Posted by Chuck on March 7, 2018
Deals

Published on March 7th, 2018 | by Chuck

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[Medicaid Recipients Now Eligible] Low-Income Households can Signup on Amazon Prime for just $5.99/Month

The Offer

Direct Link to offer (this post contains our Amazon affiliate link, we appreciate if you use our links)

  • Customers who have a government benefit EBT card can signup for Amazon Prime for just $5.99 per month.
  • Update 3/7/18: Now Medicaid recipients can also get the $5.99 monthly Prime price.

Press Release

An EBT card is commonly used to disburse funds for several government assistance programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC). Amazon will add other ways to qualify in the future for customers participating in government assistance programs that do not utilize EBT.

This is a full Prime membership which comes with benefits like 2-day shipping, video, music, and more. The only exception is that this discounted plan does not allow Household sharing of Prime benefits.

The Fine Print

  • Must enter numbers and image of EBT card
  • Must re-qualify every 12 months
  • Valid for up to 48 months maximum
  • You can cancel at any time (not locked in for the full year)
  • This membership also comes with the standard 30-day free trial

Our Verdict

This is quite a nice discount on Prime for those who qualify. The standard is to pay $99/yr or $13/mo. While there are often deals for signing up (like this $15 deal or this $20 deal), they are typically limited to the first year only (though you should be able to let your membership expire and then signup under a promotion). Getting it for a consistent $5.99/mo ends up just $72/yr. And it allows you to pay monthly instead of yearly.

Note, if you have a student in your household, you can get Prime a bit cheaper with Amazon student at just $49/yr, plus you get a 6-month free trial before paying anything.

It’s very interesting to see the competition between Amazon and Walmart heat up. Much as I’d love to see Walmart become a real Amazon competitor in the online shopping region, I’m impressed by Amazon’s gusto in the war without riding on their laurels. Apparently, Amazon decided that the lower income sector is worthwhile or else they feel that it’s worth it for the domination factor.



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Jeff H
Jeff H

When I called for more details based on the CNBC news story, Customer Service had no clue. When CSR asked around, some other people were asking too.

Might be a good idea if you have to call in to wait a few days for Amazon to get the word out to the CSRs.

Sarah
Sarah

Typical Amazon CSR. The only thing they know how to do is process refunds.

Moises
Moises

and thank god for that

John
John

$72 a year? Not very generous of Amazon at all.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Seriously? Just goes to show there’ll always be people who will find a reason to complain. If you can’t afford it then it’s pretty simple, don’t spend your money. Prime is a premium subscription and isn’t owed to anyone nor is it a right to have.

jf
jf

Wow. Perhaps you could help educate them on how to coupon, save money, etc, instead of being judgmental? They arent all going to buy $1000 laptops. They have really good sales and deals on home items, plus lots of educational content on prime video. They should give it to them for free, if that would make you mad. In fact, I share my membership with my relative who is part of the struggling middle class in a big city. Is that ok with you?

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

If someone is going to complain about a service that is discounted specifically for low-income people then yeah I’m going to call them out.

While I’m at it, I’ll call you out too. As far as home or non-perishable food items you should be looking locally to save and buy generic brands. Amazon, for many everyday items, is more expensive than can be found elsewhere. This is common sense and isn’t anything someone needs to research or do their homework on. Again, if you’re on a shoestring budget, then adjust and live within your means. Do you think I had a Prime membership while putting myself through college and eating 33 cent frozen burritos?

You do what you want with your membership, you pay for two people to share the benefits of a service that was already paid for. Is Amazon supposed to subsidize low income individuals by allowing them a premium service that isn’t a necessity? This isn’t a CARE program with PG&E to discount a NECESSITY such as electricity. I’ll happily pay more for services such as PG&E to the betterment of society as a whole, just like I would with a single payer health insurance system, but in order for Amazon to significantly drop the price for low-income members they’d most likely increase the cost to other members. Nope, not interested in subsidizing that. Kind of off track at this point, but people here – yourself included – are complaining about how much a private entity discounted their premium service to help those low on funds. Just think about that for a minute. If it’s still not clear, well, then there’s nothing else I can add.

Kevin
Kevin

I agree with this point. Amazon is often more expensive than other options. If saving money is truly the goal, Amazon isn’t the best choice.

You are paying for convenience, speed of shipping, etc. This does not mean you are getting the lowest prices.

