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Food Stamp Debit Cards Not Working in 17 States

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: Food Stamp debit cards, Electronic Benefits Transfer systems, (EBT), connectivity issues, Xerox Corp., 17 states affected, government shutdown unrelated, people frightened/angry )

- 1686 days ago -
People in 17 states found themselves unable to buy groceries with their food stamp debit-style cards Saturday after a routine check by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a system failure.

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JL A (281)
Saturday October 12, 2013, 4:25 pm
What was supposed to improve the system has rendered it unable to do what is intended and families will be going without food this weekend.

Sheila D (194)
Saturday October 12, 2013, 4:31 pm
Wish they would have just listed all of the states affected. Sad to think that people may not get enough to eat because of this. That doesn't mean the system istself is bad, but possibly that Xerox has problems it had better address and fix ASAP - and fix in a way that it doesn't happen again.

Barbara K (60)
Saturday October 12, 2013, 5:31 pm
Geez, like these poor people don't already have enough problems. I hope this wasn't some hacking job. Thanks for the forward, JL

Jason S (50)
Saturday October 12, 2013, 8:55 pm
Good posting, thanks

Judy C (97)
Saturday October 12, 2013, 9:52 pm
Thanks for the comments, folks, and to J.L. for passing the information on. There was no mention about this in the MSM that I could find anywhere until the evening network news, where a brief story said it looked like a computer glitch. I guess people were mostly finding out when they got to the cash register with their groceries, and they couldn't pay. What if you did this, and had hungry children?

I couldn't get online until this evening, when I posted this article, and there was still very little information on this topic. A LOT of people are on Food Stamps, and one would think there would be more publicity about this. Like most people, I thought it was related to the govt. shutdown. It's a good thing people didn't start rioting.

The first I heard was a morning call to C-SPAN Washington Journal from a caller in Louisiana who said their EBT balance was erroneously 0, and that their website was completely down, without explanation. Then in the afternoon one of my friends' sisters called, saying there were no funds on anyone's EBT cards in Iowa.

AP is reporting that the problem is fixed now. They list the states affected, Sheila, but they only seem to add up to 16 if I'm counting right: Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia are listed.

Wanting to take formula and food from babies and children, or elderly and disabled people is sickening. Now on Twitter and other places there are a gazillion evil and hateful comments by Right-Wingers on the subject of Food Stamps, of course.

Laurie H (817)
Saturday October 12, 2013, 10:49 pm
This is terrible news----people are suffering enough. Thank you for sharing this Judy~~~

JL A (281)
Sunday October 13, 2013, 6:48 am
Thanks for the update Judy--I'll be letting the people with my local food closet know this morning since CA is on the list. I encourage anyone with connections to a church or other direct services organization serving people in poverty in these 17 states to let them know and be prepared to act to help fill in this safety net gap

Past Member (0)
Sunday October 13, 2013, 8:24 am
It is all about government control. Get them dependent on the government so they can control you and they will. I believe this is going to get worse.

Judy C (97)
Sunday October 13, 2013, 9:18 pm
I agree, Laurie. Times are hard enough without something like this.

Thanks for passing this information, J.L.

Debbie, I'm not sure I uderstand your comment. Once upon a time in America, the People were the government. Elected officials were their representatives. They were public servants, or at least tried to look like they were. Changes in our system have led to a corrupt state of affairs where the corporations, big banks, and elites buy the government, and are the government. Public officials operate in their interest, rather than that of the People. Our system nurtures and expands inequality in wealth distribution. Is this how you feel people are being made dependent on government?

People are on public assistance for a variety of reasons. Some lost jobs, homes, access to health and mental health care, and their way of life in the economic meltdown of the past several years. Wages have not kept up at all with increases in cost of living. There are growing numbers of people who work one or even more jobs, and are unable to make enough money to meet basic subsistence expenses. A majority who are on assistance are infants, children, elderly, or disabled individuals who cannot be made dependent on help. They already are.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Monday October 14, 2013, 11:23 am
Well, the system is up again now and at least one merchant is honoring advertised discounts past their advertised expiration for the recipients. (How much do you want the bet the banks issuing the cards still managed to collect a fee for each failed attempt?)

Past Member (0)
Monday October 14, 2013, 2:44 pm
Thanks Judy for correct information

Stardust Noel (38)
Monday October 14, 2013, 2:47 pm
I agree with Debbie S! It is going to get worse!

Lois Jordan (63)
Monday October 14, 2013, 4:24 pm
Noted. The only article on this I saw earlier today stated that people in LA were "overspending" at WalMart on their cards because it didn't show the recent purchases, so people were abusing the cards and buying loads of stuff. I thought I read it on Huff Post, but not positive. This article certainly presents a clearer picture to me, so thanks for posting, Judy.
And, thanks to Joanne (above) for mentioning that the banks collect fees when these cards are used. I've been seeing red since I learned that! Profiting even more off those most in need. Disgusting!

