Since 1974 South Dakota has provided sales and property tax relief to the elderly and disabled poor.
Program eligibility is determined by a fixed household income amount, that has been adjusted spuratically, rather than an amount adjusted for inflation, such as the Federal Poverty Index (FPI).
Because eligibility increases have not kept up with inflation, the number of households able to qualify for the program has eroded over time. In 1996 the program was helping almost 5,700 households with almost $1.2 million of relief.
By FY 13 the resources distributed through the program had fallen 63%, dropping to less than $450,000 and helping less than 2,000 individuals or households.
In 1990, elderly and disabled South Dakotans with incomes at 143% of the FPL were eligible for the program.
Today elderly and disabled South Dakotans won’t qualify unless their incomes are below 92% of the FPL (for singles) or 91% of the FPL (for households of two).
According to census data over 12,000 South Dakota elders are living in poverty.
Currently, to be eligible, applicants must have an annual income below $10,750 for single individuals or $14,250 for households. Sixty-nine percent of the applications denied for this program were denied because their incomes were to high to qualify.