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NEW ORLEANS - Shoppers trying to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, cards to purchase food are being turned away by retailers across several states due to an outage, according to a spokeswoman with the Louisiana Department of Children and Family services.
The issue is with the contractor, Xerox, and is not related to the federal government shutdown, according to Lindsey deBlieux, Public Information Director with the DCFS.
Xerox Corp. has told the state that the problem is a "degradation issue," and they're working to fix it. The company said it happened after a routine check resulted in a system failure. Xerox said the outage may need to be repaired in sections, and that there no timeline for when the system will be back up and running.
Shoppers from Maine to Oklahoma had to abandon baskets of groceries because they couldn't access their benefits.
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. Ohio's cash system has been fixed, however its electronic benefits transfer card system is still down. All states that use Xerox systems are affected by the outage.
Xerox spokeswoman Karen Arena confirmed via email Saturday afternoon that some EBT systems are experiencing temporary connectivity issues. She said technical staff is addressing the issue and expects the system to be restored soon.
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