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Help for single moms in South Dakota: 30 assistance programs

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If you’re a single mom in South Dakota struggling to make ends meet, keep reading for resources that help with: 

Every month, I give out $500 cash to one single mom struggling with money, health, stress, child care, illness or loneliness — no strings attached. 

Qualifications are simple:

1. You're a single mom.

2. You need the money right now.

Fill out this form to apply:

(Note that the figures and information in this post are current as of publication date.)

Many of the programs on this list determine eligibility as a percentage of the federal poverty level (FPL). These are the 2023 federal poverty guidelines:

Number of people in family/householdAnnual income

* For families/households with more than 8 people, add $5,140 for each additional person.

You can also look up your area median income (AMI) here.

Emergency cash for low-income families in South Dakota

If you need cash to pay bills, buy gas, feed your family, or for any other reason, these resources can help:

Temporary Cash Assistance in South Dakota

South Dakota’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides cash assistance for qualifying families with children or to relatives who have court-ordered custody of a child placed in their home. 

The amount paid out varies depending on household income and whether the child is living with a parent in an independent or shared living arrangement (which means the parent isn’t solely responsible for housing costs). For a family of three in an independent living arrangement, the payout is $668, and for a shared living arrangement, it’s $483. See full payout guidelines.

Cash assistance is available for a lifetime total of 60 months.


  • U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen
  • Permanent South Dakota resident
  • Have children under 18 or under 19 if still enrolled in high school
  • Pregnant women in third trimester if unable to work or in 9th month of pregnancy
  • Children and mother must have social security number
  • Gross income must be less than 185% of the federal poverty level
  • A child must be living in the home maintained by a parent or a relative who is a blood relative of the child
  • Children under age 5 must be up to date with immunizations
  • Children ages 6 to 18 must attend school, and parents/caretakers must attend school conferences

How to get help:

More emergency cash help in South Dakota: 

Single moms in South Dakota can visit or dial 2-1-1 to ask for assistance.

Check out these posts for more ways to get emergency cash: 

These are some more tips for getting cash quickly: 

Housing help for single moms in South Dakota

If you need help finding a place to live or paying your rent/mortgage, these programs can help: 

Rental assistance in South Dakota

There are multiple programs in South Dakota to help renters find housing and pay their rent:

Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers affordable housing and vouchers to help low-income households pay their rent. 

How much you pay in rent is based on your income and the area in which you live. 


  • U.S. citizen or legal alien 
  • Live at a property designated as a Section 8 subsidy
  • Rent cannot exceed the maximum for your household’s income category
  • Family has to meet size requirements to qualify for multiple bedrooms
  • Unit must be the household’s only residence 

How to get help: 


South Dakota Housing’s SD CARES program is a rental and utility assistance program for those who are experiencing financial hardships and housing challenges as a result of the COVID-19 global health emergency. 


  • Household income limits are based on county of residence  
  • Past-due utility bill, rent notice, or otherwise able to prove you are at risk of becoming homeless or have unstable housing 
  • One or more members of the household must meet one of the following:
  • Qualified for unemployment benefits
  • Experienced a reduction in household income
  • Incurred significant costs because of COVID-19 outbreak
  • Experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak

How to get help: 

Mortgage assistance in South Dakota

If you need help buying a home in South Dakota, these programs can help: 

Governor’s House Program

The Governor’s House Program offers energy-efficient homes that are reasonably sized and budget-friendly for qualifying South Dakota residents: 

  • Two-bedroom option: $62,800
  • Three-bedroom option: $75,200

The homebuyer is responsible for the following:

  • Buying a lot 
  • Obtaining building permits 
  • Paying for the foundation 
  • Setting up utilities 
  • Providing flooring and appliances 

Note: There is an extended wait for new house orders. The price is subject to change but does include delivery and placement. 


