by: Atlanta Journal-Constitution Updated:
ATLANTA, Ga. - The electronic system that allows welfare recipients to buy food with their benefits went down across the Atlanta area Saturday, according to local grocery stores.
Several news media reports say the Electronic Benefits Transfer system – which allows low-income people to spend their Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program benefits with payment cards – was not working in Michigan and Virginia as well.
The cause of the problem is unknown. State and federal officials could not be reached for comment Saturday afternoon.
“It is not just Kroger,” said Kroger spokesman Glynn Jenkins. “In metro Atlanta, it doesn’t matter what retailer you are – the system is down.”
“I can’t tell you why or how or anything because we can’t get any information,” Jenkins said. “I’m not sure if this is related to the government shutdown or what. We are unable to get information just like consumers are unable to get information at this time.”
Publix also reported troubles Saturday.
“We are experiencing a problem processing EBT for Alabama- and Georgia-issued cards,” Brenda Reid, a media and community relations manager for Publix Super Markets, said in an email. “Our information systems team is actively working to correct the problem.”