Resources for Seniors in South Dakota
South Dakota has a population of just over 880,000, and 16% of the are aged 65+. The state’s median age, 37.2 is slightly lower than the U.S. average, 38.5, and has experienced a fall in the same over the past few years. From an economic point of view, South Dakota’s seniors are the most in the workforce, compared to other states. Over half of older adults 55+ are in the workforce, significantly higher than the national average, 41%. While more older adults than the national average are in the workforce, the median income of those aged 65+ is a bit lower than the national average. Luckily, there are resources throughout the state to help the elderly South Dakotans thrive.
With a housing index of 96 and all the benefits and support programs, retiring in South Dakota is generally affordable. Older adults in the state can live in a one-bedroom apartment at $556 per month, which is slightly lower than the national average, which is $825. Regular income from work, including all forms of retirement, is not taxed at the state level. Older adults 70+ can defer their property taxes through the state’s Homestead Exemption until they sell their homes.
Living Options for Seniors in South Dakota
Older adults in South Dakota have several options for living in South Dakota, and they can choose one depending on their needs and circumstances.
Seniors who choose these facilities are active, healthy, and able to thrive on their own without the need for constant nursing. They don’t even need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as grooming, bathing, and taking their meals. These seniors prefer living in apartment-style living, and they can either join 55+ or 65+ communities. In the facilities, older adults will enjoy amenities, like pools, walking trails, Jacuzzis, meeting rooms, and fitness centers. South Dakota boasts over 60 independent living facilities, and they cost between $1,045 and $3,418.
Assisted Living Communities
Assisted living facilities are designed for seniors who need help with ADLs. These older adults have attentive caregivers, healthcare, socialization opportunities, and local activities. residents of assisted living communities get support with laundry, meal services, housekeeping, transportation, and 24-hour safety surveillance. There are over 140 assisted living communities in South Dakota, and they cost between $1,900 and $6,125. Rapid City metropolitan area has the most expensive assisted living facilities. More affordable ones can be found in the Sioux Falls area.
Memory Care Facilities
Memory care facilities are for older adults with memory-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s and all other forms of dementia. The goal of this living option is to support seniors with memory problems to reduce stress and manage the hopelessness that comes with dementia. The average annual cost of memory care facilities in South Dakota is $69,300. Monthly cost average between $2,755 and $9,011. The highest cost of memory care is found in the Rapid City metropolitan area, while the Sioux Falls area boasts more affordable facilities.
Nursing homes are facilities designed for older adults with chronic infections who need constant care from skilled nursing professionals. North Dakota has 103 nursing care facilities costing an average of $7,118.
The Division of Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS)
The Division of LTSS works to offer seniors opportunities to enable the live independent lives while maintaining relationships with families and close friends. The division is committed to achieving its mission by providing long-term services and supports to delay the need for Older South Dakotans to join long-term care facilities. Under the Older Americans Act, LTSS offers services to seniors aged 60+ and meets program eligibility requirements. The division works with Long-Term Services and Supports Specialists who are located in every LTSS field office throughout South Dakota. The specialists offer information, referral services, and support to access in-home and community-based services. Read more about LTSS at https://dhs.sd.gov/LTSS/default.aspx.
South Dakota Home and Community-Based options and Person-Centered Excellence (HOPE) Waiver
LTSS operates the HOPE Waiver program whose purpose is to offer home and community-based services to older adults aged 65+. The goal is to enable senior South Dakotans to thrive from the comfort of their homes, away from restrictive environments, which dictate how they have to live their lives. More information is available at https://dhs.sd.gov/ltss/titlexix.aspx.
South Dakota ASA In-Home
South Dakota Department of Social Service, Division of Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) administers the ASA In-Home program whose purpose is to help seniors and disabled older adults to remain and live independently in their homes. The program assists with ADLs, including bathing, grooming, home management, shopping from grocery stores, preparation of meals, and eating. This program is designed for seniors not eligible for the Community-Based Services Waiver program. To be eligible for the program support, older adults aged 60 + or below for the disabled. Only residents of South Dakota are considered for the program assistance. One must also meet the low-income limits to be eligible for assistance. Read more about the program at https://dss.sd.gov/asa/.
Financial Assistance for the Elderly
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
TANF is a financial assistance program designed to provide economic support to low-income seniors and their families. South Dakota Department of Social Services and the Department of Labor and Regulations administer this program at the state level. The goal of the program is to enable low-income seniors to achieve economic self-sufficiency. The payment depends on household income, members, and other resources. The program participants can have their benefits sent to their savings accounts or use Way2Go cards. For more details, please visit https://dss.sd.gov/economicassistance/tanf/.
