EBT Outage Resolved After Computer Glitch
CLEVELAND — “Not Authorized” was the message people were receiving when they tried to use their food assistance benefits Saturday.
The computer glitch resulted in a lot of empty grocery store lines in Ohio and several other states.
Saturday was an emotional day for many people who tried to get food for their families at Dave’s Supermarket on Payne Avenue. The electronic system that processes what is often referred to as ‘food stamps’ was not working Saturday morning.
“How on earth am I going to feed my family and where am I going to get the money from to do it?” asked Dorothy Austin. “I have to feed my baby milk. How am I going to feed the baby milk when I don’t have nothing to give my child?”
Austin, like so many others, tried to use her Ohio EBT card, also known as the Ohio Direction Card, when shopping for groceries. However, a computer failure stopped the process.
A spokesperson for Xerox, which is a contractor for the program, said the problem wasn’t just in Ohio, but in several other states as well.
On Saturday, several aisles were empty at Dave’s Supermarket. Before shoppers filled up their carts, employees let them know about the situation.
“A lot of people just left their carts because there was nothing we could do,” said Burt Saltzman, who co-owns the store. “It’s tough on us, but it’s also tough on people looking forward to having a good meal.”
Saturday evening, Xerox announced that beneficiary access to the programs was restored to the 17 states where the company provides EBT services. The company said that restarting the system required time to ensure service was fully functional and they are taking steps to ensure a similar interruption does not happen again.
Many people were concerned the issue was related to the government shutdown. However, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said that was not the case.