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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps low-income South Dakotans buy the food they need to stay healthy while they work to regain financial independence. SNAP benefits are not intended to cover all of a person or family’s food costs but will help with purchasing the food needed for a nutritionally adequate diet. 

The amount of SNAP benefits a person or family receives is based on household size, income and allowable expenses. 

For children, a better diet means better learning in school.  For adults, it means better performance on the job or a better foundation for developing job skills that can give them and their family independence.  For seniors and individuals with disabilities, it means access to a balanced diet vital to their nutritional well-being.  For everyone, participation in SNAP can help stretch limited budgets, improve nutrition and reduce the risk of diet-related health problems.  People of all ages use SNAP benefits. 

If you are eligible for or currently receiving SNAP benefits, you may be interested in nutrition education.  Visit iGrow to learn more about how to feed your family with less money.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program operates under the requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Applying for SNAP

There are a few different ways to apply for SNAP.  Please choose the option that works best for you:

  • Apply faster online at You can apply, renew, or report changes for SNAP and/or Medical Assistance on this website.
  • You can file an application at your local Social Services office.
  • You can download an application form, complete and return it (in person or via mail) to your local Social Services office.
  • See Required Verification information listed below.

SNAP Eligibility Requirements

An application for SNAP benefits must be made at your local office or online.

Gross Income Guidelines

Household Size Gross monthly income
(130 percent of poverty)
Net monthly income
(100 percent of poverty)
1 $1,580 $1,215
2 $2,137 $1,644
3 $2,694 $2,072
4 $3,250 $2,500
5 $3,807 $2,929
6 $4,364 $3,357
7 $4,921 $3,785
8 $5,478 $4,214
Each additional member + $557 + $429

Required Verifications

At the time of your interview, you will be asked to provide the following verifications:

  • Proof of identity (driver’s license, etc.), alien status
  • Social Security numbers for all household members
  • If employed, proof of income (wage stubs, earning statements, etc.) for the past 30 days
  • If self-employed, proof of income (income tax return, self-employment ledgers, etc.)
  • Proof of all other income (Social Security, SSI, workmen’s compensation, unemployment benefits, BIA general assistance, child support, rental income, VA benefits, interest income for last year, etc.)
  • Information about checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, credit union accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, dividends, etc

If you cannot get all the information together by your interview date, still come for the interview because you will have additional time to provide this information. If you need assistance in obtaining this information, please discuss with your benefits specialist at the time of the interview.

Other Verifications that may increase your benefits, if provided:

  • Proof of shelter costs (rent or mortgage payment, lot rent, household, real estate taxes, utility bills - heat, electricity, water/sewage/garbage, telephone, etc.)
  • Proof of dependent care expenses (statement from provider, signed receipts, etc.)
  • If anyone is age 60 or older, or permanently disabled, proof of medical expenses not paid by another source (health insurance, doctor bills, hospital bills, drug receipts, pharmacy statement, etc.)
  • If paying child support payments, proof of obligation and payment (divorce decree/administrative order, cancelled checks, clerk of courts receipt, etc.)

If you need assistance in obtaining this information, please discuss with your benefits specialist at the time of the interview.

SNAP Fraud and Abuse

It is illegal to knowingly use, transfer, buy, sell or possess SNAP benefits, food purchased with SNAP benefits, or South Dakota EBT cards in any way not authorized by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. You could be charged with a felony, and if found guilty, you could be fined up to $250,000, be sentenced to 20 years in jail, or both.

Persons found guilty of intentional program violations will be disqualified from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In addition, repayment of any unauthorized SNAP benefits issued is required.

Minimize the Risk of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Theft

There are several ways to minimize the risk of stolen benefits. Households are encouraged to:

  • Choose a strong Personal Identification Number (PIN). Avoid using obvious number combinations or number sequences, your date of birth or your Social Security Number.
  • Do not write your PIN on your South Dakota EBT card.
  • Do not keep your pin in your wallet, purse, or with your EBT card.
  • Don’t use the same PIN number for each of your important accounts, use a variety.
  • Change your PIN frequently.
For more tips on card safety, see the EBT CLIENT HANDBOOK.