Healthcare Assistance for Seniors
South Dakota Medicaid
The Department of Social Service, Division of Economic Assistance determines the eligibility for the Medicaid program for seniors in the state. Medicaid is designed to help older adults pay their medical expenses by providing affordable health insurance plans. It acts like an insurance company for seniors who pay monthly premiums, and the program later covers their medical needs. South Dakota is financed through both state and federal funds. Most senior Medicaid beneficiaries are those in nursing homes and adults living with disabilities. Seniors must be at least 60 and meet low-income limits to qualify for assistance. Apply for Medicaid at https://dss.sd.gov/medicaid/generalinfo/apply.aspx.
South Dakota Medicare Program for the Elderly
Medicare is a federally funded program that covers older adults aged 65+ or disabled seniors who meet the low-income limits in South Dakota. Seniors have several Medicare Plan Options to consider, depending on their needs and circumstances. Most of these options are designed to help seniors find a plan that best work for them (suits their lifestyles and medical needs). For instance, Original Medicare is best suited for older adults and seniors with disabilities who don’t need much health insurance coverage. For seniors in need of more comprehensive insurance coverage, the Medicare Advantage plan is their best option. Depending on an insurance company participating in the Medicare program, older adults may find additional benefits, like prescription drug add-ons or dental care. Visit https://dss.sd.gov/medicaid/generalinfo/apply.aspx to apply for Medicare program support.
Medical Assistance for Low-Income Facilities (LIF) Program
LIF’s purpose is to help low-income seniors, with or without private health insurance to receive full medical assistance coverage. The program which covers doctor’s appointments, hospitalization, prescriptions medication, dental care, rehabilitation, vision services, and similar services, is funded through Medicaid. The sooner seniors apply for the program support the better because support begins about three months after application. One must meet the low-income limits to qualify for assistance. Learn more about the program. Read more about the program at https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/1217.
South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA)
SDHDA is dedicated to offering quality and affordable rental housing and improving the availability of affordable rental housing units by supporting the development and improvement of properties. The authority works closely with federal and local government agencies to administer support programs that make affordable housing available to low-income older adults.
Project Based Section 8
This is where seniors are allowed to choose a rental housing unit in the private sector. The housing unit chosen must meet HUD’s quality and safety standards and must be within the approved areas. Through this program, seniors will only contribute a small portion of their income towards their monthly rent, while the government subsidizes the remaining arrears.
Tenant Based Section 8 – Housing Choice Voucher (HCV)
The housing Choice Program is locally administered by the Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). The government subsidizes the rental payment of low-income older adults. Seniors must meet the low-income limits in South Dakota to qualify for the program assistance. Find your local Public Housing Authority.
Visit https://sdhda.org/for-renters/rental-assistance for more information.
Home Repair Assistance for Senior South Dakotans
The USDA’s Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants
This program provides up to $10,000 grants to qualified senior homeowners. The grants should be used to get rid of health and safety hazards in their homes. These grants must be refunded if the senior homeowner sells or transfer the ownership of the property to someone else. To be eligible for home repair support, seniors must provide proof of homeownership and occupy the house, meet low-income requirements, be at least 62, and demonstrate the inability to access credit elsewhere. Read more at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-programs/single-family-housing-repair-loans-grants/sd.
The Community Home Improvement Program (CHIP)
CHIP offers low-interest loans to eligible low-income older adults to enable them to improve their housing conditions by making the necessary repairs. CHIP loans’ interest rate is 2.9%. The number of loans and terms are determined on an individual basis. Eligible home repairs include water softeners, flooring, siding, termite control, alterations, kitchen cabinets, plastering, wiring, fencing, roofing, heating, plumbing, air conditioning, and insulation. Read more at https://sdhda.org/homeownership/home-improvement.
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
WAP is designed to help low-income seniors lower the cost of energy by making their homes more energy efficient. The community action programs complete the weatherization work throughout the state. Weatherization services include insulation of under floors, walls, and attics, replacement or repair, and weather stripping of windows and doors. Eligibility is based on household income, but assistance is based on the availability of funds. Seniors may be placed on waiting lists. Read more at https://dss.sd.gov/economicassistance/energyassistance/weatherization.aspx.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Initially known as food stamps, SNAP is dedicated to providing nutrition support to low-income senior South Dakotans. The goal is to help older adults purchase the food items their bodies need to age healthy and strong. SNAP benefits are put on Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, which are used to buy foods from participating farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and vendors. The number of benefits received depends on the size and income of the household. More information is available at https://dss.sd.gov/economicassistance/snap/.
