Washington, D.C. (WBOC) - Millions of people in 17 states found themselves unable to buy groceries with their food stamp debit-style cards Saturday after a routine check by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a system failure.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesperson released this statement about the problem, stating that it is not connected 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."
Problems with EBT cards across the country are not related to government funding but instead a technical issue at the company that powers the system.
EBT cards allow people to use funds issued through the SNAP program, commonly referred to as food stamps, to purchase approved goods.
The government shutdown, ongoing since Oct. 1, could affect SNAP, WIC and other welfare programs if it continues. However, federal officials stated money for those programs should be available until at least the end of the month.