Access returns to EBT food stamp cards users after outage - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Access returns to EBT food stamp cards users after outage

Posted: Updated:
Announcement on the Alabama Department of Human Resources website says the state's EBT system is operational again after an outage Saturday. Announcement on the Alabama Department of Human Resources website says the state's EBT system is operational again after an outage Saturday.

People in Ohio, Michigan and 15 other states found themselves temporarily unable to use their food stamp debit-style cards on Saturday, after a routine test of backup systems by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a system failure. Xerox announced late in the evening that access has been restored for users in the 17 states affected by the outage, hours after the first problems were reported.

"Restarting the EBT system required time to ensure service was back at full functionality," spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer said in an email. An emergency voucher process was available in some of the areas while the problems were occurring, she said.

U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Courtney Rowe underscored that the outage was not related to the government shutdown.

Earlier Saturday shoppers left carts of groceries behind at a packed Market Basket grocery store in Biddeford, Maine, because they couldn't get their benefits, said shopper Barbara Colman, of Saco, Maine. The manager put up a sign saying the EBT system was not in use. Colman, who receives the benefits, called an 800 telephone line for the program and it said the system was down due to maintenance, she said.

"That's a problem. There are a lot of families who are not going to be able to feed children because the system is being maintenanced," Colman said. She planned to reach out to local officials. "You don't want children going hungry tonight because of stupidity," she said.

Colman said the store manager promised her that he would honor the day's store flyer discounts next week.

Wasmer said the states affected by the temporary outage also included Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

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. Johnson said Xerox asked retailers to revert to a manual system, meaning customers could spend up to $50 until the system was restored.

Illinois residents began reporting problems with their cards — known as LINK in that state — on Saturday morning, said Januari Smith, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Smith said that typically when the cards aren't working retailers can call a backup phone number to find out how much money customers have available in their account. But that information also was unavailable because of the outage, so customers weren't able to use their cards.

"It really is a bad situation but they are working to get it fixed as soon as possible," Smith said.

In Clarksdale, Miss. — one of the poorest parts of one of the poorest states in the nation — cashier Eliza Shook said dozens of customers at Corner Grocery had to put back groceries when the cards failed Saturday because they couldn't afford to pay for the food. After several hours, she put a sign on the front door to tell people about the problem.

"It's been terrible," Shook said in a phone interview. "It's just been some angry folks. That's what a lot of folks depend on."

Mississippi Department of Human Services director Rickey Berry confirmed that Xerox, the state's EBT vendor, had computer problems.

"I know there are a lot of mad people," Berry said.

Sheree Powell, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, started receiving calls around 11:30 a.m. about problems with the state's card systems. More than 600,000 Oklahomans receive SNAP benefits, and money is dispersed to the cards on the first, fifth and 10th days of every month, so the disruption came at what is typically a high-use time for the cards.

Oklahoma also runs a separate debit card system for other state benefits like unemployment payments. Those cards can be used at ATMs to withdraw cash. Powell said Xerox administers both the EBT and debit card systems, and they both were down initially.

Powell said that some grocery store cashiers had been speculating that the federal government's shutdown caused the problem, but state officials have been assured that that is not the case.

Powell said Oklahoma's Xerox representative told them that the problems stemmed from a power failure at a data center.

"It just takes a while to reboot these systems," she said.

__

Associated Press writers Lisa Rathke contributed from Montpelier, Vt., Dan Sewell from Cincinnati, Tom Murphy from Indianapolis, Sara Burnett from Chicago, Emily Wagster from Jackson, Miss., and Mary Clare Jalonick from Washington, D.C.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Two-story home destroyed in overnight fire

    Two-story home destroyed in overnight fire

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:11 AM EDT2014-09-02 11:11:07 GMT
    Fire destroys two-story home on Letson Farm Trail in McCalla.More >>
    Fire destroys two-story home on Letson Farm Trail in McCalla.
    More >>
  • Labor Day Moon Pie eating contest

    Labor Day Moon Pie eating contest

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:22 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:22:19 GMT
    Dozens of folks got their ''fill'' of a popular Alabama treat this Labor Day.Tannehill State Park hosted the largest Moon Pie eating contest. All total there were 65 people who signed up. The winner receives a cash prize of $100. But this is about more than money. Park administrator, Stacey Green says, "I thought at times it was about the cash prizes, because the adults will win $100. But we've had so many repeat competitors, that I really think they're more in it for bragging rights. I re...More >>
    Dozens of folks got their ''fill'' of a popular Alabama treat this Labor Day.Tannehill State Park hosted the largest Moon Pie eating contest. All total there were 65 people who signed up. The winner receives a cash prize of $100. But this is about more than money. Park administrator, Stacey Green says, "I thought at times it was about the cash prizes, because the adults will win $100. But we've had so many repeat competitors, that I really think they're more in it for bragging rights. I re...More >>
  • Job growth under microscope this Labor Day

