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USDA approves $600M in new Nutrition Assistance Program funds for P.R.

Puerto Rico residents continuing to recover from 2017’s hurricanes could be eligible for increased nutrition assistance funded by U.S. Congress and provided through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This temporary assistance of $600 million in new benefits will be distributed through Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) beginning as early as August, the USDA said.

NAP is administered by USDA and is operated by the Commonwealth’s Department of the Family. As of June 2019, 1.3 million people spread across 700,000 families received program benefits in Puerto Rico.

The new grant reflects active collaboration over the last month between USDA and Puerto Rico to implement the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019, signed by the President on June 6.

On July 2, Puerto Rico officials completed changes outlining how they will deliver disaster benefits and protect integrity, the USDA stated in a press release.

“Our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico are still dealing with challenges caused by the severe damage that multiple hurricanes caused to the island’s economy and infrastructure,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps.

“Congress has provided this supplemental funding, and we are committed to working with local officials to support Puerto Rico’s recovery by providing the vital nutrition assistance families need as they rebuild and restore their communities.”

Unlike the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), NAP is a block grant with a set amount of funding annually, and the program must operate within that amount.

The funding announced today will augment the assistance available through NAP, in recognition of the sustained economic disruption faced by the island. Puerto Rico plans to provide a supplemental benefit to all households that participate in NAP over the next 12 months.

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

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