South Dakota considers single seniors to have a low income if they earn less than $18,075 a year, or $1,506.25 a month. This is the pre-tax income threshold for no-cost access to Medicaid in South Dakota, though seniors who earn more may still be eligible for medical assistance and other aid programs.

Medical Assistance for Low-Income Families (LIF)

LIF is the low-income health insurance program for Medicaid-eligible residents of South Dakota. The program is open to all South Dakotans who meet the residency and income limits, including seniors aged 65 and over and adults with disabilities. The program’s income guidelines take in all countable pre-tax income and set a $0-share-of-cost limit of $18,075 per year for a single adult applicant. Married couples and larger households may earn more, with an allowance of $6,277 per year more for each additional adult in the household. 

Other Means-Tested Benefits in South Dakota

Different programs set their own income limits to determine what is considered low income for seniors in South Dakota. Some of these programs set a higher threshold for seniors aged 65 and over than they do for younger adults, while many use the same numbers for all age categories. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), for example, sets its low-income threshold at 130% of the federal poverty line, or $1,473 a month gross income for a single adult. Additional household members raise the limit by $512 a month. Seniors who earn less than these limits may be financially eligible for the maximum monthly benefit.

Variations Within the State

South Dakota sets different low-income thresholds in its urban areas, which helps to account for the difference in the cost of living. This is why seniors in Sioux Falls are considered “very low income” if they earn less than $19,050 a year, while seniors in Brookings County have a very low-income limit of $20,250. These limits affect seniors’ eligibility for nutritional support, housing assistance, Medicaid enrollment and many other means-tested poverty benefits.