Discrimination in Federal Funds

Federal Programs that we do NOT Receive


Our organization, composed of Puerto Ricans aware of the negative effects of economic inequality on society, and understanding that the disadvantages of the majority affect the quality of life of society as a whole, we demand parity for Puerto Rico in federal programs and aid, in order to reduce the economic inequality gaps that have been imposed on us. We do not see federal aid as a gift, as a panacea, or as a substitute for the inescapable work of building our economy; rather, we see parity as a way to begin to repair the poverty that more than a century of disadvantageous relations with the United States has created. We fight to extend to the island the federal services and programs that would mitigate the inequality we suffer. Because reducing poverty gaps benefits us all. Parity is synonymous with social stability, economic growth and justice.

More information about our cause here: https://porparidad.org/somos/#mision

What is the program?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program
that provides monthly payments to low-income and disabled people.

Who qualifies?

  • Persons 65 years of age or older.
  • Persons with total or partial blindness.
    People with a medical condition that prevents them from working
    and is expected to last at least one year or cause death.

How much do we receive?
We do not receive SSI, only Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled, a program considered by
many to be an inferior SSI because, although it helps the same sector of the population, its payments
are lower and its scope is much more limited. The maximum monthly assistance that a
person could receive is about $841, while under AABD, the monthly payment goes up to

Is there a disparity?

U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico are expressly excluded
from receiving SSI through a statute. The federal government only allocates about $23 million to
AABD 1 , which greatly limits the amount of money that can be awarded and the number of
people who could benefit from this assistance. SSI does not have a maximum contribution that
limits the number of people who can receive it.
How do I apply?
At this time it is not possible to apply for SSI for residents of Puerto Rico.

What is the program?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides money for the purchase of food to low-income families in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Guam. SNAP was formerly known as the Food Stamps Program (FSA), and was available to Puerto Ricans from 1974 until 1982, when it was replaced with an allocation of funds that eventually gave rise to the PAN (Programa de Asistencia Nutricional).

Who qualifies?

To be eligible, a family must meet the following requirements:

  • Gross income (family income before deductions) must be at or below 130% of the federal poverty level, or $16,745 for a 1-person household.
  • Net income (family income after deductions) must be at or below the federal poverty level, or $12,880 for a 1-person household.
  • The value of household assets must be less than $2,500. If a person over 60 years of age lives in the household, the maximum value increases to $3,750.
Household Size Maximum Benefit PAN Maximum SNAP Benefit Difference
1 $146 $192 31.5%
2 $274 $353 28.8%
3 $381 $505 32.5%
4 $493 $642 30.2%
5 $600 $762 27%

*These benefits reflect the pre-pandemic period, so it is possible that at the time of publication these benefits may be even higher.

Is there a disparity?

In 1982, statutes were implemented that expressly exclude Puerto Rico from receiving these benefits. SNAP offers more benefits than PAN and has more lax requirements, so it could reach a larger number of families. According to a 2010 study by the Department of Agriculture: SNAP's reach would be 15.3% greater than PAN, the equivalent of about 85,000 families. Average assistance would also increase substantially.

How to apply?

At this time it is not possible to apply for SSI for Puerto Rico residents.
To apply for the Nutritional Assistance Program (PAN), go to the nearest Department of the Family Office, or call the Central Office of the Administration for the Socioeconomic Development of the Family (ADSEF) at (787) 289-7651.

What is the program?

The Medicaid Program provides health coverage for low-income individuals and families, including families with dependent children, pregnant women, children under 21 years of age, individuals 65 years of age or older, and blind and/or disabled individuals. This program operates through a joint effort between the state and federal governments.

Who qualifies?

You can use this link to verify your eligibility: https://prod-ua.preeservices.com/eligibility/form/2877631062

How much do we receive?

The Puerto Rico government is currently receiving close to $3 billion with a temporary 76% match plus an additional 6.2% for pandemic tax relief, totaling 82.2%, or 27.2% above the statutory match of 55% to which we would return if no action were taken.

Is there a disparity?

Yes. The funding match is much less than what the states receive;
and is statutorily limited to 55% when the rest of the states receive up to 83%.

How to apply?

To apply for Medicaid benefits, you may submit an application through the Citizen Portal at https://prod-ua.preeservices.com/ or, alternatively, call the Medicaid Program Call Center at (787) 641-4224 / TTY (787) 625-6955, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., to schedule an appointment for your local office.

Medicare Part D LIS
Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy (LIS)

What is the program?

