A sign posted in the door of a Cincinnati area Kroger on Saturday tells people the store cannot accept EBT cards. Grocery stores in cities all over the U.S. were facing a similar problem. (Source: WXIX)
(RNN) - Most people who shop for groceries using EBT cards should be able to use them again, according to representatives for the company responsible for the failures that happened in 17 states Saturday.
Xerox, a vendor for the EBT system in several states, experienced a power outage while conducting a routine backup test in one of the company's locations.
Xerox spokeswoman Karen Arena told USA TODAYon Saturday evening the system was back up, but some states could still experience connectivity issues.
People in Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Louisiana and
Virginia were among those that could not purchase groceries and other
goods with the cards, which act similar to bank debit cards. A total of
17 states had been affected by the problem, according to the Associated
The government shutdown did not appear to be a factor.
Fears that the partial shutdown, caused by Congress' failure to pass a
spending bill, was responsible may have been spurred by the USDA's webpage for EBT. It states, "Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available."
EBT cards allow people to use funds issued through the SNAP program,
commonly referred to as food stamps, to purchase approved goods.
government shutdown, ongoing since Oct. 1, could affect SNAP, WIC and
other welfare programs if it continues. However, federal officials
stated money for those programs should be available until at least the
end of the month.
The widespread outage came despite each state running their own version of the welfare program. The federal government does supply funding and guidelines to the states.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services issued a
statement early Saturday evening saying some stores in the state that
accept EBT payments were operational again with more expected within a
out of Biloxi, MS, relayed the newsroom had gotten many phone calls
from people who said their cards were denied. Representatives from
grocery stores in Alabama said people with full shopping carts left
frustrated and empty-handed when their EBT cards would not work.
employee at a Huntsville, AL, Walmart said she had been told a power
outage related to the system was the reason. Cleveland, OH, station WOIO reported a problem with the EBT system was the source, according to an area retailer.
In Michigan, WOOD
reported the problem had to do with a system update on the retailers'
end, according to Michigan Department of Human Services. A retail store
in Grand Rapids, MI, announced its system was running again.
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