Temporary government assistance programs often disburse funds using an Electronic Benefits Transfer card, similar to debit or credit card.
Your EBT card can’t be used to pay for your Prime membership. However you may qualify for discounted Prime if you currently have a valid EBT card for any of the following programs:
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Other programs by state
Amazon Accepting Food Stamps
Last month, it was announced that web giant Amazon will begin accepting food stamps this coming summer. This is part of a USDA pilot program, aimed at making food more accessible and more affordable for those receiving benefits.
Of the online food providers included in the program, Amazon is by and large the biggest. The retail giant offers dry and fresh goods through its Amazon Pantry, Amazon Prime Now, and Amazon Fresh options.
The other retailers include Safeway, Hy-Vee, Hart’s Local Grocers, ShopRite, and Dash’s Market. Between these, recipients from seven states will benefit from the program:
Though actual food “stamps” are now obsolete and benefits are distributed onto debit-esque cards. It is the first time that SNAP benefits have ever been accepted online. Of course, this opens the door even wider to the possibility of stamp fraud, or even simply questionable use.
In fact, the USDA found that over $1.3 billion was spent on junk food in 2011… these purchases include soda/sweetened drinks (these alone accounted for $600 million, in fact), desserts, candy, sugar, and salty snacks. Of course, this is not the purpose of the government-funded program, and calls into question its efficacy.
For example, J.P. Morgan provides EBT (electronic benefits transaction) services for 24 different states and their food stamp programs. Since 2004, 18 of these states have contracted the bank’s services, for a total bill of over $560 million.
This provides quite an incentive for these banks and other companies to participate in such government programs.
Rolling Out Soon
The trial program will begin in July and initially run for a two-year period. SNAP recipients in the seven states mentioned above can take advantage of online ordering, through Amazon.
There are plans to expand the program further down the line, potentially adding retailers like Walmart to the list.
After completing the verification process, you will be eligible to receive a discount on Amazon Prime, including all Prime benefits.
Prime benefits include FREE two-day shipping on millions of eligible items and unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows.
They also include access to hundreds of playlists through Prime Music and access to unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos.
This offer does not include Household sharing of Prime benefits. You will be eligible for the discounted Prime offer for up to 4 years from the date you signed up. Contingent on a verification of your EBT status every 12 months.
You’ll receive an email when it’s time to re-verify your eligibility. Unless you cancel, at the end of the fourth year of this discount Prime offer, you’ll have the option to sign up for a different paid subscription for Amazon Prime membership at then-current rates.
1. Who is eligible to use SNAP EBT on Amazon?
Amazon is part of a pilot run by the USDA to accept SNAP EBT online in select states. Currently, customers with a valid SNAP EBT card in the states of NY, WA, and select regions of Oregon can use their SNAP funds on Amazon. Check back here for updates as we work alongside the USDA to expand our coverage to other areas.
2. How do I sign up to use my SNAP EBT benefits on Amazon?
To use your SNAP EBT card, visit www.Amazon.com/SNAP/Register and follow the instructions on the screen. If you are not already an Amazon customer, you will need to create an account and add your SNAP EBT card plus zip code to make sure that you are eligible. There are also opportunities to add an EBT card during checkout or in your wallet.
3. Do I need a Prime membership to use my SNAP EBT card on Amazon?
No. Shopping with a valid NY, OR, or WA-issued SNAP EBT card allows you to access Amazon Fresh without Amazon Prime. Order minimums still apply to Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry to receive free shipping.
It will be interesting to see how well the program runs, and its ability to bring fresh, healthy foods to those who cannot easily access them otherwise.
And how this will allow for increased monitoring and will prevent some of the current fraud issues.
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