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Supermarkets Turn Away Food Stamp Card Users After Technical Problem

People throughout 17 states had problems getting groceries on Saturday when they attempted to use their food stamp cards, thanks to a computer outage.

The Raw Story reports that Xerox’s Electronic Benefits Transfer system shut down temporarily during the glitch, Xerox said Saturday.

The system failure affected low-income individuals and families who receive food benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children program (WIC), according to The Washington Post.

“While the system is now up and running, beneficiaries in the 17 affected states continue to experience connectivity issues to access their benefits,” the company stated. “This disruption impacts EBT beneficiaries who rely on the system for SNAP and WIC. Technical staff is addressing the issue and expect the system to be restored soon. Beneficiaries requiring access to their benefits can work with their local retailers who can activate an emergency voucher system where available.”

The outage reportedly occurred during a “routine test” of backup systems Saturday morning, Jennifer Wasmer, a spokeswoman for Xerox, said, per The Washington Post, which also noted that more than 6,000 Maryland residents received food assistance last month, according to state data.

Besides Maryland, the 16 other states that were impacted were Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

Mississippi Department of Human Services director Rickey Berry confirmed that Xerox, the state's EBT vendor, had computer problems, according to ABC News.

"I know there are a lot of mad people," Berry said.

Sources: The Raw Story, The Washington Post, ABC News


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