Feasibility of Implementing SNAP in Puerto Rico

Project Overview

This study assessed the feasibility and effects of providing nutrition assistance to Puerto Rico under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) instead of through Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP), which has been funded by an annual block grant for the past two decades. Mandated by the 2008 Food, Conservation, and Energy Act, the study—

  • Informed Congress of the similarities and differences between Puerto Rico’s NAP and SNAP with respect to policies, operations, and performance
  • Identified changes that would be necessary if Puerto Rico rejoined SNAP
  • Identified the potential impact of the changes on low-income residents of Puerto Rico
  • Estimated the benefit and administrative costs involved

Specifically, the study assessed the potential impact of SNAP implementation on eligibility standards, benefit determination, operational procedures, administrative burden, and costs to the U.S. Government and the government of Puerto Rico. Insight used six complementary analytic methods:

  • Document and literature review to gain a comprehensive understanding of the history of Puerto Rico’s NAP
  • Descriptive analysis of the socioeconomic conditions in Puerto Rico versus the mainland United States
  • Operations/systems change analysis identifying similarities and differences between NAP and SNAP and forecast potential administrative changes that would be necessary to reestablish SNAP in Puerto Rico
  • Stakeholder analysis identifying the effect of a change on relevant parties
  • Microsimulation to model the impact on eligibility and benefits
  • Cost assessment to provide an estimate of the change in costs for Puerto Rico to convert from NAP to SNAP, including benefits and administrative costs


FNS issue brief; final report, Implementing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Puerto Rico: A Feasibility Study (2010)