Summer 2024, The governor is preparing her next budget proposal.

Ask for a Cost-of-Living Adjustment  
for the South Dakota's Poorest Children

 TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, is the cash assistance program for children whose parents don't have more than a third of poverty level income to support them. They are in an extremely destitute situation.

The 2024 SD Legislature did not grant a cost-of-living adjustment for these payments, except for about 200 cases out of over 2400 cases

 It helped that they did the year before, averaging a much-needed $11 a month (a 2.4% adjustment).
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These poorest children in the state are often forgotten. They do not get automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). The legislature must remember them in the state budget. It really helps when the governor includes a COLA for TANF in her budget proposal. This year please ask and pray the governor and legislature (especially SD's Appropriations Committee) will allow a cost-of-living adjustment for all these children.

The families that pay their full housing costs from their TANF are the most destitute. Those with housing assistance or who share housing get smaller payments but cannot cover their expenses either. The average monthly TANF payment is $519.42.[May2024] 

    Without COLAs, the buying power of TANF just keeps going down. SD’s maximum payment is now only 32.6% of the poverty line. Failing to adjust these payments sinks children deeper in poverty. Even with food stamps (SNAP), families are far below poverty line.

Others in the state budget get inflation adjustments. If the TANF kids could have COLAs, those few dollars seem like not much to most of us, but make a big help to households this deep in poverty. This should not be too much to ask of our state for the most destitute children. 

Or, It could cost the state nothing, because a TANF reserve, unspent from previous TANF block grants is held by the feds for these SD children. It has over $22 million! It's the children's money. SD could tap that fund for adjustments for them for years and years.

Please help the state’s poorest children by asking for a cost-of-living increase for TANF in the state budget. No one needs it more. That would not make up for years of no cost-of-living adjustments, but it sure would be helpful. 

  Contact the governor through her website:
To find your state legislators and how to contact them:

Thanks for being a voice for people who need voices, especially children.

CC Brechtelsbauer for the Bread for the World-SD, 7/15/24