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South Dakota Medicaid Submits Waiver Request to CMS for Career Connector Program

South Dakota Department of Social Services
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501


For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018
Media Contact:  Tia Kafka, 605-773-3165


South Dakota Medicaid Submits Waiver Request to CMS for Career Connector Program


PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Social Services (DSS) has submitted a request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) for a five-year Medicaid 1115 demonstration waiver. The demonstration is a pilot project proposing work requirements for able-bodied adults who are enrolled in Medicaid through the Low Income Parent coverage group.


Some individuals may qualify for an exemption. Some examples of exemptions include parents of children under the age 1, individuals who are aged or disabled and primary caregivers of elderly or people with disabilities.


South Dakota’s plan proposes to operate in Minnehaha and Pennington counties, where there is the greatest availability of employment and training resources.   


“The goals of the program are to improve participants’ health, encourage the development of healthy habits and empower participants to be successful in today’s workforce,” said state Department of Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti.


The program, called South Dakota Career Connector, will be administered by DSS in partnership with the Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR). The program includes intensive employment and training services and skill building opportunities offered through DLR and offers a variety of pathways and supports for recipients to actively participate and maintain health care coverage. Individualized plans will address current barriers to employment.


Maintaining health care coverage is a key tenet of the plan. This includes promoting employment and employer-based coverage and providing transitional medical benefits and premium assistance to ensure health care coverage for individuals as they enter the workforce. The program will also promote preventative care and help increase identification and treatment of behavioral health and chronic conditions.


“While the program impacts less than 1,500 South Dakotans, we believe it will have a significant effect on those participants who gain the training and skills they need to support and strengthen their families,” said Valenti.


South Dakota Career Connector began operating on a voluntary basis July 1, 2018, and will become mandatory in Minnehaha and Pennington counties after approval by CMS.


For more information or to participate in South Dakota Career Connector, please contact the Sioux Falls office at 605-367-5444 or the Rapid City office at 605.394.2525.