Bridge to Benefits
Public Benefit Programs & Tax Credits
The eight programs below help children, adults and families in South Dakota. Click on the program name to learn more about a program. You can also find out if you are eligible for these programs by using the Eligibility Screening Tool (click here).
  1. Child Care Assistance Program
  2. Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  3. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
  4. Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)
  5. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  6. School Meal Program
  7. Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

1. Child Care Assistance Program
This program helps families pay for child care while they work, attend school or both. The amount paid depends on the family's gross income and household size. The program helps pay for care for children under age 13 (or up to age 18 for children with special needs) if the family income is less than 175 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

Most parents must pay part of the cost of child care each month (a co-payment). Child Care Assistance has a sliding fee system — which means families that make more pay more than those that make less money.  Click here to learn more about the Child Care Assistance Program.

This program helps families pay for child care while they work, attend school or both. The amount paid depends on the family's gross income and household size. The program helps pay for care for children under age 13 (or up to age 18 for children with special needs) if the family income is less than 175 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

Most parents must pay part of the cost of child care each month (a co-payment). Child Care Assistance has a sliding fee system — which means families that make more pay more than those that make less money.  Click here to learn more about the Child Care Assistance Program.

2. Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) offers free health insurance to eligible South Dakota children. Some children with private health insurance may also receive CHIP. This program may help pay deductibles, co-payments and cover other medical services not included in the private policy. 

 Click here to learn more about CHIP.

3. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit. It is mostly for low-income working parents (or others such as grandparents, relatives or foster parents) raising children. If you qualify, you will pay less on your federal income tax or get a larger refund (money back). The biggest EITC refund for Tax Year 2010 was $3,050 (if you have one child) or $5,036 (if you have two children) or $5,666 (if you have three or more children). The average EITC refund in South Dakota in 2006 was about $1,773. Click here to learn more about the EITC.

4. Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)
Energy Assistance helps low-income South Dakotans pay for home-heating costs. If you qualify, these funds are given on a first-come basis, based on the number of people in your home, the combined income of everyone who lives with you, and the type and cost of heating and where you live. Payment is made to your energy supplier.

Click here to learn more about the Energy Assistance Program.

5. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP is a program that helps people with lower incomes pay for nutritious food. SNAP does not pay for all the food that a person or a family needs each month, just some of it. Lots of people can get SNAP, including single adults, families, seniors and some legal immigrants.  


SNAP recipients get a plastic card that looks like a credit or debit card. Every month, the card is filled up with the money for you to buy food at places that accept SNAP, such as grocery stores. The amount of money each month depends on income, expenses and the number of people who live with you. The average amount is $80 for each person each month. Click here to learn more about SNAP.

6. School Meal Program
The School Meal Program pays for all or part of meal costs for children at school (kindergarten through 12th grade).

If your family is getting benefits from SNAP (formerly food stamps), TANF or FDPIR (Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations), you are eligible for meal benefits. If you are not on these programs, your family income must be below allowed limits to get reduced school meals. Some families get free meals and others can get a reduced (lower) price on their meals. The most you will pay for a reduced-price lunch is 40 cents; a reduced price breakfast is 30 cents.

Foster children usually get free meals, but each foster child must have a separate application.

Click here to learn more about the School Meal Program.

7. Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
WIC is a nutrition program for eligible women, infants and children. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the South Dakota Department of Health, WIC’s goal is to keep eligible women, infants and youth children healthy. WIC is available throughout the state and provides:

  • Nutrition education and counseling
  • Breast-feeding support
  • Healthy foods based on individual needs
  • Referral to doctors/nurses, community services, health agencies, social service agencies such as Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), or TANF, and immunizations available if needed by referral  

Click here to learn more about the WIC.