  • Must place the home in South Dakota 
  • Make $59,789 or less in one or two-person households or $62,320 or less in households of three or more
  • Net worth less than $125,000 — or liquid assets of $105,000 — for applicants under 61 
  • Have a net worth of less than $250,000 — or liquid assets of $140,000 — for applicants older than 62
  • Home must be applicant’s only residence 

How to get help:

South Dakota Housing down payment assistance

South Dakota Housing Authority’s Fixed Rate Plus loan program offers those who qualify 3% or 5% in down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a second mortgage.

The loan has a 0% interest rate, no payments or additional fees, and is repayable either at the time of sale or upon repayment of the mortgage.

How to get help: 

South Dakota Repeat Homebuyer Program 

South Dakota Housing’s Repeat Homebuyer Program helps South Dakota residents build or buy homes in the state. The program includes:

  • Low fixed interest rate
  • Down payment and closing cost assistance 
  • Reduced mortgage insurance 
  • Less paperwork than a traditional home sale

The home property and house purchase limit is $413,000. 

Here’s a look at current interest rates for home purchases.  


  • Income limit of less than $102,480 for a family of two or less or $119,560 for a family of three or more
  • Minimum credit score of 620 

How to get help: 

South Dakota First-Time Homebuyer Program 

South Dakota Housing’s First-Time Homebuyer Program helps residents build or buy homes in the state. Applicants must not have owned a home in the last three years. 

The home property and house purchase limit is $340,000. 


Residents must meet county income requirements.   

How to get help: 

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Homeless assistance in South Dakota 

The South Dakota Housing for the Homeless Consortium aims to prevent South Dakota residents from becoming homeless — or from having to return to homelessness. It connects people with services, including:

  • Emergency shelters
  • Transitional housing
  • Permanent housing
  • Counseling to acquire the necessary life skills to maintain permanent housing

Here is a list of homeless shelters across South Dakota. 


Requirements are set by individual Continuums of Care agencies. 

How to get help: 

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in South Dakota

If you are struggling to pay your utility bills in South Dakota, check out the following programs:

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) in South Dakota

LIHEAP helps qualifying households with home heating costs, paid directly to utility companies. The agency does not assist with water, sewer, or telephone services. 


  • Under maximum income limit for household size — $11,501 every three months for a family of three
  • Responsible for paying your home heating bills
  • Resident of South Dakota
  • U.S. Citizen, qualified alien, or permanent resident of the U.S.

How to get help:

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

WAP helps low-income families lower their monthly energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Types of projects include:

  • Installing carbon monoxide detectors
  • Removing mold
  • Weather-stripping doors and windows
  • Caulking and sealing cracks and holes in a building structure
  • Repair, tune-up or replacement of non-functional heating systems


  • U.S citizen or a qualified alien
  • South Dakota resident 
  • Meet annual household income guidelines based on the number of people in your household — $11,501 every three months for a family of three
  • Automatically eligible if you are receiving SSI, TANF or Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits

How to get help:

Applications are not available online, so you have to visit your county’s Weatherization provider.

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in South Dakota

The following medical and dental services are available to qualifying individuals and families:

South Dakota Dental Association 

The South Dakota Dental Association (SDDA) has a list of numerous programs offering free or low-cost dental care in the state. 

The SDDA also offers the Sunshyne Smiles Program — a statewide program that provides orthodontic treatment to South Dakota children who may not otherwise receive care. Children accepted to the program must be referred by their dentist. 

Eligibility is determined based on the severity of the child's orthodontic needs and their family's financial situation.


Each individual clinic or program sets its own eligibility requirements. 

How to get help: 

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) in South Dakota

HRSA, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, funds health centers that provide free or subsidized health and dental care to low-income people and those otherwise unable to access quality health care, like people living in rural areas.

HRSA also offers a 24/7 free and confidential mental health hotline for pregnant and new moms. Dial 833-943-5746 (833-9-HELP4MOMS) if you are struggling.


Each health center sets its own eligibility criteria for free or reduced cost care. 

