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Amazon Now Offers Major Discount on Prime for Low-Income Families

Photograph by Twenty20

If the $10.99 monthly cost of an Amazon Prime membership is too steep, you're in luck. The online giant recently announced it will cut the price by almost half for shoppers who receive federal welfare benefits, bringing the monthly payment down to $5.99 per month.

For parents struggling to make ends meet, this can make life so much easier. The biggest appeal is Amazon's free two-day or same-day shipping on millions of items, which can come in handy when you have a huge shopping list but don't have the time or easy transportation to get to the store. Prime members can also join Amazon Family, which gives family-centric discounts, including 20 percent off diaper subscriptions, as well as exclusive baby registry benefits. And if you can't splurge on the occasional family movie outing or need a short distraction for the kids, Prime also comes with some great instant streaming selections on movies, TV shows and songs.

"We designed this membership option for customers receiving government assistance to make our everyday selection and savings more accessible, including the many conveniences and entertainment benefits of Prime," said Greg Greely, vice president of Amazon Prime.

Amazon Fresh, the grocery delivery service available in select cities, is not included but can be added on with an extra monthly fee.

To sign up for the Prime discount, users will have to confirm their eligibility with a valid Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) number. EBT cards are also used by government programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

While this latest discount can be a huge win for low income families, know that it isn't completely altruistic either. By targeting lower-income shoppers, Amazon is competing with giants like Costco and Walmart that have significant revenues from purchases made with food stamps. According to Forbes, Amazon Prime has signed up more than 50 million subscribers since 2014. Now, it can also tap into the 45 million people who are eligible for the cheaper membership.

So yes, it'll most likely help Amazon's bottom line—but hey, maybe it'll help yours too.

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