NinjaX
NinjaX

agreed. surprised there is even a discussion about this.

companies like amazon have no obligation to assist low income in a manner thats “acceptable” to the greater population despite being publicly traded company.

“They should give it to them for free”? wtf. youre outta your mind dude. haha.

oh yea, in case people didnt know, the churning game is NOTHING compared to the abuse and underground activity related to exploiting government assistance programs by certain demographics…

Charles DoC Fan
Charles DoC Fan

Agree with Anthony, and Ninja

I would like to point out that fraud is substantial in absolute terms, yet less than many people make it out to be. As someone that lived next door to public housing while in college: A fairly low percentage of fraud are actually people lying about their income etc.
A much higher percentage of “fraud” is sharing benefits for someone they are not designed for: Such as, Allowing someone to live in their house unreported, selling food stamps, etc.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have responded at all, but I hope this thread can stay as non-political as possible.

ihg newbie
ihg newbie

you can always shop at rent a center instead.

Nicole
Nicole

Contrary to popular belief, low-income persons need things like replacement printer cords and laptops and books for school. Most of these items are MUCH more expensive locally (even if I did have time and energy to drag 2 kids to the electronics store in the 1 hour I have between picking them up from daycare and bedtime).

Do I buy everyday items on Amazon? Rarely.

But my 6 year old asked for shoes for his birthday–shoes with long enough Velcro that they don’t come undone all the time. This kid has EEE width feet and a super-high arch, so he’s really hard to fit. He’s worn thrift store shoes his whole life (because I buy them ahead whenever I find , but he’s getting to the age where used shoes in decent condition in his size are really hard to find. Walmart? Those $15 shoes literally last him 2 weeks. So I went on Amazon and (after considerable searching) found him a pair of $50 wide Stride Rite shoes in his size (+1 for room to grow) and his favorite color (blue) for $22.

I’m not destitute. Could I afford to feed myself and my children without food stamps? Yes. Could I afford to buy my children fresh fruits and vegetables regularly? No. Everyone’s situation is different. Stop judging other people’s choices. We’re all doing the best we can.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

More of a side note than anything else but monoprice is a good place to find cheap cords (including shipping) and doesn’t require any membership. I 100% can relate to NOT wanting to drag young ones to a store… but yeah, monoprice is a one stop shop for any cords. I have Prime and I still buy from monoprice.

We shop stride rite for our daughter and I can definitely understand your sons issues as I myself wear size 15 4E. She has my feet (3 years old) and fortunately stride rite makes wide M2P shoes. Just fyi if you set an alert for stride rite on slickdeals (and sign up for their emails) you should get a few opportunities throughout the year to buy discounted shoes.

This is heavily regional and depends on if you even have the time but local farmers markets or veggie/fruit stands can be a great deal. There’s one near us where we can get two paper bags full of produce for under $20.

Keep doing what you’re doing, raising kids isn’t easy or cheap, regardless of your financial situation.

kora
kora

Poor people have laptops and printers? I don’t. Jealous.

Supersarah
Supersarah

You are absolutely right.

Josh M
Josh M

This is a really skeevy move by Amazon if you ask me.

anthonyjh21
RF
RF

What was the point of that link? Was it a “here, have a tissue to wipe away your tears” type of thing, or were you trying to suggest that’s a good price? Because if it’s the latter:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Kleenex-Facial-Tissues-960-Sheets-Pack-of-6/24535423

that works out to the equivalent $9.53 for 6 of the 170ct boxes, and you don’t need to pay $5.99 per month for it.

I agree with Josh M (assuming I interpreted his post correctly) that something seems wrong with someone on government assistance paying for Prime (even at a discounted rate). Maybe if they had good prices and didn’t charge $5.99 for pantry. But for everyday items (food, clothing, toiletries, etc) there are better, cheaper options. I’d rather people on public assistance shop at walmart (and I say that as someone who hates walmart).

NinjaX
NinjaX

yes, A21 was saying “go cry me a river…”

i dont think you are interpreting the OP correctly. or maybe i am not the interpreting the OP correctly, but it sounded like he was calling out amazon for not helping low income enough. basically saying this is a “mirage” for assisting low income via a useless minor discount on prime.

not gonna repeat what i said earlier but you can look at the discussion up thread.

amazon doesnt owe anyone shit. esp now that they are part of the $1k security club.

artgriego
artgriego

I interpret OP to be saying Amazon is luring people. I certainly don’t think they’re obligated or should offer Prime at a discount or free to any class. But by offering this discount they entice people, against their own best interest, to shop there. It’s the same thing as the Netspend cards we all love to exploit; the 5% savings is there to dupe people into using their shitty high-fee debit card when there are plenty of superior alternatives out there, even for those that can’t get a real checking account.

