Posted at: 10/12/2013 5:15 PM
Updated at: 10/12/2013 10:44 PM
People in Ohio, Michigan and several other states found themselves unable to use their food stamp debit cards on Saturday, after a routine check by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a system failure. Shoppers from Maine to Oklahoma had to abandon baskets of groceries because they couldn't access their benefits.
Right now, the Associated Press reports that those debit cards are now working in all the affected states.
Ohio's cash and food assistance card payment systems went down at 11 a.m., said Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Ohio's cash system has been fixed, however its electronic benefits transfer card system is still down. All states that use Xerox systems are affected by the outage.
A spokesperson for Xerox released an updated statement Saturday night: "Beneficiary access to programs such as SNAP, TANF, and other programs has been restored to the 17 States where Xerox (NYSE: XRX) provides EBT service. Re-starting the EBT system required time to ensure service was back at full functionality.
Beneficiaries who required immediate access to their benefits could work with their local merchants who could activate an emergency voucher process where available. We appreciate our clients’ patience while we resolved this issue and apologize for any inconvenience.
We realize that access to these benefits is important to families in the states we serve. We continue to investigate the cause of the issue so we can take steps to ensure a similar interruption does not re-occur."
A USDA spokesperson addressed the issue Saturday night, saying, "EBT cards in a number of states have temporarily stopped working today due to a technical issue that the vendor that serves these states is experiencing. The vendor is working to fix this issue and EBT cards will work again once it is resolved. This issue is not related to the government shutdown."