Let’s be fair.

Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, yet they receive $116 to $307 less in federal nutrition aid than Americans living in the continental U.S., Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. Why? They have been excluded from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Exclusion from SNAP exacerbates food insecurity and poverty in Puerto Rico. The disparities and inequities created and sustained by Puerto Rico’s exclusion from SNAP must end.

Nutrition security should not be
based on geography.
Puerto Rico deserves SNAP.

You can do something.
Exercise your power.

The Case for Congressional Action to Transition Puerto Rico Into SNAP 2023 Farm Bill

The Coalition for Food Security Puerto Rico (CFSPR) represents nonprofits, businesses, trade associations and other allies in the U.S. and Puerto Rico that are advocating for equitable nutrition aid for island residents.

The CFSPR actively supports including the Puerto Rico Nutrition Assistance Fairness Act (H.R.253/ S.949) in the 2023 Farm Bill. The proposed legislation outlines a clear structure and timeline for transitioning the island from its current Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which presently benefits residents in the continental U.S., Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.

Given the timeline for the transition, the bill does not require congressional appropriations for SNAP participation during the immediate transition period.


  • In 1981, the U.S. Congress placed Puerto Rico under a federal capped block grant: NAP, known locally as Programa de Asistencia Nutricional (PAN) or “La Tarjeta del PAN.”
  • The change excluded the island from SNAP and immediately reduced its nutrition aid by 25%.
  • All U.S. states, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands participate in SNAP except Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of Mariana Islands. 
  • NAP has more restrictive eligibility requirements and lower monthly benefits than the rest of the U.S. In addition, Puerto Rico’s aid under NAP (unlike SNAP) does not increase based on need or include disaster aid like SNAP, heightening nutrition instability.
  • As a result, Puerto Rico experiences historic inequities in federal benefits that include nutrition aid healthcare and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


  • NAP monthly benefits in Puerto Rico are significantly lower than SNAP monthly benefits in the rest of the U.S.

  • With the Thrifty Food Plan adjustment announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in October 2022, the maximum monthly benefit for a household of one person in Puerto Rico is $165 per month versus $281 on the U.S. mainland, $322 in Alaska, $472 in Hawaii, $322 in the U.S. Virgin Islands and $369 in Guam.

  • For households of one to three persons, the average monthly benefits disparity between Puerto Rico and the rest of the U.S. ranges from $116 to $307 per household a month.

  • Puerto Rico’s push for inclusion in SNAP is based on the unreasonable disparity for nutrition aid experienced by U.S. citizens when they live in Puerto Rico versus when those same citizens live elsewhere in the U.S.

  • Furthermore, because NAP is a capped block grant it leads to unpredictable and fluctuating household benefits, further worsening food insecurity and poverty on an island where 43% of the population already live under the poverty line.

The People

  • Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.


  • 1.36 million residents or 767,000 households rely on some level of nutrition aid.
  • 55% of all NAP participants are single-family households. With the inclusion of two-person and three-person households, 91% of all NAP households in PR comprise three persons or fewer.  
  • NAP primarily benefits children, elderly, disabled, college students and working poor families. On average, six out of 10 NAP participants are unable or ineligible to join the workforce on a permanent basis.

Support Food Equity for Puerto Rico.

U.S. and P.R. Food Trade

  • In 2019, Puerto Rico spent $6.5 billion on top food and beverage commodities.

  • For more than 20 years, Puerto Rico has imported 75% of the food and beverage consumed on the island from the U.S. Therefore, Puerto Rico’s inclusion in SNAP directly benefits the overall U.S. economy.

  • Puerto Rico is a major importer of meats, grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Key commodities move from all across the U.S., primarily from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Kentucky in the South; Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, and the Dakotas in the Midwest; California and Texas in the West; and New York, Massachusetts and Vermont in the Northeast.

Puerto Rico’s Actions Towards SNAP Transition

  • Puerto Rico’s legislative bodies (House and Senate) are supportive of transitioning Puerto Rico from NAP to SNAP and are preparing statutory language for the transition.

  • Given the anticipated length of the transition, the sooner Congress acts on the legislation for Puerto Rico’s participation in SNAP, the faster the Puerto Rico government can plan for the transition.

  • Transitioning the island to SNAP will require investments in technology and workforce training. The government of Puerto Rico is prepared to develop a multiyear comprehensive budget to address these requirements.

The time to act is now.

For decades, U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico have been excluded from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that all other U.S. citizens are entitled to and benefit from. As a result, U.S. citizens on the island struggle daily with food insecurity and poverty. The disparities and inequities created and sustained by Puerto Rico’s exclusion from SNAP must end. We call for legislative action to integrate Puerto Rico into SNAP. Let’s be fair.