The Trump administration has denied a request from Puerto Rico to issue a waiver on the use of food stamps for prepared foods. President Donald Trump issued a waiver for Florida and Texas following their recent hurricane disasters according to New York Times.
With a widespread power failure having knocked out electricity to the island for the past two weeks, food stamp recipients around the island have said that they have been unable to use their benefits at supermarkets, because most stores are running on generators and do not have access to computer systems to process the cards. About 1.3 million Puerto Ricans — nearly 40 percent of the population — use food stamps. Federal rules prohibit public assistance beneficiaries from using the cards in restaurants.
Many banks are still closed, which has also limited peoples’ ability to buy food with cash. With no cash or food stamps, people are relying on neighbors and whatever canned goods they purchased in the days before the storm hit.