Saturday, October 12, 2013

EBT Down in 17 States Today

Cuts Coming To Florida Food Stamps On November 1st

 

Purchases with Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards (also known as Food Stamps) were shutdown in 17 states temporarily on Saturday morning, October 12, 2013.


"During a routine test of our back-up systems Saturday morning, Xerox’s Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system experienced a temporary shutdown," Xerox stated in a release today.  "While the system is now up and running, beneficiaries in the 17 affected states continue to experience connectivity issues to access their benefits. This disruption impacts EBT beneficiaries who rely on the system for SNAP and WIC." 

Xerox added that their technical staff "is addressing the issue and expect the system to be restored soon. Beneficiaries requiring access to their benefits can work with their local retailers who can activate an emergency voucher system where available."


Florida was not affected by the EBT outage because the Sunshine State uses a company other than Xerox for its EBT payment processing. Florida did have an EBT blackout on September 16, 2013 when it switched to the new vendor.


However, benefit payments for the Florida food stamp program are projected to end on October 31st, 2013 due to lack of federal funding caused by the U.S. government shut down.


A State of Florida budget analysis performed for the Florida Senate stated that federal funding for Florida’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) expired with the rest of the farm bill on September 30, 2013.  To bridge this funding gap, the federal Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will use its authority under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to continue operations and benefit payments to Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards (also known as Food Stamps) only through October 31, 2013. 


Federal funding for cash payments to welfare recipients, known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), also expired September 30, 2013.  The Florida Senate budget analysis stated that this program now lacks federal authorization and funding.


According to the recent U.S. Government revised data from SNAP, the number of Floridians on food stamps was 3,568,672 in June 2013, a 4.4% increase compared to June 2012. Florida food stamp enrollment grew at twice the national rate (2.3%) for the same time period.



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