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8 surprising EBT discounts and freebies

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If you receive EBT card benefits — either through cash assistance or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — you can qualify for more than free groceries and other essential items. In this post, you'll find places to go for EBT card holders, including free entrance, discounts and other free stuff.

Keep reading for our list of surprising freebies and discounts for EBT card holders: 

  1. Museum passes
  2. YMCA membership
  3. Amazon Prime
  4. Internet
  5. Zoo passes
  6. Cell phone service
  7. Farmer’s markets
  8. Veterinary services

1. Free museum passes

Through a national initiative called “Museums for All,” more than 1,200 museums across the country offer EBT free admission or discounted admission to EBT card holders. 

For example, the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History1 offers free admission with an EBT card when you present a valid California ID. 

Illinois residents with an EBT card or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) ID can visit the Chicago Children’s Museum for $3 per person for up to 6 people per card.2

To take advantage of museum discounts: 

  1. Use the search tool on the Museums for All website to find free EBT museums near you 
  2. Present your EBT card and a valid ID

The maximum price you’ll pay out of pocket at a participating museum is $3 for a family of four, and there is no limit on the number of museums you can visit and how many times you visit each one. 

“I’ve used my EBT card to help take my family to the children’s museum,” says Christina L., a single mom of three in Wisconsin.

Christina says instead of paying almost $50, she and her kids can enter for just $6 total since EBT discounted prices are just $2 per person and free for kids under 12 months, which covers her youngest child.

2. Free YMCA membership

Another EBT perk? The YMCA offers discounted memberships for low-income families, including EBT card holders. These memberships include access to:

  • Fitness classes
  • Gym equipment
  • Running tracks
  • Swimming pools
  • Free child care while you workout

In Fond du Lac, Wisc., you can apply for a reduced-price membership if your household income is less than $80,000 per year.3 The amount you pay is on a sliding scale based on income: 

“Membership for All” recipients at this branch can also receive up to 40% off program registrations like sports teams and summer camps. 

You must provide a copy of your federal income taxes and recent pay stubs to qualify based on income.

If you have an EBT food card or receive social security benefits, you can also provide a copy of your benefits statements. Membership rates are reviewed for eligibility every 12 months.

Contact your local facility to see if they offer a YMCA EBT card discount.

3. Amazon

Did you know that EBT cardholders are eligible for 53% off an Amazon Prime membership? This membership includes:

  • Free one- or two-day shipping on Prime-eligible items
  • Access to thousands of free movies and TV shows — including popular children’s programming like “Bubble Guppies,” recent releases, and cult favorite movies like “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Gremlins”

SNAP recipients pay just $6.99 per month, compared to the regular price of $14.99. Discounted Prime memberships are also available to people enrolled in the following programs: 

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Direct Express Prepaid Debit Card
  • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC)
  • Puerto Rico's Nutrition Assistance Program card (Tarjeta de la Familia)

Upload a copy of your EBT card or other proof of benefits and enter a valid payment method to enroll. You may also qualify for a free 30-day trial if you’ve never signed up before. Amazon Prime can be canceled at any time. 

Learn more about using EBT with Amazon and how to spend EBT cash.

4. Internet

The Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program4 (ACP) also offers EBT cardholder discounts by providing free or discounted wifi service to qualified applicants through select internet providers.

SNAP recipients are eligible to enroll in the ACP, which offers a monthly discount of up to $30 for eligible subscribers ($75 for households on Tribal lands) and a one-time discount of up to $100 to buy a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.

You can apply for the ACP on the FCC website or call the National Verifier at 833-511-0311.

These are some wireless services prices after ACP discounts: 

Verizon

Fios Home Internet:

  • Fios 1 Gig – $49.99/month
  • 500 Mbps – $29.99/month
  • 300 Mbps – Free

5G Home Internet:

  • 5G Home Plus – $20/month
  • 5G Home – Free

LTE Home Internet:

  • LTE Home Plus – $20
  • LTE Home – Free

The Verizon Forward program5 also offers the following benefits to people who qualify for EBT benefits: 

  • Waived fees and setup charges
  • No annual contracts or hidden fees
  • No equipment charges or data caps
  • Up to $500 for early termination fees when you switch carriers

AT&T

Combined with the ACP discounts, you can get Access from AT&T6 plans with speeds up to 100 Mbps for free with EBT (normally $30/month). Other program perks include: 

  • No annual contracts
  • Free installation

Xfinity

If you just need basic internet service, Xfinity offers a program called Internet Essentials,7 where qualifying customers can receive 50/10 Mbps internet service for just $9.95 per month plus tax. 

You can also get Internet Essentials Plus, you’ll receive 100/20 Mbps internet service for $29.95 per month plus tax. 

SNAP recipients are eligible for both plans. 

Here’s what one Reddit user had to say about EBT cardholder discounts for Xfinity. 

EBT members can get discounted wifi from Xfinity.

5. Zoo passes

Did you know you can get Zoo discounts with an EBT card? Some zoos also offer free or reduced admission when you receive EBT benefits. 

