Families to begin receiving $966 million in emergency PAN assistance

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @pete_r_correa

Special to The Star

Island Family Secretary Carmen Ana González Magaz announced Tuesday that food assistance for low-income families will extend for another year by way of a federal emergency fund allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

According to a press release, the extension is due to disbursements from a $966 million assignment that Puerto Rico received to provide further assistance to families enrolled in the Nutritional Assistance Plan (PAN by its Spanish acronym).

“We want families to be able to rest assured that they will continue to receive this level of benefits for an extended period of time, allowing them to focus their efforts on recovering and returning to a new normal,” González Magaz emphasized in a written statement.

As of today, the 867,423 families enrolled in the PAN program will begin to receive the assistance; according to the Family Department, those families represent 1,546,250 people participating in the federal food assistance program.

Disbursements for heads of families whose Social Security numbers end in 0 and 1 will receive the benefit today. Subsequently, benefits will be received according to the last digit of the head of the family’s Social Security number in the regular program schedule for July.

Alberto Fradera Vázquez, who heads the Family Socioeconomic Development Administration, said the disbursement, which will be made automatically to the Family Card, “will be at a slightly lower benefit level than in previous months, when benefits could be matched to those received by families in the states because of the three-month Consolidated Appropriations Act appropriation.”

“However, these new benefit levels will be extended for a longer period with no changes,” he said.

Currently, the PAN program supports food assistance for 354,457 children under 18, 389,256 adults over 60, 4,060 homeless people, 95,922 people with functional diversity, and 218,029 working people, among others.

Fradera Vázquez pointed out that families can use the portal to check the status of their benefits and monthly transactions.

As in previous PAN disbursements, participants have up to six months to make use of the resources each time they are deposited in their Family Card.

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