    Job growth under microscope this Labor Day

    Monday, September 1 2014 5:50 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:50:56 GMT
    Keeping a roof overhead and putting food on the table. That's still difficult for many Alabamians on this 130th Labor Day. A just released report by Arise Citizens Policy Project warns Alabamians will continue to feel the effects of the great recession for years to come. Arise is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition that believes low-income people are suffering because of state policy decisions. Bottom line is that Alabama's unemployment rate stands at seven percent. Yet, the stat...More >>
    Keeping a roof overhead and putting food on the table. That's still difficult for many Alabamians on this 130th Labor Day. A just released report by Arise Citizens Policy Project warns Alabamians will continue to feel the effects of the great recession for years to come. Arise is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition that believes low-income people are suffering because of state policy decisions. Bottom line is that Alabama's unemployment rate stands at seven percent. Yet, the stat...More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Birmingham Skyline to be Lit Teal for Cancer Awareness

    Birmingham Skyline to be Lit Teal for Cancer Awareness

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:39 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:39:42 GMT
    Raising awareness to the symptoms of gynecologic cancers is a very important mission and could ultimately save women's lives. Three Birmingham organizations — the CanSurvive GYN Cancer Support Group, the Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation, and the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation — are partnering to do just that with their “A State of Teal” campaign.More >>
    Raising awareness to the symptoms of gynecologic cancers is a very important mission and could ultimately save women's lives. Three Birmingham organizations — the CanSurvive GYN Cancer Support Group, the Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation, and the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation — are partnering to do just that with their “A State of Teal” campaign.
    More >>
  • UPDATE: Birmingham Police investigating homicide in Ensley

    UPDATE: Birmingham Police investigating homicide in Ensley

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:44 AM EDT2014-09-02 11:44:25 GMT
    One person dead, one injured in shooting in EnsleyMore >>
    One person dead, one injured in shooting in Ensley
    More >>
  • Last day for parking under I-20-59 bridges downtown

    Last day for parking under I-20-59 bridges downtown

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:48 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:48:58 GMT
    Starting Tuesday, drivers won't be able to park underneath the I-20/59 bridges in downtown Birmingham.Around 400 spaces will be eliminated. It's due to safety concerns stemming from the aging overpass that will undergo repairs.Some call these parking spaces convenient, well shaded, valuable and without them.Robert Langston says, "It's kind of concerning because you need all the parking around here."Charlie Gamble says, "I think it's a mistake, especially when they have a big event." "We picni...More >>
    Starting Tuesday, drivers won't be able to park underneath the I-20/59 bridges in downtown Birmingham.Around 400 spaces will be eliminated. It's due to safety concerns stemming from the aging overpass that will undergo repairs.Some call these parking spaces convenient, well shaded, valuable and without them.Robert Langston says, "It's kind of concerning because you need all the parking around here."Charlie Gamble says, "I think it's a mistake, especially when they have a big event." "We picni...More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:45:16 GMT
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
  • Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:22 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:22:34 GMT
    Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
  • Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:37:31 GMT
    William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Birmingham Skyline to be Lit Teal for Cancer Awareness

    Birmingham Skyline to be Lit Teal for Cancer Awareness

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:39 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:39:42 GMT
    Raising awareness to the symptoms of gynecologic cancers is a very important mission and could ultimately save women's lives. Three Birmingham organizations — the CanSurvive GYN Cancer Support Group, the Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation, and the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation — are partnering to do just that with their “A State of Teal” campaign.More >>
    Raising awareness to the symptoms of gynecologic cancers is a very important mission and could ultimately save women's lives. Three Birmingham organizations — the CanSurvive GYN Cancer Support Group, the Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation, and the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation — are partnering to do just that with their “A State of Teal” campaign.
    More >>
  • UPDATE: Birmingham Police investigating homicide in Ensley

    UPDATE: Birmingham Police investigating homicide in Ensley

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:44 AM EDT2014-09-02 11:44:25 GMT
    One person dead, one injured in shooting in EnsleyMore >>
    One person dead, one injured in shooting in Ensley
    More >>
  • Two-story home destroyed in overnight fire