How to get help:

Find an HRSA health center in South Dakota by typing in your address on HRSA’s search tool.

South Dakota Medicaid

Medicaid provides medical coverage for low-income individuals and families. In South Dakota, most Medicaid recipients are enrolled in benefits that include:

  • Managed Medical Assistance (MMA): Covers medical services like doctor visits, hospital care, prescription drugs, mental health care, and transportation for medical needs
  • Long-term Care (LTC): Covers care in a nursing facility, assisted living, or at home (must be at least 18 years old and require nursing home-level care or hospital-level care if you have cystic fibrosis)
  • Dental: Covers all dental services for children and adults


  • South Dakota resident 
  • U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien
  • Meet monthly household income guidelines based on the number of people in your household

Plus, you must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Pregnant
  • Caretaker for a child 18 or younger
  • Member of the household has a disability, including blindness
  • 65 or older

How to get help:

South Dakota Children’s Health Insurance Program  

South Dakota Children’s Health Insurance Program — part of the national Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — provides both health and dental services to children whose families do not qualify for Medicaid. Benefits include:

  • Doctor visits
  • Surgeries
  • Vaccines
  • Vision and hearing 
  • Hospital stays

Many families pay nothing, and many pay as little as $15 or $20 a month for all children in the household. 


How to get help: 

South Dakota Bright Start Program 

Bright Start's free personal nurse program helps moms focus on their health during pregnancy by connecting them with a registered nurse. This nurse will work one-on-one with moms to offer support, advice, and information throughout pregnancy and until the child turns 2.  


Moms must be South Dakota residents and meet income requirements. 

How to get help: 

Call your local Bright Start office

South Dakota Healthy Start

The Great Plains Healthy Start Program provides home visits to educate parents and coordinate care for people who need it. 

Education services cover:

  • Prenatal care and parenting 
  • Conception 
  • Stress management
  • Local resources and assistance


Pregnant women and parents of children under 2 years old are eligible for South Dakota Healthy Start services. 

How to get help: 

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in South Dakota

A number of federal and state food and nutrition programs are available across the state:

South Dakota Food Assistance Program (SNAP)

USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the Food Stamp program) provides food benefits and nutrition education to low-income households. The amount of SNAP benefits a person or family receives is based on household size, income and allowable expenses. 

SNAP recipients are issued an EBT card that can be used like an ATM in retail food stores to purchase food, including:

  • Breads
  • Cereals
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Plants and seeds to grow food 


  • South Dakota resident 
  • Households must not have more than $2,750 in countable resources, such as a bank account
    • $4,250 if at least one person in the household is a person with a disability or age 60 or older
  • Household gross monthly income must be 130% or less of the federal poverty guidelines 
  • Net monthly income must be 100 percent or less of the Federal poverty guidelines. 
  • Most able-bodied adult applicants must meet certain work requirements
  • All household members must provide a Social Security number

How to get help: 

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is a nutrition program that provides free baby formula and nutritional food items to low-income mothers and their babies. In South Dakota, the program also offers nutrition education courses, breastfeeding support and more. 


  • Low-income, pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, for up to one year postpartum
  • Women up to six months postpartum who are not breastfeeding
  • Infants and children under 5 years old, including foster children
  • Low-income sole provider parents of children under age of 5 who are at nutritional risk and who are below 185% of FPL
  • If you are currently receiving Medicaid, Temporary Assistance, or Food Assistance help, you are also eligible for WIC

How to get help: 

National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program

NSLP serves healthy, well-balanced, reduced-price or free meals to children in school. 

An extension of the NSLP, the School Breakfast Program provides free or low-cost breakfast to eligible students. Schools with at least 80% of the students eligible for free or reduced-price meals must provide breakfast at no cost to all students. 


Household income must fall at or below the limits of the federal income eligibility guidelines.

How to get help: 

Apply online or contact your child’s school to enroll. 

South Dakota’s Summer Food Service Program

The South Dakota Department of Education serves nutritious meals at no cost to children during summer break. Food is distributed at local schools, nonprofits, parks, and libraries. 


