Insight’s food and nutrition experts prepared a comprehensive report to Congress comparing the characteristics and requirements of Puerto Rico’s current Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). To implement SNAP in Puerto Rico, several actions would be required: U.S. Congress must first provide authority to Puerto Rico to operate SNAP, the Government of Puerto Rico must commit funding for its share of administrative costs, and the USDA Food and Nutrition Service must work closely with Puerto Rico to develop new systems and procedures and ensure the program meets federal requirements before roll-out. The report describes NAP and SNAP operations including eligibility and benefit determinations, data systems, work requirements, employment and training, and program integrity; and details facilitators and barriers to implementation in Puerto Rico.
The study found that implementing SNAP in Puerto Rico would significantly improve and stabilize nutrition assistance for most residents. The estimated total cost during the implementation period is $341 to $426 million and the estimated cost of administering SNAP in Puerto Rico is $249 million to $414 million per year, and the cost of benefits is $4.5 billion annually (both costs are in 2031 dollars). Options are provided for Congress to consider that would ease the transition and facilitate implementation in Puerto Rico.