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
CSFP is a federally funded program committed to improving the health of low-income seniors aged 60+. The program uses USDA foods to supplement the elderly person’s diet. To qualify for the program assistance, the seniors must also meet the low-income level (130% of federal poverty guidelines). The Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) administers the program at the federal level. FNS is an agency of the USDA. Read more about the program at https://doe.sd.gov/cans/csfp.aspx.
Transportation Assistance to the Elderly
The Division of LTSS offers transportation support to senior South Dakotans by funding the local transit systems that offer free rides to eligible older adults. The funds are awarded by the Older Americans Act. Nonprofits and local government agencies offer transportation services to seniors aged 60 at a suggested donation. Seniors can get rides to medical appointments, nutrition programs, senior center activities, shopping, and adult day services. Find transportation locations in South Dakota here.
Coordinated Transportation Initiative
South Dakota Departments of Transportation, Human Services, and Social Services run this initiative that aims to offer transportation services to older adults. The goal of this initiative is to enhance the utilization and ridership of vehicles to help meet a greater number of transportation needs among seniors.
Dakota Transit Association
Dakota Transit Association is a coalition consisting of public agencies and private organizations that come together to support local programs aiming at providing transportation assistance to low-income seniors in North and South Dakota.
Visit https://dhs.sd.gov/ltss/transportation.aspx for more information.
Help Paying Bills
Low Income Energy Assistance
The purpose of this program is to offer support to low-income senior South Dakotans with their heating costs. It is important to note that the program does not guarantee full payment of home heating bills. To qualify for the program support, seniors must meet the low-income limits and be responsible for paying the monthly heating bills. The grants are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. The amount of assistance depends on the household income, the family size, the source of energy, and the heating cost. More information is available at https://dss.sd.gov/economicassistance/energyassistance/lowincome.aspx.
South Dakota Public Utilities Commission
As seniors’ ages advance, connecting with families and friends becomes very important in life, and access to affordable communication services makes it easier to reach out when in need. Some of the programs that seniors can use for support include:
Designed to reduce the cost of telephone services, allowing seniors to communicate with their loved ones for less. Eligible older adults may qualify for up to a $9.25 discount broadband service every month. The broadband services must meet the minimum quality standards. Telephone service users may qualify for up to $5.25 per month. The program beneficiaries may receive a discount on a wireline or wireless phone service. However, older adults cannot receive benefits on both services because the FCC rules do not allow the use of more than one service. More information is available at https://puc.sd.gov/lifeline/.
Affordable Connectivity Program
Designed to help older adults pay for their broadband service to enable them to connect with family or have access to healthcare. The program offers monthly discounts on internet services and purchasing a tablet, desktop computer, or laptop. An older adult must meet low-income limits to qualify for program support. Discounts on laptops or computers are given once, and cannot exceed $100. Internet service discounts cannot exceed $30 and $75 for seniors residing on qualifying Tribal lands. Find out more at https://puc.sd.gov/lifeline/ACP.aspx.
Assistance for Senior Veterans and Older Adults with Disabilities
Veterans are respected and valued in South Dakota because they have served the country well. The South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation offers several services to older veterans at no cost. There are also specialized services for eligible senior veterans. The specialized services are offered through trained Veteran Specialists. Learn more about Veterans’ specialized services at https://dlr.sd.gov/veterans/default.aspx.
Benefits for Senior Military Members and Veterans in South Dakota
There are numerous benefits for senior Service members, veterans, and their families. The services include education assistance, hunting and fishing benefits, and reduced fees at the State Parks.
South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs offers support services, including information, assistance, counseling, and referrals. Learn more at https://vetaffairs.sd.gov/veteransserviceofficers/what%20is%20a%20vso.aspx.
Assistance from Charities and Nonprofits for Seniors
Bethel Lutheran Home Foundation Inc
This organization is committed to assisting and enhancing the condition of the bethel Lutheran home in Madison. The goal is to help seniors remain in their homes as long as possible to prevent or delay their nationalization. Older adults may have access to some extra services. Read more at https://bethelcommunity.com/.
Senior Companions of South Dakota
This is a volunteer program dedicated to offering in-home support and respite care services to seniors and older adults living with disabilities. The program is operated by the Good Samaritan Society and serves over 50 communities across the state. Services include transportation, light housekeeping, meal planning and preparation, socialization, and companionship through home visits. More information is available at https://www.good-sam.com/senior-companions.
Western South Dakota Senior Services Inc
The goal of this organization is to assist the elderly South Dakotans in aging health and strong by providing services that aim at promoting their independence, health, and socialization. Learn more about the program at https://www.guidestar.org/profile/46-0362991.