(AP) Food stamp recipients should be able to use their debit-style cards in grocery stores on Sunday, now that vendor Xerox Corp. has restored service after a system outage that affected people across 17 states. New York State was not among the states affected.
People from Alabama to California found themselves temporarily unable to use their food stamp cards on Saturday morning, after a routine test of backup systems by Xerox sparked technical problems that shut down the states' electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, systems. Xerox said late in the evening that access was restored for all users.
"Restarting the EBT system required time to ensure service was back at full functionality," spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer said in an email. An emergency voucher process was available in some of the areas while the problems were occurring, she said.
Xerox says it continues to investigate the cause of the issue so we can take steps to ensure a similar interruption does not re-occur.
U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Courtney Rowe underscored that the outage was not related to the government shutdown.
States affected by the temporary outage included Ohio, Michigan, Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.