Part D of the Medicare program authorizes private insurers to offer federally subsidized drug plans to Medicare beneficiaries. The Low Income Subsidy (LIS) in particular extends this benefit to low-income families in addition to those who normally qualify for Medicare coverage.

Who qualifies?

  • Those age 65 and older who are eligible to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B.
  • You have received Social Security disability payments for at least 2 years.
  • You receive a diagnosis of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or kidney failure and must undergo dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Children under age 20 with ESRD may qualify if they have at least one parent eligible for Social Security benefits.

How much do we receive?


Is there a disparity?

U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico are expressly excluded through a statute (42 U.S.C. § 1395w-114(a)(3)(F).

How to apply?

At this time it is not possible to apply for Puerto Rico residents.

Federal Programs Received


Although Puerto Rico receives the following programs, in many of them the federal contributions are lower than those received by the other states



The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program provides financial assistance to individuals and families who lack the financial resources to meet their basic needs and who meet the eligibility requirements established for each category of participation.[1]

The six (6) categories of participation in the Program are broken down as follows:

    • Financial assistance for persons 65 years of age or older
    • Financial assistance for persons with a degree of vision of 20/200 or less, certified by a medical specialist.
    • Financial assistance for a maximum of 60 months (consecutive or interrupted) for family members with children from zero (0) months to eighteen (18) years of age where there is a factor of abandonment of one or both parents; or family with both parents, where one of them has total and permanent disability.
    • Financial assistance to persons over 18 years of age, with total and permanent disability.
    • Financial assistance to persons over 18 years of age, whose disability is transitory and total. It also provides assistance to children under 18 years of age with permanent and total disability.
    • Assistance to children from birth to 18 years of age. Minors must reside with and be in the custody of a guardian of legal age, who may not be a family member specified by law.
Amount Received in Puerto Rico:

Puerto Rico may receive federal funds not to exceed $107.3 million to operate TANF; Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (AABD); foster care and adoption programs. As for TANF, Puerto Rico claimed about $71.6 million. This represents the maximum amount established by law for this program.[2]

Amount Spent by the United States:







TANF is a joint federal and state program to support low-income families. States run the program under federal guidelines and targets. The federal portion of the program spent $16.6 billion in FY2020 and $15.4 billion in FY2021.[3]


Due to the statutory limit, Puerto Rico receives a total of $71.6 million for the TANF Program.


[1] https://pr.gov/Pages/Programa-Ayuda-Temporal-TANF.aspx

[2] https://www.hhs.gov/guidance/document/tanf-acf-pi-1997-11-funding-guidance-territories-tanf-and-other-programs-subject-funding-0

[3] https://federalsafetynet.com/tanf/

Refundable tax credits

These are tax credits that pay out in cash as welfare assistance. The two programs are the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) runs the programs. The tax credits include a "refundable" portion that benefits individuals and families who owe no income taxes for the year. Thus, this portion acts as welfare assistance or a "negative income tax." Read More


Pell Grants
PELL GRANTS (Pell Grants)

Pell Grants are part of a federal program, administered by the Department of Education, that provides basic financial aid to undergraduate students toward a first baccalaureate degree. Student eligibility is determined by a federal government formula that treats all applicants consistently. The Pell Grant provides aid up to a maximum of $6,895 for the 2022-2023 academic year. Obtaining this aid, allows you to cover your tuition bill expenses up to the limit for which you were eligible in the applicable academic year. Pell Grants may be available to students for up to six academic years.


    • Income limit
      • To be eligible, the Expected Family Contribution income limit must be at or below $5,846.
    • NO age limit
    • Can only be received for 6 academic years

Amount Received in Puerto Rico:

During the 2020-2021 academic year, Puerto Rico had a total of 144,495 scholarships, for a total of $687,992,360 dollars.[1]

    • Puerto Rico has a larger number of scholarship recipients than some states in the U.S. and, consequently, receives a larger amount of funds; e.g., in Mississippi, for fiscal year 2020-2021 there was a total of 65,146, which resulted in a total of $300,003,732 in funds obtained.

Amount Spent by the United States:

For fiscal year 2020-2021 the United States awarded a total of 6,350,456 scholarships. For a total amount of $26,457,465,535 dollars.[2] This figure represents 5% of total expenditures by the U.S. government for that fiscal year.


Puerto Rico offers the same amount of funds as other states in the United States. The final amount received will potentially depend on the number of scholarships awarded.


[1] Data were obtained from the Office of Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education. Data are current as of December 2021.

