Bridge to Benefits
Frequently Asked Questions
Read below to learn more about the rules and guidelines for the public benefits on this website. Click on a question below to find the answer. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us at:

South Dakota Voices for Children
 
 
Main Office:
808 N. West Avenue • PO Box 2196 • Sioux Falls, SD 57101-2196
605-367-9667 • Fax: 605-335-3836 • office@sdvoicesforchildren.org

  1. What is an income limit?
  2. Which programs have exceptions to the income limits?
  3. What are resources?
  4. What are the resource limits for each program?
  5. What if I don't have any children? Will I still qualify for any of these programs?
  6. How does South Dakota residency affect my eligibility for these programs?
  7. How does my immigration status affect my eligibility for these programs?
  8. Who is an eligible caregiver for the Child Care Assistance Program?
  9. Can I get the money from my Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) before tax season?
  10. Will receiving money from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) affect my eligibility for other programs?

1. What is an income limit?
An income limit is the most money that you or your family can make and still qualify for a program. If your yearly income is higher than an income limit, you will probably not qualify. However, some programs have exceptions to the income limits or make adjustments to your income based on other household expenses. It is OK to apply for a program even if you are over the income limit to see if you might still be eligible.

2. Which programs have exceptions to the income limits?
Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Some of your income may not count if you have expenses such as child care or child support. If you are close to the income limit, we recommend that you still apply.

Child Care Assistance Program:  Child Care Assistance may not count some of your income if you have expenses such as child support. If you are close to the income limit, we recommend that you still apply.

Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP may not count some of your income if you have expenses such as child support. If you are close to the income limit, we recommend that you still apply.

Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP): LIEAP may not count some of your income if you have expenses such as child support. If you are close to the income limit, we recommend that you still apply.

3. What are resources?
Resources are items of value that you or your family own including cash, money in a checking or savings account or an Individual Retirement Account, stocks and bonds. Each program looks at resources differently see Frequently Asked Question 4.

4. What are the resource limits for each program?
Child Care Assistance programs:
Child Care Assistance Programs do not look at resources.

Children’s Health Insurance Program: 
The Children’s Health Insurance Program does not look at resources. 

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC):
Investment income must be $3,100 or less for Tax Year 2009.

Low-Income Energy Assistance Program:
LIEAP does not look at resources.

School Meal Program:
The School Meal Program does not look at resources.

Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):
Household resources must be less than $2,000 ($3,000 for households that include a member age 60 or older or a disabled household member).  Home, lot and most vehicles are excluded.

WIC (Women, Infants, Children):
When income needs to be determined, local agency staff will review income resources with applicant as to what can or cannot be counted as income.

5. What if I don't have any children? Will I still qualify for any of these programs?
Yes. Adults without children in the household are eligible for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Low-Income Energy Assistance Proram (LIEAP), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and (if pregnant) WIC.

Adults without children are NOT eligible for the School Meal Program, Child Care Assistance Programs, or the Children's Health Insurance Program.

6. How does South Dakota residency affect my eligibility for these programs?
Child Care Assistance Programs:
You must be a current South Dakota resident.

Children's Health Insurance Program:
You must be a current South Dakota resident.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
There are no South Dakota residency requirements. However, you must have lived in the U.S. the entire tax year to claim the EITC.

Energy Assistance:
You must be a resident of the county in which you are applying for assistance.

School Meal Program:
South Dakota residency is not required if your child is enrolled in school.  

Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):
You must be a current South Dakota resident.

WIC Program: 
You must provide proof you are currently living in South Dakota.

7. How does my immigration status affect my eligibility for these programs?
Using the Bridge to Benefits Screening Tool will NOT affect your immigration status. Each benefit program has different guidelines about immigration status, as explained below.        

Child Care Assistance Program: Children for whom you are applying for Child Care Assistance must be U.S. citizens or have acceptable immigration status. Parents or other caregivers do not have to be U.S. citizens or have acceptable immigration status, but they do need to provide a Social Security number, proof of identity and residence.

Children's Health Insurance Program:  Must be a U.S. citizen, national or qualified alien.

Earned Income Tax Credit: You must either be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident who has lived in the U.S. for the entire calendar year for which you are filing taxes. The taxpayer, spouse and any qualifying children must all have valid Social Security numbers that authorize work.

Low-Income Energy Assistance: You must meet legal resident status requirements. Also you must have a Social Security Number (or must have applied for one).

School Meal Program:  A parent's or child's immigration status does not matter as long as the child is enrolled in school.

Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):  You must meet legal resident status requirements.  Also you must have a Social Security Number (or must have applied for one).

WIC:  The WIC application currently has no questions asking about your status.

8. Who is an eligible caregiver for the Child Care Assistance Program?
Several types of provider types are allowed under Child Care Assistance program guidelines. They include:

• Regulated: Providers who are registered or licensed by Child Care Services. These can include family day cares, group family day cares, and day care centers.

• In-process: Providers who are in the process of becoming registered or licensed, who have submitted a signed application to the Child Care Services licensing worker.

• Relatives: An aunt, uncle, grandparent, great grandparent, or non-resident sibling to the child of at least 18 years of age.

• In-home: A provider at least 18 years of age who comes into your home and provides care to your children only. That person must be screened on the South Dakota Registry for Child Abuse/Neglect.

• Informal care: A family friend or neighbor at least 18 years of age who cares for your children only. That person must be screened on the South Dakota Registry for Child Abuse/Neglect. If you choose a relative, in-home or informal care provider, he/she will receive a packet with complete instructions.

Your child care provider must fill out and return the required forms before your application can be processed.

9. Can I get the money from my Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) before tax season?
If you received the EITC last year, you can get some of next year's EITC money in each paycheck, instead of waiting until your refund at tax time. Ask your employer for a W-5 form to file the "Advance EITC" (or AEITC). Return the form to your employer at any time and start getting a portion of your credit in each paycheck. For example:
 
Mary has two children and qualified for a $2,400 EITC last year, but struggled to make ends meet during the year. She filed a W-5 at her job and now gets $100 per month extra in her paycheck. She will get the remaining $1,200 from the EITC when she files taxes (12 months of $100 = $1,200 plus the $1,200 at tax time = $2400).
 
You get the same amount of money, but with the Advance EITC, you can get almost half of your money back earlier in your paychecks. You get the rest at tax time. For more information, click here to go the the IRS site.

10. Will receiving money from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) affect my eligibility for other programs?
Some programs have resource tests that limit how much money a family can have and still be eligible. For most programs, the money from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is NOT counted as an asset during the month it was received and the following month. After that, EITC money may affect your eligibility for programs with asset limits. Some programs have different rules:
  • For SNAP (formerly food stamps), EITC money is not counted as an asset for 12 months after it was received.
  • Money placed in an Individual Development Account (IDA) is never counted toward asset limits.