:
    • Qualified interpreters
    • Information written in other languages

If you need these services, contact your local DSS office.

If you believe that DSS has failed to provide these services or discriminated in another way on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex, you can file a discrimination complaint or grievance with:  Discrimination Coordinator, Director of DSS Division of Legal Services, 700 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501. Phone: 605.773.3305, Fax: 605.773.7223, DSSInfo@state.sd.us . You can file a discrimination complaint or grievance in person or by mail, fax or email. If you need help filing a discrimination complaint or grievance, the Discrimination Coordinator, Director of DSS Division of Legal Services is available to help you.

You can also file a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights, electronically through the Office for Civil Rights Complaint Portal, available at https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/portal/lobby.jsf, or by mail or phone at: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 200 Independence Avenue, SW Room 509F, HHH Building Washington, D.C. 20201 1.800.368.1019, 1.800.537.7697 (TDD) Complaint forms are available at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/file/index.html.

This statement is in accordance with the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Regulations of
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued pursuant to these statutes
at Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 80, 84, and 91 and 28

CFR Part 35, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Equal Treatment for Faith-based Religions at 28 CFR Part 38,  the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

In case of questions, please contact:

Discrimination Coordinator
Director of DSS Division of Legal Services
700 Governor’s Drive
Pierre, SD  57501
605.773.3305
DSSInfo@state.sd.us

Discrimination Complaints

If you have reason to believe that DSS has discriminated against you, please complete the discrimination complaint form attached to this publication and mail it within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. You can also contact:

Discrimination Coordinator
Director of DSS Division of Legal Services
700 Governor’s Drive
Pierre SD  57501
605.773.3305  
DSSinfo@state.sd.us

In accordance with state and federal laws, you may also file a complaint with the following agencies:

  • South Dakota Division of Human Rights: 605.773.3681

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services(for discrimination in administering the SNAP (Food Stamp Program)):write to Food and Nutrition Services, Mountain Plains Regional Office, Civil Rights Coordinator, 1244 Speer Boulevard, Suite 903, Denver, CO 80204-3585

  • Office of Civil Rights
    Jocelyn Samuels, Director
    Office for Civil Rights
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
    Room 509F HHH Bldg.
    Washington, D.C. 20201

Filing a complaint with DSS does not preserve the timeframe for filing a complaint with any of the agencies listed above. You must contact each agency to determine their specific timeframe.

Retaliation

State and federal laws along with DSS policy prohibit retaliation. Any person, who has filed a complaint or assisted in the investigation of a complaint, shall not be intimidated, threatened, coerced or discriminated against. Complaints of this nature must be filed within 180 days of the alleged retaliatory act.

To access a complaint form, view the Discrimination Complaint Brochure and Form.

To speak to someone about filing a discrimination complaint, please call 605.773.3305.