How To Apply For Puerto Rico SNAP Benefits

View the information below if you are interested in applying for a EBT card in Puerto Rico. It is important that you have all the documentation and information needed so the application process is not delayed. If you still have questions or issues about applying for food stamps, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), then you can call the Puerto Rico SNAP hotline at 787-289-7600. The department that handles this program is called the Puerto Rico Department of the Family.

The Puerto Rico Nutrition Assistance Program (PAN) (formerly called the food stamp program) helps you and your family buy food needed for good health. You can buy food from most grocery stores and other retailers that sell food. If you meet the program guidelines, you will get a special debit card. This debit card comes with a certain amount of money already on it to pay for food. You can use the card at most grocery stores. It works just like a regular debit card. You buy your groceries using the card and the cost is taken out of the total amount on the card. More money is put on your debit card on a monthly basis.

Apply for Puerto Rico food stamps

To apply for the Nutrition Assistance Program (PAN), please visit your local Social Services Office, or call the Central Office of the Administration for the Socio-Economic Development of the Family (ADSEF) at 787-289-7651. You can also visit their website, ADSEF.

Normally once a household files the application form, they are then required to have a face-to-face interview, and provide proof (verification) of certain information, such as income and expenses. The office interview may be waived if the household is unable to appoint an authorized representative and no household member is able to go to the office because of age or disability. If the office interview is waived, the local office will interview you by telephone or do a home visit. A home visit must be scheduled beforehand with the household.

What is a Household?

Everyone who lives together and purchases and prepares meals together is grouped together as one household. However, if a person is 60 years of age or older and he or she is unable to purchase and prepare meals separately because of a permanent disability, the person and the person's spouse may be a separate household if the others they live with do not have very much income. (More than 165 percent of the poverty level.)

Some people who live together, such as husbands and wives and most children under age 22, are included in the same household, even if they purchase and prepare meals separately. Normally people are not eligible for SNAP benefits if an institution gives them their meals. However, there is one exception for elderly persons and one for disabled persons:

  • Residents of federally subsidized housing for the elderly may be eligible for SNAP benefits, even though they receive their meals at the facility
  • Disabled persons who live in certain nonprofit group living arrangements (small group homes with no more than 16 residents) may be eligible for SNAP benefits, even though the group home prepares their meals for them

Puerto Rico food stamp eligibility requirements

You can get help from this program if you have limited income and resources. Some resources may not be counted when determining whether you meet the program guidelines. Do note, in certain situations, there may be other program rules that you may need to meet such as taking part in Employment & Training programs and other work requirements. If you are a US citizen and meet the other program guidelines, you may get help from this program. If you live in the United States but are not a US citizen, you may still apply if you and/or members of your household meet at least one of following guidelines for legal immigrants:

  • Lived legally in the United States or its territories for at least 5 years or more
  • Get disability related assistance or benefits, no matter when you entered the US or its territories
  • Children under the age of 18, no matter when the child entered the US or its territories

What resources can I have and still get SNAP benefits

Households may have $2,250 in countable resources, such as a bank account, or $3,500 in countable resources if at least one person is age 60 or older, or is disabled. However, certain resources are not counted, such as a home and lot, most retirement (pension) plans, the resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the resources of people who receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) (formerly AFDC), and, up to $4,650 of the fair market value of one car per adult household member (and one car per teen-aged household member if the teenager is using it to go to work, look for work, or prepare for work). If a vehicle is needed to transport a physically disabled household member, its value is not counted. The resources of people who get SSI and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) are not counted at all. An important exception to this is that in the State of California SSI recipients are not eligible for SNAP benefits, because they receive a State supplement to their SSI benefits in lieu of SNAP benefits.

What are the income limits?

Most households have to meet both a monthly gross income test and a monthly net income test to be eligible for SNAP benefits. However, households in which all members are receiving SSI or TANF are considered to be eligible based on income. Other households with one or more elderly or disabled members only have to meet the net income test. Net income is gross income minus certain deductions.

What deductions are allowed?

