System failure impacts Ohio food stamp recipients

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Those who rely on food stamp services may go hungry on Saturday after a system failure at the company that runs debit-style benefit cards.

The vendor, The Xerox Corporation, confirms that customers in Ohio and 15 other states were unable to use their EBT cards on Saturday. The company has since stated that access has been restored.

Some initially blamed the government shutdown for the issue. However, Xerox officials say that a technical glitch is causing the problem.

There are about 1.8 million food stamp recipients in Ohio who depend on that assistance to feed themselves and their families.

When food stamp recipients tried to use their EBT cards on Saturday, they received a rude surprise.

Denise Warford tried to use her EBT card at the Over-the-Rhine Krogers.

"It's a big inconvenience that everybody doesn't have jobs to buy food with money," explains Denise. "We need these cards. It's bad enough to feed the whole family so for them to cut them off is ridiculous. We can't get in the food stores on the weekend, I mean, what are we supposed to do?"

The system failure is also a problem for merchants who honor EBT cards.

"It has affected us very, very badly," said Amanda, a merchant at Findlay Market. "About 80 percent of our revenue is from the food stamps especially the first of the month. So it really did. It put a damper on things today."

"It has been hurting our business today," explains Matthew, an Over-the-Rhine vendor. "We and the neighborhood rely quite a bit on food stamp sales."

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says the state's cash system has been fixed. However, the EBT system is still not working in several areas.

Other states that have been affected include:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.