Access restored to EBT cardholders

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Many concerned viewers called on Saturday about their EBT cards being turned away from local grocery stores, but Xerox officials have reported that the system outage has been resolved.

We received reports on Saturday from locations including Arab, Decatur and Huntsville, and other states experienced similar difficulties. A business in the Guntersville area had said that they "cannot receive SNAP benefits at this time." The business reported that they could not use either cards or vouchers.

The national and state websites for EBT are both currently down, but the issues with EBT cards was not related to the government shutdown.

A USDA spokesperson said that "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."

CNBC reported that many states' EBT cards are actually powered by a Xerox-owned company called ACS, Inc. A statement from Xerox reported that "During a routine test of our back-up systems Saturday morning,  Xerox's Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system experienced a temporary shutdown. While the system is now up and running, beneficiaries in the seventeen affected states continue to experience connectivity issues to access their benefits. This disruption impacts EBT beneficiaries who rely on the system for SNAP and WIC. Technical staff is addressing the issue and expect the system to be restored soon.  Beneficiaries requiring access to their benefits can work with their local retailers who can activate an emergency voucher system where available. We appreciate our clients' patience while we work through this outage as quickly as possible."

Xerox was able to resolve the issue later that day, stating, "Beneficiary access to programs such as SNAP, TANF, and other programs has been restored to the seventeen states where Xerox provides EBT service."

Xerox officials reported that they are still investigating what caused this mishap to occur so that they can prevent any future interruptions in service.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.