Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico or NAP is a federal assistance nutritional program provided by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) solely to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a self-governing dependency of the United States. It provides over $1.5 billion in supplemental economic resources to help just over 1 million impoverished residents cope with their nutritional needs. The program is commonly known in Puerto Rico as Programa de Asistencia Nutricional, or PAN, orCupones. It is based on, though not directly part of, the USDA's national Food Stamp Program.
Since its inception in 1982, the program has been providing low-income families living in Puerto Rico with cash benefits used for food purchases. It is a collaborative effort between the USDA and the island's government, where the former provides annual federal appropriations for the Puerto Rican government to distribute individually among eligible participants. Although the methods of providing such benefits have changed over the years, the program's basic objective of helping low-income families meet their nutritional needs has remained constant.
It has, however, been controversial throughout its existence. Federal reviews and assessments have revealed deficiencies in its operations and management, requiring the implementation of various changes, including increased scrutiny. It has also attracted both criticism and advocacy from Puerto Rico and the United States over its effectiveness in helping poor families, and its impact on Puerto Rico's social classes and economy.