Again, not saying Amazon owes anyone shit…just that I see this as an exploitative move.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

I interpreted Josh M to imply that Amazon wasn’t doing enough for low income people. Hence the tissue like Ninja said… Kleenex should be nice and absorbent.

Sarah
Sarah

Yea, it’s a business ploy to get more lower income individuals to direct their purchases to Amazon and hopefully hook them in so that they will pay full price if they no longer qualify.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

You’re missing the point that no one is forcing you to buy anything. It’s a WANT, not a need. If you can’t resist then blame yourself not Amazon. I see deals on electronics every holiday season and I avoid them unless I need to replace something. Yes its tempting but no one forces me to click purchase or hand over a plastic card.

dollardaze@hotmail.com
dollardaze@hotmail.com

Sounds nice. When I had a trial Prime, I didn’t find it beneficial. I often buy books from affiliate sellers, therefore no free shipping. And many other items I purchased for some reason slipped through the cracks as well. I tried to sample their other Prime features – I think Audible – but that required more than my basic membership. That’s my general impression. The highest tech gadget I own is an iPad mini. And even that takes up too much of my time.

CongestionCharge
CongestionCharge

Walmart is not going to like this

Sarah
Sarah

Walmart already offers two day shipping for free on offers over $49.

P
P

As far as I know, Amazon don’t accept EBT as payment method. Most people who have EBT will just go to Costco because food is cheaper there than Amazon. I’ve never been on assistance, but I have experienced not being able to afford food to eat three times a day, and in those days, the last thing I would’ve wanted was to waste my money for a subscription service. If amazon did some research, then their research must have told them this is worth doing.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Exactly. I’ve been there and done that and I still carry on things learned to this day. Buy in bulk, freeze things, never pay more that is needed especially for a commodity like rice. A membership like Costco would be MUCH better for those who are low-income. Not only is it a free membership (get a refund if you don’t spend $55/year) but you can buy some basic staples for cheap and make them last a long time.

William Charles

I think Amazon did a recent deal to accept EBT as payment in the near future?

Sarah
Sarah

I’ve never lived within $100 of a Costco.

Sarah
Sarah

I mean 100 miles not $100.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

What about BJ or Sam’s club?

Laura
Laura

As a person who receives SNAP, a generous $25 a month for 2 people, due to being disabled, i am below the poverty level, and my kids would be able to watch amazon prime tv for less than netflix costs a month, that is a huge savings compared to cable. It also helps that it can be paid monthly without a penalty. Walmart in my area (east coast) does accept EBT, cash and SNAP, so does Target for that matter.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Please don’t take this the wrong way but if you’re below poverty level then it might be in your best interests not to pay for anything cable or media related. It’s a want and not a need. I know this sounds preachy but it’s the truth. Only stating this because if you go to any financial/budgeting forum you’ll see that one of the top bullet points for improving your financial position is to eliminate anything that’s not a need (food, roof, electricity etc). I don’t claim to know your financial situation or if you can afford it without issue but I’m just generalizing in regards to the fact that anyone living in poverty will be on a tight budget. I know many use YNAB (you need a budget) to help, I personally use Excel. Either way, sorry to hear about your disability and circumstances, I can only imagine how hard that would be.

That said, you do bring up a good point that it can save you money by sticking with Prime video, assuming you’re skipping alternatives.

Laura Gould
Laura Gould

My kids need the internet to do their homework.Comcast is our only choice where I live, and it is less expensive to get phone/internet/cable tv than it is just to get internet, and that is $100 a month. Its a ripoff no matter how you look at it. I am old enough to remember the old days when tv was free. This site has helped enormously financially, as I am at $450 since 1/17, and have over $600 coming in the next few months, so thanks!

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Definitely agree cable/internet is (has) become ridiculous. What happens when there’s little choices available. Throw in what’s going on with net neutrality and you have yourself one frustrating and unfair situation. But I digress, a discussion for another time and place. At any rate that’s pretty interesting that you’ve been able to use Amazon Prime for homework purposes. I suppose it shouldn’t be that surprising though when I realize I’ve found videos for my now 3 year old.