For example, the Cincinnati Zoo offers discounted tickets and season passes to residents who receive SNAP benefits. With this program, adult tickets only cost $6, while child and senior tickets cost $3.8

The Nashville Zoo offers a $100 discount on a regular household-level zoo membership for SNAP, WIC, and TANF enrollees. Household zoo memberships are good for two adults and up to six eligible children.9

6. Cell phone service

EBT cardholders are also eligible for the Lifeline Program,10 which offers up to a $9.25 monthly discount ($34.25 for households on Tribal lands) for cellphone, broadband internet, and bundled voice-broadband service from select providers, including: 

  • Verizon
  • AT&T
  • T Mobile
  • StandUp Wireless
  • Q Link Wireless
  • TruConnect

You can apply for Lifeline on the FCC website or call the National Verifier at 833-511-0311.

7. Farmers markets

Finally, some farmers markets across the country offer special incentives for EBT cardholders. For example, the Fresh Bucks program in Seattle and Nashville11 matches EBT dollars spent at participating farmers markets, effectively doubling the value of your benefits. 

This can be a great way to access fresh, healthy produce for less. The USDA keeps a running list of farmers markets across the country that accept SNAP benefits.12

While you have to confirm with your local farmers market, it seems like this benefit is available in several states. Here’s what one Reddit user had to say: 

EBT members can double their money at select food markets.

8. Veterinary services

EBT recipients can receive low-cost urgent care for their pets from an ASPCA Animal Hospital13 if their total annual household income is $50,000 or less. This does not extend to routine vaccinations, flea/heartworm treatments or annual exams.

You can use your EBT card to apply for financial assistance for the following pet services: 

  • Spay/neuter surgery
  • Life-threatening injury or illness
  • End of life services

Answers to FAQs about free things with EBT

Let us know in the comments if you know of more free stuff for Medicaid recipients, free non-food stuff with food stamps, and discounts for EBT and SNAP card holders.  

Does Netflix offer discounts for EBT or food stamp card holders?

We could not find any coupons or offers for EBT card holders, but if that changes, we'll update this post.   

What about Hulu? Does Hulu offer free stuff or food stamp discounts?

Our research found that Hulu offers student discounts (with ads) and military discounts.14, 15 We did not find free subscriptions specifically for EBT card holders, but if that changes, we'll update this post. 

Do major theme parks offer EBT/Medicaid discounts?

A lot of people ask about specific family vacation destinations and whether they offer SNAP, EBT or Medicaid discounts. We did not find discounts for EBT, Medicaid or SNAP cards for major theme parks including Legoland, Disney, Universal or Sea World. However, some of these parks offer military discounts, student discounts, and discounts for children with special needs.

Check out these other resources for low-income families:

Help for single moms: 16+ resources$500 monthly single mom grant
Free Christmas giftsFree clothes
Free foodFree gift cards
Free bus passesFree formula
Free baby stuffFree car
Free daycareFree preschool
Free help with tax preparation

SOURCES:

  1. “Free Hours and Admission,” Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. https://nhm.org/plan-your-visit/museum-free-hours-and-admission
  2. “Museums for All FAQs,” Chicago Children's Museum. https://www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org/museums-for-all
  3. “Membership for All Financial Assistance Program,” YMCA. https://www.fdlymca.org/membership-for-all.html
  4. “Affordable Connectivity Program,” Federal Communications Commission. https://www.fcc.gov/acp
  5. “Get free Verizon Home Internet with ACP and the Verizon Forward Program,” Verizon Wireless. https://www.verizon.com/home/internet/acp/free-internet/
  6. “Get free internet with Access & the Affordable Connectivity Program,” AT&T. https://www.att.com/internet/access/
  7. “Apply for Internet Essentials or Internet Essentials Plus from Comcast,” Xfinity. https://www.xfinity.com/support/articles/comcast-broadband-opportunity-program
  8. “Cincinnati Zoo offers discounts for food assistance recipients,” Hamilton County Job and Family Services. https://www.hcjfs.org/initiatives/discounts/cincinnati-zoo-offers-discounts-for-food-assistance-recipients/
  9. “General Membership Questions,” Nashville Zoo. https://www.nashvillezoo.org/membership-faq
  10. “Lifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers,” Federal Communications Commission. https://www.fcc.gov/general/lifeline-program-low-income-consumers
  11. “Fresh Bucks: Double your SNAP dollar at the Nashville Farmers' Market,” Nashville Farmers' Market. https://www.nashvillefarmersmarket.org/fresh-bucks-double-snap
  12. “National Farmers Market Directory,” USDA. https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets
  13. “ASPCA Animal Hospital in NYC,” ASPCA. https://www.aspca.org/nyc/aspca-veterinary-spayneuter-services-new-york-city/aspca-animal-hospital-nyc
  14. “Hulu's Student Discount,” Hulu. https://help.hulu.com/s/article/student-discount
  15. “Military discount on Hulu, Hulu. https://help.hulu.com/s/article/military-discount-on-hulu

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