    Two-story home destroyed in overnight fire

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:11 AM EDT2014-09-02 11:11:07 GMT
    Fire destroys two-story home on Letson Farm Trail in McCalla.More >>
    Fire destroys two-story home on Letson Farm Trail in McCalla.
    More >>
  • Saban: Bama's QB competition continues

    Saban: Bama's QB competition continues

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:26 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:26:09 GMT
    Alabama still has competition for the starting job at quarterback. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban says both Blake Sims and Jake Coker will play Saturday against Florida Atlantic. He says he hasn't determined how the rotation will work for No. 2 Alabama.More >>
    Alabama still has competition for the starting job at quarterback. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban says both Blake Sims and Jake Coker will play Saturday against Florida Atlantic. He says he hasn't determined how the rotation will work for No. 2 Alabama.
    More >>
  • Last day for parking under I-20-59 bridges downtown

    Last day for parking under I-20-59 bridges downtown

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:48 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:48:58 GMT
    Starting Tuesday, drivers won't be able to park underneath the I-20/59 bridges in downtown Birmingham.Around 400 spaces will be eliminated. It's due to safety concerns stemming from the aging overpass that will undergo repairs.Some call these parking spaces convenient, well shaded, valuable and without them.Robert Langston says, "It's kind of concerning because you need all the parking around here."Charlie Gamble says, "I think it's a mistake, especially when they have a big event." "We picni...More >>
    Starting Tuesday, drivers won't be able to park underneath the I-20/59 bridges in downtown Birmingham.Around 400 spaces will be eliminated. It's due to safety concerns stemming from the aging overpass that will undergo repairs.Some call these parking spaces convenient, well shaded, valuable and without them.Robert Langston says, "It's kind of concerning because you need all the parking around here."Charlie Gamble says, "I think it's a mistake, especially when they have a big event." "We picni...More >>
  • City of Clay to defend pit bull ban in court Tuesday

    City of Clay to defend pit bull ban in court Tuesday

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:14:16 GMT
    The city of Clay will defend its Vicious Dog Ordinance Tuesday morning in court. The city council passed the ordinance last year. It bans pit bulls. Mayor Charles Webster calls it the biggest safety issue in Clay since he's been elected.More >>
    The city of Clay will defend its Vicious Dog Ordinance Tuesday morning in court. The city council passed the ordinance last year. It bans pit bulls. Mayor Charles Webster calls it the biggest safety issue in Clay since he's been elected.
    More >>
  • Friday Night Blitz: Coverage lineup for Week 3

    Friday Night Blitz: Coverage lineup for Week 3

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:32:55 GMT
    Week 3 Blitz Game of the Week:MOUNTAIN BROOK vs HOOVER (The Met)Blitz Cheer:BESSEMER CITY at BROOKWOODBlitz Brigade:HUEYTOWN at MINOROther Notable Matchups:VESTAVIA HILLS at OAK MOUNTAINNORTHRIDGE at MCADORYHILLCREST at CLAY-CHALKVILLE CENTRAL-CLAY at SHELBY COUNTYDEMOPOLIS at CALERAMUNFORD at LEEDSCHILTON COUNTY at PELL CITYPIEDMONT at ASHVILLEMOODY vs SPRINGVILLEJACKSON-OLIN vs BRIARWOODTHOMPSON at SPAIN PARKHEWITT-TRUSSVILLE at TUSCALOOSA COUNTYCORNER vs FAIRFIELDGREENE COUNTY vs GORDOTHOR...More >>
    Week 3 Blitz Game of the Week:MOUNTAIN BROOK vs HOOVER (The Met)Blitz Cheer:BESSEMER CITY at BROOKWOODBlitz Brigade:HUEYTOWN at MINOROther Notable Matchups:VESTAVIA HILLS at OAK MOUNTAINNORTHRIDGE at MCADORYHILLCREST at CLAY-CHALKVILLE CENTRAL-CLAY at SHELBY COUNTYDEMOPOLIS at CALERAMUNFORD at LEEDSCHILTON COUNTY at PELL CITYPIEDMONT at ASHVILLEMOODY vs SPRINGVILLEJACKSON-OLIN vs BRIARWOODTHOMPSON at SPAIN PARKHEWITT-TRUSSVILLE at TUSCALOOSA COUNTYCORNER vs FAIRFIELDGREENE COUNTY vs GORDOTHOR...More >>
  • Member of biker club speaks about fight before shooting

    Member of biker club speaks about fight before shooting

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:29 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:29:44 GMT

    Police: suspect in fight before shooting into crowd

    More >>

    Police: suspect in fight before shooting into crowd

    More >>