Food stamps debit cards were restored on Saturday night around 10 p.m. Food stamp debit cards across 17 states failed 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,” reported WHEC on Oct. 12, 2013.
Many of the people who had to leave behind their shopping carts in stores because they were unable to use their food stamp debit cards feared that this was due to the government shutdown. However, this is not the case.
A USDA spokesperson addressed the issue Saturday night and confirmed that the food stamp debit card failure was not due to the government shutdown but a technical glitch.
"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."
At least 17 states were impacted by the (Electronic Benefit Transfer) EBT issue, including Oklahoma, Louisiana, Maryland, and Michigan. The EBT system went down on Saturday morning preventing shoppers from being able to use their food stamps for much of Saturday. The EBT service was restored around 10 p.m. on Saturday night.
Sheree Powell, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, said that the EBT system failure was the result of a power outage at a Xerox facility.
Xerox is the vendor for the EBT systems in many states.
On Saturday night around 10:30 p.m., Xerox released an updated statement saying that access to the EBT programs had been restored:
"Beneficiary access to programs such as SNAP, TANF, and other programs has been restored to the 17 States where Xerox provides EBT service.
In its statement, Xerox also addressed its understanding that not being able to use food stamp debit cards means hardship for families and that it tried to restore all services as quickly as possible.
“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."