[2] USGovernmentSpending.com [Internet]. Total for Student Financial Assistance

Child nutrition

These are food programs that include school lunches, school breakfasts and after-school programs. They target children from low-income households and provide free or reduced-price meals. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) runs the program. Read More

Housing assistance

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) operates several housing programs. The programs include rental assistance, public housing, and various community development grants. Read More.

Head Start


What is the program?

Head Start programs prepare America's most vulnerable children to succeed in school and in life after school. To accomplish this, Head Start programs provide services to children from birth to age 5. They also provide support to their families in the core areas of early learning, health and family wellness.

Who qualifies?

Children up to age five who are from families with incomes below the poverty guidelines are eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services. Children from homeless families and families receiving public assistance such as TANF or SSI are also eligible. Foster children are eligible regardless of their foster family's income.[1]

How much money is received in Puerto Rico?

President Biden signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, which became law on March 15, 2022. The funding level for programs under the Head Start Act (the Act) is $11,036,820,000, an increase of $289 million over fiscal year (FY) 2021. In Puerto Rico, the funding allocation for the Head Start Program was $307,758,411.

Is there a disparity?

The Head Start Act provides that one of the ways in which a child would be eligible to participate in the program is if he or she participates if a member of his or her family receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Since SSI is not available on the Island, thousands of families could be being denied their right to participate in the Head Start Program.

Steps to follow 

It is necessary that the staff of the delegate agencies conduct an interview with each applicant family in order to gather all the necessary information for the eligibility process and subsequently include the application in the selection process.

When summoned, parents or legal custodians must present the following documents:

    1. Evidence of birth of the applicant child (child's birth certificate or passport for review and return).
    2. Evidence of family income (Form W-2, Income Tax Return, employment verification, pay stubs, evidence of Social Security benefit, retirement benefit, unemployment benefit, evidence of alimony, ASUME or any other source of income. If a student, evidence of scholarship.
    3. Copy of water or electricity bill or rental contract
    4. Physician and Specialist Diagnosis and Evaluations (if child has any special needs or chronic health conditions)
    5. Evidence of TANF if you are a participant
    6. Copy of vaccination card or copy of green paper (PVAC-3)

IMPORTANT NOTE: The program must verify the income of applicant families as the priority is to serve low-income families. Up to 10% of families exceeding the poverty guidelines may be enrolled.[2]

[1] https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/eligibility-ersea/article/poverty-guidelines-determining-eligibility-participation-head-start-programs#:~:text=Children%20from%20birth%20to%20age,or%20SSI%20are%20also%20eligible.

[2] https://acuden.pr.gov/ProgramaHeadStart_EHead%20Start/Pages/Matr%C3%ADcula.aspx

Job training programs

What is the program?

This program helps unemployed and underemployed residents find employment by providing job training in skill areas related to recovery efforts. The goal of the WFT Program is to prepare Puerto Rican residents with the skills required to obtain employment in industries that will drive the Island's economy for decades to come.

Who qualifies?

Eligible program applicants must meet all of the following requirements:

    • Must be physically located in Puerto Rico, branches are accepted.
    • Must be running an existing training program with proven capability or have a training curriculum developed for immediate implementation of a new or a training curriculum developed to expand an existing training program.

How much money is received in Puerto Rico?

The total allocation for the WFT Program is ninety million dollars ($90,000,000),

subject to change with additional CDBG-DR Action Plan Amendments. The maximum grant award for eligible entities is five million dollars ($5,000,000). However, not all eligible entities may receive the maximum award amount.

Is there a disparity?

No. The formula for allocating funds is done on an equitable basis among the states and U.S. territories.

How to apply?

Learn about the entities throughout the Island that are focused on developing the capabilities of Puerto Ricans under this program and strengthening the economy of Puerto Rico. Visit the following page for more information about their courses and the registration process:

(Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children)

What is the program?

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, popularly known as WIC, was established as a permanent program in 1974 to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants and children. It provides nutritious foods, healthy eating counseling, breastfeeding support and health care referrals to nearly 8 million low-income women, infants and children at nutritional risk. - and leads to long-term benefits.1

Who qualifies?

Pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to age 5 are eligible if they meet income guidelines and have been determined to be at "nutritional risk" by an appropriate professional.

Most income-eligible applicants have a medical or dietary condition, such as anemia, that puts them at nutritional risk.