As far as DoC saving money it’s definitely a great resource. So is Dansdeals, Slickdeals and even camelcamelcamel (for Amazon). Setting a few alerts on SD/CCC can go a long ways with saving a lot of money over time for purchases you can plan for.

calwatch
calwatch

As someone who grew up poor myself I get how some working class people (like my mom) take on their deprivation as a badge of honor. But if you can spend a few bucks for entertainment to forget your condition for a few hours a month, why not?

Warren Davis

Wouldn’t you save more money using the student discount?

Pablo
Pablo

What are you disabled with? You seem to be able to type fine. Maybe you could get a job as a court stenographer?

Charles DoC Fan
Charles DoC Fan

I’m guessing you were intentionally being a jerk by your comment. I know – don’t feed the troll.

If for some reason you actually believe what you wrote, let me provide a not so uncommon example. – My brother had prostate cancer. Chemo completely got rid of the cancer so far for the past 2 years. However he may have to run to the bathroom at any time (Diarrhea or intense need to pee either one may happen.) While there may be a few rare jobs where this might be acceptable – most are not.

Other people may be experiencing chronic pain, etc. Walk a mile in one of these persons, (Or sit in the case of someone paralyzed.) shoes and then come back and judge.

I bet you’re one of those people that make a ton of money, blow it on useless junk, and then complain at the end of the year about how much taxes you have to pay. Guess what? You CHOSE to make that amount of money by taking the opportunities that you were presented with.

de
de

I agree that Pablo is a dick. I do take issue with your last sentence. Everyone makes (or used to make) their own way during our short time on this earth. I made sacrifice after sacrifice to be where I am today. I totally understand the necessity of taxes and people needing help from time to time. This isn’t a political party issue as they’ve both done enough damage to what the founders envisioned anyway. Fundamentally, I think it comes down to who you think can spend YOUR money better…You? or the government?

Rene
Rene

Seems shady to me that Amazon lures low-income households into spending money on a service they can’t and shouldn’t afford — not to mention the long tail of extra spend a prime membership often follows.

Amazon could probably afford to give away e.g. the streaming and cloud services for free to low-income households without the incentive for more spend.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Don’t look now but Amazon has them pinned to the floor and the tap out is coming! In all seriousness though, if people don’t have the discipline to back away from Amazon and Prime (if they can’t afford it) then they have bigger problems. This isn’t the cigarette market where they’re luring people in and creating physical addictions. Sorry, but I just don’t see how this is shady.

edward
edward

walmart offers 2-day free shipping and matches amazon’s price, why am I still pay membership fee to amazon?

the first and last time bought a gift card from amazon, it took them 9 DAYS to ship, can’t believe its shipping speed…

never buy there

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Because they have a bigger selection? Because they have the best return policy? Subscribe and save opportunity? Because I don’t want to waste time getting a price match when I can click a button, buy my discounted box of baby diapers, and be on my merry way? Let’s not forget that Amazon GC can be purchased 5%+ (or their CC) or random amex offers, such as the one released today 2k MR for $50 in spending.

Rene
Rene

As you probably know, the Prime membership by itself is a huge loss for Amazon. The only reason they do it anyways is that it pays off at the end. A prime user spends in average 5x as much as non-prime users.

Yes, those numbers don’t tell the whole story — people who buy a lot at amazon are more likely to have a prime membership etc. pp. However, fact is that the average prime user spends much more at amazon — whether it’s 2x, 3x or 5x doesn’t really matter.

Your argument sounds like classical free market talk: if people aren’t smart enough to make good decisions it’s their own fault. I don’t share this view. This is not a matter of discipline, this is a matter of need, opportunity and at the very end financial education and maturity. If it would be just a matter of discipline, there wouldn’t be insane schemes like payday loans.

Yes, I have an issue with explicitly targeting an often less educated part of the society with an offer that seems to be a bargain at the surface, but leads to much higher spending is IMO shady.

Laura
Laura

That is a fallacy. I have a master’s degree. Most people on assistance are working people, not less educated, and overwhelmingly white. I am in this category due to illness, which unfortunately does not discriminate by gender, race or social class.

Rene
Rene

That is just not true; in average low-income households or less educated. Only a minority hold masters or even high school degrees. Education is a luxury that you need to be able to afford.

