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Report: 250K people in Puerto Rico could work and keep gov’t aid

The Puerto Rico Institute for Economic Liberty (ILE, in Spanish) released a public policy report on the potential shift from the Nutritional Assistance Program (NAP) to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that concluded that nearly 250,000 people could be inserted into the island’s labor force and keep their benefits until they can overcome government dependency.

The report titled “From NAP to SNAP: A Bridge to Economic Liberty for Residents of Puerto Rico” stresses that the implementation of SNAP will increase the number of beneficiaries in Puerto Rico and correct disparities in treatment between U.S. citizens residing on the Island and those residing in the States and other territories.

It also emphasizes the agility with which SNAP would address Puerto Rico’s needs when faced with natural events such as Hurricane Fiona or another pandemic.

“Our study found that nearly 250,000 people could be inserted into the labor force while continuing to receive the assistance they need until they are able to overcome dependency. SNAP makes it easier for beneficiaries to take advantage of existing job opportunities,” said ILE CEO Jorge Rodríguez.

“We must encourage and motivate people to work and realize their dreams and aspirations while contributing to Puerto Rico’s recovery, thanks to the federal funds allocated to the island for those purposes,” he said.

The number of people who could potentially benefit stems from a preliminary estimate of those who could participate in the labor force by switching from NAP to SNAP.

The estimate made as part of the report — prepared by Ángel Carrión-Tavárez, ILE’s director of Research and Policy — is based on population and working group survey data from the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources in 2022 and is focused on people between the ages of 18 and 49 who do not have dependents, are not pregnant, and are subject to the general work requirements, according to the parameters of the SNAP.

SNAP eligibility is set based on poverty levels and all eligible people who apply can receive benefits. Unlike the PAN program, SNAP has a work requirement for participants to gradually phase out of benefits.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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