These are the current income guidelines for the Summer Food Service Program. 

How to get help: 

South Dakota food banks

Food banks in South Dakota provide meals for individuals and families who are struggling to put food on the table. 


Each food bank sets its own eligibility and proof of need requirements. 

How to get help: 

To find a food bank near you and for additional information, visit the Feeding South Dakota website.

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families in South Dakota

There are multiple federally funded education programs and resources in South Dakota:

South Dakota Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start is a free federal preschool program for children aged 3 to 5 from low-income families. Early Head Start serves pregnant women and children under age 3. The programs focus on cognitive, social, and emotional development and prepare children for school. 


  • Children from birth to 5 
  • Meet federal poverty guidelines 
  • Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families receiving public assistance (TANF, SSI, etc.) are eligible regardless of income
  • Some programs accept kids with incomes above the Poverty Guidelines
  • Pregnant women can also receive prenatal and postpartum information, education, and services through Early Head Start

How to apply: 

More child care help

Education help for single moms in South Dakota

If you’re a single mom who wants to further her education, here are some helpful resources: 

Get a GED in South Dakota

If you are at least 18 years old in South Dakota, you can take the GED test. You may also be able to take the test at 16 or 17 with special permission from the school district where you live. 

The GED test is broken into four exams on different subjects, which can be spaced out and taken at your own pace (though each individual exam has a time limit): 

  • Mathematical reasoning – 115 minutes
  • Reasoning through language arts – 150 minutes
  • Social studies – 70 minutes
  • Science – 90 minutes

Testers must score a minimum of 145 (out of a possible 200) points on each of the four subtests to earn a credential.

You have two options for taking the test in South Dakota: 

  • Online at-home test – $37.50 per subject
  • In person at a test center – $$37.50 per subject

How to get help: 

Call the Department of Labor and Regulation at 605-773-5821.

Grants and scholarships in South Dakota

The South Dakota Department of Education connects students and prospective students with grants and scholarships available in South Dakota. To find out which scholarships and grants you may be eligible for, visit the DOE website. 

Individual schools also offer need-based and academic scholarships for their students. If you’ve been accepted to a higher education institution, contact their office of financial aid to learn how to apply. 

More education help: 

Employment help for single moms in South Dakota

Workforce programs in South Dakota provide training and assist with employment:

South Dakota Reemployment Assistance (Insurance) Program

This program provides unemployment compensation to eligible South Dakota workers who are out of work through no fault of their own.


  • South Dakota resident 
  • Unemployed
  • Previously employed for the past 12 months
  • Earned a certain amount of wages
  • Actively looking for another job

How to get help: 

American Job Centers

The American Job Centers offer employment and training services, career counseling, and job search assistance. 

How to get help: 

More employment help: 

Charity organizations in South Dakota

There are a number of charitable organizations throughout South Dakota that offer support to single moms:

The Salvation Army of South Dakota

The Salvation Army wears many hats. Chapters assist with:

  • Food, shelter and clothing
  • Medication costs
  • Education and job training
  • Christmas presents
  • Rent and utility bills
  • Substance abuse rehabilitation
  • Youth services
  • Emergency disaster response


Each Salvation Army branch determines its own eligibility criteria for different programs. 

How to get help: 

Visit the Salvation Army website to find your local chapter. 

Catholic Charities of South Dakota

Catholic Charities assists with:

  • Housing
  • Utility assistance
  • Food assistance
  • Health care assistance


Each Catholic Charities branch determines its own eligibility criteria for different programs. 

How to get help: 

United Way of South Dakota

The United Way of South Dakota connects people in need with local resources like: 

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Child care services
  • Housing
  • Health care
  • Support groups

How to get help: 

Not your state? Select yours here: founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, and National Jeweler editor, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. Her next book, The 50/50 Solution, is out March, 2024 with Sourcebooks. More about Emma's credentials.

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