Who is Eligible to Receive SNAP Benefits?

Households must meet eligibility requirements and provide information and verification about their household circumstances.

To participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program:

  • Households may have no more than $2,750 in countable resources, such as a bank account ($4,250 if at least one person in the household is a person with a disability or age 60 or older). Certain resources are not counted, such as your home and one vehicle.
  • The gross monthly income of most households must be 130 percent or less of the Federal poverty guidelines. Gross income includes all cash payments to the household, with a few exceptions specified in the law or the program regulations.
  • Net monthly income must be 100 percent or less of the Federal poverty guidelines. Net income is figured by adding all of a household's gross income, and then subtracting the approved deductions for shelter costs, dependent care costs, child support payments made to someone not living with the household, and medical expenses for individuals over the age of 60 or with a disability. Households with a person with a disability or age 60 or older are subject only to the net income test.
  • Most able-bodied adult applicants must meet certain work requirements.
  • All household members must provide a Social Security number or apply for one, if they wish to receive benefits.
  • Federal poverty guidelines are established by the Office of Management and Budget and are updated annually by the Department of Health and Human Services.

What Foods are Eligible for Purchase with SNAP Benefits?

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:

  • Foods for the household to eat such as breads and cereals; fruits and vegetables; meats, fish and poultry; and dairy products.
  • Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.

Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco;
  • Any nonfood items such as pet foods, soaps, paper products and household supplies
  • Vitamins and medicines.
  • Food that will be eaten in the store.
  • Hot foods

How is Each Household's SNAP Allotment Determined?

Eligible households are issued a monthly allotment of SNAP benefits based on the Thrifty Food Plan, a low-cost model diet plan. The Thrifty Food Plan is based on National Academy of Sciences’ Recommended Dietary allowances, and on food choices of low-income households. A 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 Benefit Replacement

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) theft can occur due to card skimming, cloning, and other similar fraudulent methods. Card skimming occurs when devices illegally installed on ATMs or point-of-sale (POS) terminals capture card data or record a Personally Identifiable Number (PIN). Criminals can use data captured by skimming or other means to create fake EBT cards (card cloning) and then use those to steal from household’s accounts.
If you discover fraudulent activity on your EBT card or if you believe you have been the victim of EBT card fraud, immediately request a replacement card using ebtEDGE Mobile App, the ebtEDGE Cardholder Portal or by calling Cardholder Customer Service at 800.604.5099. For assistance requesting a replacement card or requesting replacement benefits due to card skimming, cloning, or other fraudulent methods, contact your Benefits Specialist at your local Social Services office.

  • Electronic benefit fraud must be reported to your Benefits Specialist within 30 days of the date of discovery.
  • Reports can be accepted by telephone, mail, e-mail, or in-person.
  • Replacements due to electronic benefits theft are limited to no more than 2 replacements within each Federal Fiscal Year.
  • The amount of replacement is limited to the lesser of the amount of benefits stolen or the amount equal to the 2 previous months of the household’s monthly allotment.

What Measures are Taken to Ensure Integrity of the SNAP and to Prevent Benefit Fraud?

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.

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 jail time. 

What Keeps Unqualified People from Getting SNAP Benefits?

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.

When Did the Program Begin?

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.

SNAP Applicant and Recipient Rights

Anyone may apply for SNAP benefits. Applicants and recipients have the right to file an application on the same day they contact the local office. They may request help completing an application and have the right to be interviewed in private with household circumstances kept confidential.

Those applicants who qualify as having an immediate need have the right to get SNAP benefits within a few days of their application.

Applicants and recipients have the right to receive notice of any change in their benefits or certification period. Applicants may request a fair hearing if they feel the Department has made a mistake in their case. They are entitled to be notified of the decision of that hearing and they have the right to appeal it.