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Nationwide Electronic Food Stamp Shutdown Reported, Computer System Upgrade Blamed (UPDATE: AP Reports Vendor Check Crashed System)

People calling the customer service line were being told to call back later.

(TheBlaze/AP) -- Major problems were reported Saturday all across America with the Electronic Benefits Transfer System, as consumers were stuck with no way to pay at registers, notes WBZ-TV in Boston.

WBZ reported that a computer-system upgrade was to blame, while the Associated Press reports that  a routine check by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a system failure.

People in Ohio, Michigan and several other states found themselves unable to use their food stamp debit cards while shoppers from Maine to Oklahoma had to abandon baskets of groceries because they couldn't access their benefits.

Ohio's cash and food assistance card payment systems went down at 11 a.m., said Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Ohio's cash system has been fixed, however its electronic benefits transfer card system is still down. All states that use Xerox systems are affected by the outage.

Xerox spokeswoman Karen Arena confirmed via email Saturday afternoon that some EBT systems are experiencing temporary connectivity issues. She said technical staff is addressing the issue and expects the system to be restored soon.

More from WBZ:

Reports from around the country began pouring in around 9 a.m. on Saturday that customers’ EBT cards were not working in stores.

The glitch, however, did not appear to be part of the government shutdown. At 2 p.m., an EBT customer service representative told CBS Boston that the system was currently down for a computer system upgrade.

The representative said the glitch is affecting people nationwide. She could not say when officials expected the system to be restored.

People calling the customer service line were being told to call back later.

The federal EBT website was unavailable due to the government shutdown.

This is breaking news; updates will be added.

(H/T: Weasel Zippers)



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