USDA expands SNAP rules for displaced Puerto Rico aid recipients

Puerto Rico residents who were displaced after hurricanes ravaged the island and were eligible for and receiving benefits similar to the mainland’s SNAP program can now apply for continued service wherever they are relocated, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced recently.

Beneficiaries of Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) can obtain nutrition assistance without the added encumbrance of red tape, a USDA release said.

“Paperwork should take a back seat in challenging times like these where folk are experiencing hardships in the aftermath of these devastating storms,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in the release. “This USDA policy will ensure families get the food they need, where they are, helping bring a bit of stability in trying times.”

The USDA has instructed state-level SNAP agencies not only to extend eligibility to those in need, but also to expedite the procedure, paring the usual requisite 30-day waiting period to a seven days in cases of extreme need, the release said. Members will simply sign a statement affirming that they will not obtain benefits from both SNAP and NAP at the same time.

Recipients will then be able to utilize SNAP program benefits for up to two months. This policy is effective through Oct. 31, the release said.

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