Walmart+, the U.S. retailer’s Prime competitor, is introducing a new program designed to help those on government assistance take advantage of its membership benefits, like free shipping and delivery, gas discounts and access to streaming service Paramount+. The company announced this morning the launch of Walmart+ Assist, a way to purchase a Walmart+ membership at 50% off ($49 per year, or $6.47 per month) for those on government assistance.
Typically, a Walmart+ membership costs $98 per year or $12.95 per month, plus applicable taxes.
Those on the Assist membership will still be able to utilize the full range of Walmart+ features and perks, which include free shipping on Walmart.com purchases with no order minimum (excluding most Marketplace items), free grocery delivery with a $35 order minimum, free returns from home (no printing or repackaging required), savings of 10 cents per gallon at 14,000 locations (including Exxon, Mobil, Walmart and Murphy stations), a free Paramount+ subscription, ad-free video streaming with Pluto TV, mobile scan & go in-store for contact-free checkout, and other special offers and savings for members only, including early access to Black Friday deals.
To qualify, new and existing Walmart+ members must first visit Walmart.com/Plus/Assist to verify their eligibility through a third-party verification provider called SheerID. Customers will be taken to the SheerID website to fill out their eligibility form, then returned to the Walmart site or app to continue enrollment upon completion. They can then sign up for the Assist membership at the discounted rate.
Walmart’s discounted program comes several years after Amazon announced a similar program for Prime members.
In 2017, Amazon debuted a low-cost version of Prime for those on government assistance, also bringing the cost down by about half. Amazon’s program at launch supported those on a number of government assistance programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC). The full list now also includes Medicaid, SSI (Supplemental Security Income), Direct Express Prepaid Debit Card, TTANF (Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), NSLP (National School Lunch Program), LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program), NAP (Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program card –Tarjeta de la Familia).
Walmart+ Assist is similar in terms of its support, as its FAQ notes the eligible programs include SNAP, WIC, Medicaid, SSI, TANF, TTANF, NSLP and LIHEAP.
Walmart has worked to address the needs of those on government assistance in other ways prior to this launch, as it was one of the first retailers to participate in the USDA’s SNAP Online Purchase pilot in 2019. The company began the test by allowing customers to pay for their online grocery orders using their SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits — more casually known as food stamps. The program has since expanded to include support for using SNAP benefits for both order pickup and delivery.
Today, Walmart announced that with the addition of Alaska, it’s now the first retailer to accept SNAP benefits in all 50 U.S. states.