LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Food stamp debit cards in California and several other states have stopped working due to a Xerox Corp. systems failure Saturday.
A spokesperson from the vendor said Xerox’s Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system went down following a routine test of back-up systems.
All 17 states that use the system were affected by the outage including Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Courtney Rowe underscored that the outage is not related to the government shutdown.
"EBT cards in a number of states have temporarily stopped working today due to a technical issue that the vendor that 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," Rowe said in a statement.
The failure caught many shoppers by surprise, forcing some to leave carts of groceries behind when their card was denied.
Xerox said beneficiaries requiring access to their benefits could work with their local retailers to activate an emergency voucher system.
Xerox was notifying retailers to revert to the manual system, meaning SNAP customers can spend up to $50 until the system is back online. SNAP recipients should call the 800 number on the back of their card, and Xerox will guide them through the purchase process.
No estimate on when service would be restored was made.
ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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