The allowable deductions are:

  • A standard deduction for all households
  • A 20% earned income deduction
  • A deduction for dependent care costs when necessary for work, training, or education
  • A deduction for legally owed child support payments
  • A deduction for medical costs for elderly and disabled people
  • A excess shelter cost deduction

Medical deduction: For elderly members and disabled members, allowable medical costs that are more than $35 a month may be deducted unless an insurance company or someone who is not a household member pays for them. Only the amount over $35 each month may be deducted. Allowable costs include most medical and dental expenses, such as doctor bills, prescription drugs and other over-the-counter medication when approved by a doctor, dentures, inpatient and outpatient hospital expenses, and nursing care.

They also include other medically related expenses, such as certain transportation costs, attendant care, and health insurance premiums. The costs of special diets are not allowable medical costs. Proof of medical expenses and insurance payments is required before a deduction for these expenses may be allowed.

Shelter deduction: The shelter deduction is for shelter costs that are more than half of the household's income after other deductions. Allowable shelter costs include the costs of rent or mortgage, taxes, interest, and utilities such as gas, electricity, and water. For most households, there is a limit on the amount of the deduction that can be allowed, but for a household with an elderly or disabled member all shelter costs over half of the household's income may be deducted.

In order to qualify, you must have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts:

Household Size* Maximum Income Level (Per Year)
1 $2,851
2 $3,845
3 $4,838
4 $5,832
5 $6,826
6 $7,819
7 $8,815
8 $9,814

*For households with more than eight people, add $998 per additional person. Always check with the appropriate managing agency to ensure the most accurate guidelines.

Documents you may need to apply for Puerto Rico SNAP

Documents Showing Number of People Living in Household:

  • Tax Returns
  • School Records
  • Clinic Cards or Hospital Records
  • Current Medicaid cards
  • Statement from Non-Related Landlord

Documents Showing Household Address:

  • Current Rent Receipt
  • Recent Utility Bill in Your Name
  • Statement from Non-Relative Landlord
  • Real Estate Tax Bill
  • Copy of Current Lease
  • Mortgage Records/Book
  • Current Mail

Documents Showing Household Expenses:

  • Current Utility Bills in Your Name
  • Rent Receipts
  • Income Tax Return
  • Mortgage Records
  • Credit Card Receipts
  • Bank Statements
  • Store Receipts
  • Home Care Bills
  • Bankruptcy Records

Documents Showing Medical Costs:

  • Hospital Records and Bills
  • Home Care Bills
  • Insurance Bills
  • Medicaid Statement
  • Records and Bills from Healthcare Provider
  • Prescription Drug Receipts

Social Security Receipts:

  • Any Social Security Receipt is Good

Proof of Age:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Driver's License
  • State Issued Non-Drivers ID Card
  • Marriage Certificate with DOB
  • Immigration or Naturalization Certificate
  • Hospital Certificate of Birth
  • Medicaid Card
  • US Passport

Proof of Income and Resources

For Proof of Income:

  • Current Wage Stubs
  • Letter from Employer
  • Income Tax Return
  • Business Records
  • Current Unemployment Check
  • Bank Statements
  • Credit Union Records
  • Family Court Records
  • Social Security Benefits Statement
  • Veterans Administration Benefit Check

For Proof of Resources:

  • Bank Records
  • Credit Union Records
  • Stock & Bond Certificates
  • Trust Fund Agreements
  • Deeds
  • Life Insurance Policy
  • Burial Fund Records
  • Motor Vehicle Registration or Title

Puerto Rico SNAP employment requirements

In general, people must meet work requirements in order to be eligible for SNAP. These work requirements include registering for work, not voluntarily quitting a job or reducing hours, taking a job if offered, and participating in employment and training programs assigned by the State. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in disqualification from the Program.

In addition, able bodied adults without dependents are required to work or participate in a work program for at least 20 hours per week in order to receive SNAP benefits for more than 3 months in a 36-month period. Some special groups may not be subject to these requirements including: children, seniors, pregnant women, and people who are exempt for physical or mental health reasons.