ATLANTA, Ga. - Debit-style food stamp cards in Georgia should be working Sunday after a glitch prevented access to thousands of cardholders this weekend.
The Electronic Benefits Transfer allows low-income people to spend their Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program benefits with payment cards.
Welfare recipients had to leave shopping carts full of food after the system went down across the Atlanta area Saturday, according to local grocery stores. Xerox runs the system in 17 states, including Georgia.
Some feared the system failure resulted from the government shutdown, but a USDA spokesperson cleared up that concern.
Courtney Rowe released the following statement Saturday evening:
"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."
Channel 2 Action News and Atlanta Journal-Constitution spoke to grocery store representatives about the local impact of the computer issue.
“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.”
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.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.