Income Eligibility Guidelines:

How much money is received in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Ricans eligible for the WIC Program receive approximately $93.98 worth of federally authorized food each month. The annual value of the cost of such food is $111,702,270. In addition, the United States spends a total of $32,899,309 in expenses to administer the Program's funds.3

Is there a disparity?

No. The U.S. Government used the same criteria to allocate WIC funds in both states and territories.

How to apply?

Interested individuals can apply for WIC services by doing one of the following4: - By logging on to www.wic.pr.gov for complete details - By logging on to the nutrition education portal (NERI) www.nutriwicpr.com and recording the required information

- By phone at (787) 766-2805

- Visiting a WIC clinic and requesting an appointment for certification (applicant must be in one of the categories served).

- Requesting an appointment for certification through the inbox
through the official WIC Puerto Rico page on Facebook or Instagram.

Child care:

This is a program to support low-income families with child care. HHS implements the program. State and local public and private public and private agencies receive block grants from HHS to provide the services. Read More

Lifeline (Obama Phone)


What is the program?

Lifeline is the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) program to help make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. The discount helps ensure that low-income consumers can afford 21st century broadband and the access it provides to job, health care and educational resources.1

Who qualifies?

You can get Lifeline if your income is 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines (see chart below). The rate is based on your household size and state.

The following table reflects the 135% of the 2022 federal poverty index2

Household Size 48 Contiguous States, D.C., and Territories 

  • 1. $18,347
  • 2. $24,719
  • 3. $31,091
  • 4. $37,463
  • 5. $43,835
  • 6. $50,207
  • 7. $56,579
  • 8. $62,951

Also You may also be eligible if you or a family member living in your household participates in one of the following federal programs:

  • Section 8 Program
  • Federal Veterans and Survivors Pension
  • Nutritional Assistance Program (NAP) Medicaid

How much money is received in Puerto Rico?

Lifeline offers a monthly discount of up to $9.25 9.25 off service for eligible low-income subscribers. Subscribers can receive a Lifeline discount on either wireline or wireless service, but cannot receive a discount on both services at the same time. Lifeline is also compatible with broadband Internet service and broadband voice packages.. FCC rules prohibit more than one Lifeline service per household.

Is there a disparity?

No. The Lifeline benefit is calculated in the same way for all states and territories of the United States.


Step #1. Check if you meet one of the two requirements mentioned above.

Step #2. Choosing a telephone service provider

Step #3. Fill out and submit an application form

Step #4. Wait for your free government phone number to arrive by regular mail and then activate it.


What is the program?

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides assistance to meet immediate energy needs to families living below 150% of the poverty level established by the federal funding agency, the Administration for Children and Families. Benefits are awarded once a year.[1]

Who qualifies?

Each state administers the program under its own rules within federal regulations. To qualify for the program, family income must not exceed 150% of the poverty line or 60% of the state median income. Block grants are generally allocated on a first-come, first-served basis at the state level.

AFF 2020 Federal 150% Poverty Level Guideline (HHS Federal 150% Poverty Level Guideline) [2]

Number of Members 150% of HHS Poverty Guidelines

  • 1. $6,886
  • 2. $9,184
  • 3. $11,482
  • 4. $13,780
  • 5. $16,078
  • 6. $18,376
  • 7. $20,674
  • 8. $22,972


How much money is received in Puerto Rico?

For fiscal year 2021-2022, Puerto Rico received $35.4 million for the LIHEAP Program.

In addition to an annual allocation of $15.2 million, the island received an additional $20.3 million in American Rescue Plan funds. The total of $35.4 million is the highest amount Puerto Rico has received in the Program's history.


Is there a disparity?

No. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) uses a standard formula to determine the amount of funds that will be distributed to states and territories. The states and territories determine how the funds will be distributed to eligible families.


How to apply?

To apply for the Program benefits you have to fill out the online application through the government's Energy Assistance portal or pr.gov. After filling out the application you have a maximum of 15 business days to send to [email protected] the following documents:

    1. Copy of most recent LUMA Energy invoice
    2. Applicant's photo ID issued by the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP), passport or voter's registration card for all household members 21 years of age or older.
    3. Identify the service you are requesting: Energy Subsidy and/or Energy Crisis, or both.

It is important that you have an active account with LUMA Energy at the time the benefit is issued.

If you have any questions about the application process, you can call 787289-7600, extensions 2368 and 2375[3].


[1] https://pr.gov/Pages/ayuda-energia.aspx

[2] https://pr.gov/Pages/ayuda-energia.aspx

[3] https://ayudalegalpr.org/resource/programa-de-ayuda-energia-liheap

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