Brandon Turbeville & Heather Callaghan
Early on Saturday morning, EBT customers all across the United States began experiencing issues with their EBT cards, the card which allows them to access their SNAP benefits (aka Food Stamps) with the system refusing to process the transactions. The technical issues were first being reported by shoppers through word of mouth but soon hit the national press with confirmation of transaction failure in as many states as Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Maine and Ohio.
Officially, at the time of the writing of this article, the explanation (although government officials could not be reached for comment) is that a power outage at the Xerox facility which processes the cards and their transactions caused the system to go down. However, other reports suggest that a computer system upgrade was the culprit.
Despite the contradictory explanations for the failure of the EBT system, it should be noted that SNAP benefits and their distribution were not affected as a part of the government shutdown, although many individuals who are slightly less informed as to the recent government controversy may assume that they were. Indeed, SNAP benefits are being considered for cuts with the discussion of the raising of the debt ceiling and related Congressional legislation but NOT the Government shutdown.