I didn’t mean to turn this into some political board: I am just stating my opinion about the fact that Amazon targets low-income households with an offer that in average leads to additional spending.

I am aware that this is a very european view and I am ok that people disagree with that. I’ll leave it at that.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

I understand your points but we’ll just have to agree to disagree. In this day and age anyone can find internet access and teach themselves some basic financial education in a matter of minutes, all for free. I believe blaming Amazon is an excuse and I’ll just leave it at that.

Rene
Rene

I can agree with that 😛

Sarah
Sarah

Walmart return policy is just as good and has been so since before Amazon existed.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

I’ve had several instances where Amazon refunds without needing proof of damage or to send back. Many times using issuing free 1 day shipping and sometimes even a credit. They’ve accepted many items back that weren’t damaged and only due to customer dissatisfaction. The ease of placing a box outside my porch for UPS pickup and receiving a full refund once it’s scanned by UPS cannot be beat. I’m not going to claim they’re better than Walmart only because I don’t have that history with them. I do however believe as much as one can without proof that they beat Walmart with returns.

Sarah
Sarah

Amazon has a huge problem with counterfeit goods, including counterfeit baby diapers and other baby products. You don’t roll the dice like that when you shop at Walmart like you do at Amazon.

Sources:

http://jenniferlabit.com/2016/07/21/counterfeit-baby-products-sold-at-amazon/

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13926015

https://help.pg.com/en_india/topics/fake-pampers-from-amazon-in

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

I’ve purchased hundreds of items from Amazon and haven’t had this issue. Not saying there’s not truth to this, because I’ve read similar reports, just saying in my experience I’ve yet to receive counterfeit products. Sticking with Prime-only items will greatly reduce the likelihood of issues.

Ann
Ann

There have been some counterfeit items ‘shipped from and sold by’ Amazon. I don’t have specific examples at hand, but in my experience reading Amazon reviews on a lot of products over the years, I’ve definitely seen several instances of people complaining that they received fakes (and some grey-market – products that were real but not authorized for sale or warranty coverage in the US market) who specifically stated that they didn’t buy through a third-party seller.

Also, ‘Prime-only’ includes both ‘shipped from and sold by’ Amazon items, and items from third-party sellers who use the Fulfillment By Amazon service in which they ship their items to Amazon’s warehouses so that Amazon can fulfill their orders for them. And if a third-party seller sends Amazon some items to ‘FBA’, they can be mixed together with other supposedly-identical items sent in by other third-party sellers (supposedly not mixed with Amazon’s own shipped-and-sold products, at least not intentionally…), so even a FBA seller trying to sell legit products could have someone else’s counterfeit shipped out in their name.

https://www.inc.com/sonya-mann/amazon-counterfeits-no-starch.html

Dave C
Dave C

Welfare queens….the OG of churners

captainsave
captainsave

Is this amazon way of getting walmart back for trying to steal their customers? Most walmart shoppers are on EBT.

Mark
Mark

I seriously doubt 50.1% or more walmart shoppers are on EBT

ihg newbie
ihg newbie

i think that is very insightful argument. i am not sure the majority of walmart shoppers are on welfare and they may well be but this might be the amazon’s counter punch.

Janet
Janet

Wow. Just wow. I am on SSD. I am degreed and was a high earner before I got sick. The attitudes here are amazing. As if people without money are all low-lifes trying to game the system.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

And who specifically are you referring to? If you’re going to call people out then I’d hope you’d at least reply to the comment(s) you disagree with to provide an opportunity to respond. Otherwise it’s just generalized vitriol towards those who don’t share your opinions.

Sam
Sam

I’ll never forget three years ago when I was a poor college student and just got a payday from my part time job so I had enough money to buy a big pack of ramen noodles. And the person in front of me in line was buying steaks and lobsters with EBT card, and then doing a second transaction to buy beer and cigs with cash.

M
M

Next Amazon will start peddling their Prime to the dumb and gullible by pricing it at just $0.27/day 😀

jim davis
jim davis

I’d rather keep the 6.95 in my pocket and buy something with it

TD
TD

This whole conversation gets to the gritty of it. God bless you, every one. I will continue to support initiatives that benefit those who learn these lessons and apply them intelligently.

BankWinner
BankWinner

I stopped shopping at Amazon when they started charging sales tax in my state sometime last year.

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