Apply For South Dakota TANF Benefits

Learn how to apply for South Dakota TANF. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, called South Dakota Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, may help you become self-supportive while receiving monthly cash benefits to meet your everyday needs such as rent, utilities, clothes, transportation, or additional expenses.

Sometimes you may not be eligible to receive TANF for yourself, but a child or children in your household may. The TANF program is administered by the Department of Social Services. In most cases, in order to qualify for TANF you must meet both types of eligibility, categorical and financial.

Additionally, to qualify for TANF there are work requirements. The SD TANF program requires most adults be employed or participate in certain work-related activities, which you will be assigned for a certain number of hours on a weekly basis in order to continue receiving TANF benefits.

The total number of hours needed to fulfill your work activity requirement depends on your family composition. Qualified state residents are required to produce information including household income, age, citizenship and resources.

Only household members who are eligible for South Dakota TANF can receive welfare benefits. For more information about applying for SD TANF benefits, view the information below. If you still have questions or issues, then contact TANF South Dakota.

TANF is a needs-based program for families with children under age 18 (or under age 19 if the child is in high school) who need financial support because of:

  • A death of a parent
  • A parent is absent from the home or
  • Physical or mental incapacity or unemployment of a parent

Families with serious financial needs may qualify for TANF monthly payments. Your TANF payment is based on who lives with your family, who is eligible in your household, and other income and resources available to your family.

Apply for South Dakota TANF

There are 2 components when applying for SD TANF benefits.

  • The work component is handled by employment specialists at Department of Social Services (DSS) offices in reservation areas or Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR) Local Offices
  • The eligibility component is handled by caseworkers at local DSS offices
  • To find a location, view a list of DSS and DLR offices near you
  • To download a copy of the TANF application, click here

Please note, a social security number must be provided as a condition of eligibility. Individuals will be ineligible until the SSN is provided or proof of application is received.

TANF is a work program. You begin the application process with an employment specialist, unless you are not required to participate in a work program. You are not required to participate if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are a dependent child under 16 years old or a full-time student in high school
  • You are a parent taking care of a baby who is under 12 weeks old
  • You are approved to receive Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments from the Social Security Administration
  • You are a veteran who has 100 percent disability and are approved to receive disability payments from the Veteran's Administration

South Dakota TANF payments

TANF payments will be received electronically. Recipients may choose to have their payments deposited directly into their checking or savings account, or they may choose to receive the Way2Go card.

The Way2Go card is a MasterCard Prepaid Debit Card. The card can be used anywhere MasterCard Debit Cards are accepted. No credit check or bank account is required. Your payment will be electronically deposited using the same safe and dependable method as direct deposit.

South Dakota TANF time limit

An adult South Dakota TANF recipient may not receive TANF benefits for more than 60 months (five years). The 60 months do not have to be consecutive months in a row and are not limited to assistance in South Dakota, but may be from any other state.

During this 60-month life time limit, recipients are required to participate in work activities. Adult TANF recipients are expected to become self-sufficient within this time limit.

South Dakota TANF work requirements

SD TANF participants are required to work in allowable work activities a minimum of 30 hours each week. If you have a child under six years old, your weekly minimum requirement is 20 hours. A Personal Responsibility Agreement is a written and signed agreement between you and the TANF Program. You must agree to the following:

  • TANF assistance is temporary
  • TANF is a work program
  • It is your responsibility to find and keep work
  • You will accept responsibility for yourself and your children
  • You will follow all program conditions such as developing a work plan, keeping appointments, participating in a work activity, completing and submitting time sheets, and making sure your children attend school

Your Personal Responsibility Plan will tell you what work activities you have and how many hours you must work. It is very important that you follow the activities you've outlined in your Personal Responsibility Plan.

Personal Responsibility Agreement (PRA)

A Personal Responsibility Agreement (PRA) is a written and signed agreement between you and the TANF program. You agree that:

  • TANF assistance is temporary
  • TANF is a work program
  • It is your responsibility to find and keep work
  • You will accept responsibility for yourself and your children
  • You will follow all program conditions such as developing a work plan, keeping appointments, participating in a work activity, completing and submitting time sheets, and making sure your children attend school
  • TANF benefits are intended to assist individuals and their families in meeting their basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, utilities, household items, and personal care items
  • TANF benefits are not to be used for alcohol, illegal drugs, gambling, or other purposes not intended to meet basic needs
Personal Responsibility Plan (PRP)

Your employment specialist will work with you to develop your own Personal Responsibility Plan (PRP). You should think of this plan as a guide to help you become self-sufficient and employed.

Your plan shows your strengths and skills and outlines ways for you to reach your work goals. Your plan will specify your work activity and how many hours you are required to participate. Your PRP is a very important document. It contains:

  • Job and employment choices you are interested in working
  • A summary of your strengths and skills
  • The required number of hours of work participation
  • Objectives and related actions to meet employment goals and become self-sufficient
  • Your signature and employment specialist's signature and date

Some general guidelines for preparing a PRP are:

  • A PRP should focus on employment
  • The PRP has to be flexible and needs to be revised as circumstances change
  • PRP objectives must be realistic, a series of small achievements that can be accomplished, as opposed to a large goal that can seem overwhelming
Preparing a Personal Responsibility Plan

One of the first steps your employment specialist will do is complete an assessment or evaluation of your job skills and strengths. The employment specialist will also identify any problems you may have with transportation or child care. The assessment covers the following areas:

  • Work History
  • Will work history or reference be a problem?
  • Is training needed?
  • Is there a job market for your current job skills?
  • Transportation
  • Do you have a vehicle (year & model)?
  • Does the vehicle need repairs?
  • Do you have valid driver's license?
  • Do you have auto insurance?
  • Is public transportation available?
  • Education
  • Summary of prior education and training?
  • Date education or training was completed?
  • Current educational status?
  • Is job testing needed or completed?
  • Housing
  • Rents or own?
  • Lives with others?
  • Subsidized or unsubsidized?
  • Life Circumstances
  • Visitation with absent parent?
  • Joint custody?
  • Help with child care?
  • Child support amount?
  • Special Needs of the Family
  • School discipline problems?
  • Geographic location?
  • Alcohol or drug addiction?
  • Medical or health problems?
  • Personal Support
  • Family, In-laws?
  • Friends?
  • Church, other organizations?
  • Child Care
  • Is child care available?
  • Has referral been made for child care services?
  • Needs help in finding child care?
  • Does child have special needs?

When will I start getting TANF benefits?
You should start receiving your South Dakota TANF benefits within 30 days. Benefits will be determined from the date the signed application is received.

Do I need an interview?
Yes, in order to qualify for the SD TANF program, you will need to have an interview and provide proof of income and expenses. If this is not a new application they will only need verification of any changes.

Do I have to cooperate with Child Support to receive temporary assistance?
If you are receiving South Dakota TANF benefits and you are the custodial parent of a minor child whose other parent does not live in your home, you are automatically referred for child support services. You will not have to pay a fee or fill out an application.

Child support services will continue to be provided after benefits are terminated unless the custodial parent declines continued services. If you are not receiving assistance, you can apply for child support services by contacting any Division of Child Support (DCS) office. You will have to fill out an application and pay a $5 fee.

I was denied TANF benefits. What can I do?

State and local agencies are responsible for establishing the eligibility criteria and procedures that apply in their programs, not the Federal government. If you disagree with a decision regarding welfare benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. For more information about your state's appeals procedures, contact the SD TANF office.