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Government shutdown not the cause of EBT problems

10:19 PM, Oct 12, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Computer issues halt Ohio Food Stamp system


CLEVELAND -- People wishing to use their food assistance benefits Saturday morning found out that the machines were down -- an issue that wasn't fixed for most of the day.

Burt Saltzman, with Dave's Super Market says that the computer system was having problems across the state of Ohio Saturday. The problem stemmed from a technical issue with one of the payment systems run by Xerox Corp. 

Xerox Corp. says that access to food stamp systems has been restored in 17 states that were affected by a temporary outage.

People in Ohio, Michigan and Texas were unable to use food stamp debit-style cards for hours. Xerox said a routine test of backup systems resulted in a temporary system failure.

Xerox Spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer said in an email that it took time to restore the system and make sure it was fully functional.

For most of the day, cardholders would swipe their card and get an error indicating that the transaction was not approved. 

Similar errors appeared in states across the country.

At that time, a USDA spokesperson issued a statement saying "EBT cards in a number of states have temporarily stopped working today due to a technical issue that the vendor who 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." 

A representative with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) said customers coud still use their EBT cards but will had to have them processed manually.

ODJFS resolved issues with its cash system prior to Xerox resolving issues on their end.


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