Do you ever wonder about how South Dakota food stamps are distributed to their recipients, as well as what these beneficiaries can buy with their benefits? Until recently, people who qualified for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) received their benefits on stamps, which were similar to coupons. Currently, however, electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards have replaced stamps. In general, EBT cards look and work like debit cards.
If you qualify for the food stamps program, you may use your South Dakota SNAP benefits at grocery stores and farmers’ markets that have been authorized by the state Department of Social Services (DSS). These stores typically have signs stating that EBT cards are accepted. Some stores may require you to use a traditional checkout line if you have an EBT card, while others may offer SNAP service at self-checkout lanes. In any case, having an electronic card gives you instant access to your benefits and simplifies the process of buying groceries.
Which food items can you buy using food stamps in South Dakota?
According to the rules of the SNAP program, the goal of federal assistance is to help you give your household members nutritious foods and improve their diets. While your benefits will not replace your grocery budget, they will expand it and make it easier to afford higher-quality products.
Thus, it is recommended that you use most of your benefits to purchase staple foods as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These include:
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Meat, poultry, fish and meat substitutes, such as tofu or vegetable burgers.
- Dairy products.
- Grains and cereals, such as bread, rice and oatmeal.
By using your SNAP food stamps to purchase staple foods, you have a higher chance of ensuring that your household members are eating a balanced diet. However, keep in mind that you are also allowed to use your benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for snacks and other accessory foods, as defined by the USDA, even if they are not as healthy or nutritious. Accessory foods include:
- Chips, pretzels, granola bars and other snacks.
- Non-alcoholic beverages.
- Mayonnaise, hot sauce, mustard, relish, maple syrup, honey, jam, nut butter and other condiments.
- Flour, baking soda, sugar, vanilla extract, cocoa powder and other baking ingredients.
- Vegetable oils, vinegar, dried spices and other cooking ingredients.
Products You Cannot Buy Using Food Stamps in South Dakota
While your South Dakota SNAP assistance may be used for a wide range of products, there are many items that may not be purchased with an EBT card. If you are guilty of intentionally violating the terms and conditions of the SNAP program, you may lose your eligibility for a certain amount of time. You may be disqualified permanently for multiple offenses. On the other hand, you are not allowed to use your benefits to buy:
- Alcohol, including as beer, wine or liquor.
- Vitamins, medicines and food supplements.
- Hot foods and prepared foods meant to be eaten in a store.
- Pet foods.
- Hygiene products, paper products, cosmetics and other non-food items.
- Live animals.
If you are confused about how to use your SNAP food benefits, check to see if an item has a nutrition facts label. Generally, foods that have nutrition facts labels may be purchased with an EBT card. Alternatively, items that have a supplement label, such as gummy vitamins, cough drops and whey protein, may not be purchased with your benefits. Find out how to navigate the rules and regulations of SNAP when you download our free guide.
How are food stamps benefits amounts calculated in South Dakota?
In order to estimate your monthly SNAP allotment, you may use a food stamp calculator, which is sometimes offered by a third-party website that is not endorsed by the DSS or the USDA. These calculators take the information you enter and determine how much monetary assistance you may receive.
Remember that a benefit estimator is different from a SNAP calculator or a pre-screening tool, which generally predicts your eligibility for the program. In order to use a food stamp calculator, you may need to submit the following information:
- The number of people in your household
- The number of household members who are seniors or have a disability
- Which household members receive Social Security Disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Your total monthly income
- The cost of your rent or mortgage and utilities
For each household size, there is a maximum monthly allotment. As an example, a two-person household that qualifies for SNAP will have a maximum monthly allotment of $353. Most households will receive an allotment that is less than the maximum.
In addition, your South Dakota food stamps allotment is determined by the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), which is a food plan designed by the USDA that will provide your family with adequate nutrition on a limited budget. The TFP is modeled after the recommended dietary allowances as defined by the National Academy of Sciences.
When do you start receiving SNAP benefits after applying in South Dakota?
SNAP benefits in South Dakota are distributed after your application for the program is approved. According to federal law, you must receive a decision on your application within 30 days if you submitted all the required information. Your EBT card will then be sent to you in the mail. As a result, it may take several days for you to receive it.
The SNAP program guidelines state that, if you are eligible for expedited benefits, you may receive your EBT card with your monthly allotment sooner than usual. You may qualify for expedited service if your gross monthly income is lower than $150, if your countable resources are lower than $100 and if you meet the other qualifications. Discover more about SNAP benefits when you download our free guide.