Bridge Card system not working

By Joanne Marie Hoopes, ClickOnDetroit.com writer
Published On: Dec 24 2013 11:01:48 AM EST
Updated On: Oct 13 2013 08:10:16 PM EDT

AP

DETROIT -

The Local 4 newsroom has been flooded with calls and emails from people reporting problems with their EBT Food stamps.

Michigan residents in the federal food program are reporting problems with their debit-style cards.

Viewers have called to say they attempted to use their Bridge Card but the system is not working and they are left unable to purchase groceries.

The federal program is still commonly known as food stamps but most transactions are now performed electronically.

Local 4 contacted the Michigan Department of Human Services about the problem.

David Akerly, a spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, says the issues stem from a system problem on the retailer's end.

Akerly says it appears the problem is between retailers and Xerox-ACS. which provides IT services. He says the issues are widespread but says DHS is working to correct the problem quickly.

Similar issues have been reported in 17 other states Saturday after a routine check by Xerox resulted in the system failure.

Shoppers from Maine to Oklahoma had to abandon baskets of groceries because they couldn't access their benefits.

Xerox is the IT vendor for the EBT systems for many states. All states that use Xerox have been 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.

In a statement the company said, "During a routine test of our back-up systems Saturday morning,  Xerox’s Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system experienced a temporary shutdown. 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. 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. We appreciate our clients’ patience while we work through this outage as quickly as possible."

The issue is not related to the government shutdown.

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