Kathleen R (138)
Monday October 14, 2013, 4:25 pm
Read & noted. That is terrible for everybody.

Dot A (182)
Monday October 14, 2013, 4:33 pm

Michael M (5)
Monday October 14, 2013, 6:26 pm
How do you go from making photocopiers to handling debit card transactions?

reft h (66)
Monday October 14, 2013, 9:53 pm
Wow. Thanks to technology, people could starve.

Ganaisha Calvin (7)
Monday October 14, 2013, 10:46 pm
thanks for sharing

Sheryl G (360)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 12:34 am
More and more technology is being placed into our lives and when something goes wrong then it places us at it's mercy. Of all times this had to happen while everyone is up tight with the Governmental shutdown. I'm glad they got it fixed quickly but couldn't they have done their testing in the nighttime and not during the day when people were shopping.

Karen Chestney (112)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 4:09 am
Thank-you for this article. The person who unthinkingly ran a maintenance program in the morning should be fired for "stupidity" unthinking error in judgement that caused many...many people to go hungry that day. There are people who "live" day to day...who can not get to a store "just any time". have to depend on others or public transportation. Just going to a food store is a problem that can cost extra $$$. This was a BAD thing & even cruel.

Winn A (179)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 6:12 am
Wow, so many affected for the want of reliable technology and human error. This certainly didn't have to happen and to the people most vulnerable in our society no less.

John Coleman (18)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 6:42 am
And many "progressives" want the Feds to "give" them their "free" health care via "single payer" so just wait until you are in the ER with a life threatening immediate emergency and he system that "permits the doctor to give you treatment" is down. No sense of urgency with your government overlords unless it benefits them.

Sheryl G (360)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 8:26 am
Yes, John, so off the mark you are.....again. If you READ the article it was Xerox, a Private For Profit Company that works in a Capitalistic system that caused the cards not to work. Maybe if it WAS being done by well paid and hard working Governmental employees, which by the way are also members of the United States, you know your neighbors, friends, so on so forth, that PAID taxes as well, it might not of happened.

Sheryl G (360)
Tuesday October 15, 2013, 8:29 am
Also John, as happens today, with people with other types of medical insurance if their card does not work, a person under the Affordable Care Act will be treated the same. A true emergency is treated then they figure out the clerical problem later.

You are so bloody worried about the government overlords but fail to see the Corporate overlords. In this case it was a Private not Government agency that caused a glitch.

Judy C (97)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 10:52 pm
Thanks, everyone. This glitch was a mess, and caused a lot of needless suffering and worry. I hope that this kind of thing is handled better in the future. The testing was poorly timed, and choice of a time and method for this needs to be made more intelligently. Some way to communicate technical problems to grocery vendors and customers is needed. Some states allow grocery stores to process some sales manually when the system malfunctions.

It really bothers me that there was no publicity available to inform people of what was happening. It is sad that the poor are ignored, or even hated. They do not have much power in the marketplace, so in this profit-driven world, they fall by the wayside. This disempowerment extends to the news media. Our treatment of the poor does not fit in well with the notion that many would like to believe, that we are a Christian society.

Dandelion, thanks for pointing out to John the folly of having faith in Corporate rule! Propagandists have done a great job of of demonizing government, as it begins to be used as if it were a dirty word. People have swallowed this B.S. whole, to the point of bias against their own self-interest, and extending a carte blanche for corporations to trample all over us. This is so irrational!

When health care decisions are being made by business people with a primary motive of making a profit, we can't expect good results. Insurance companies are parasitic and unnecessary. No system is perfect and flawless, but single payer is still the best possible system.

Judy C (97)
Wednesday October 16, 2013, 10:56 pm
Oh yes, I forgot to say to Joanne, thanks for pointing out those processing fees! I hadn't heard about those, and most people probably haven't, either.

John Coleman (18)
Thursday October 17, 2013, 7:05 am
Dandelion: Government systems are usually contracted for private companies to develop and/or run as is the alleged "Patient Protection and Affordable Care{" Act system is. Huge cost overruns and it doesn't work. BTW, the contract went to a Canadian Company so the money didn't even "trickle down" in the US economy. Medicare also is actually serviced by a private company that contracts with CMS so your point is moot!. What you are overlooking is under ObamaNoCare and even existing government medical care systems like Medicare/Medicaid/VA/etc you have one entity managing everything which is not true with private insurance plans and my comment was directed at a single payer system if you are able to read and comprehend after your "free" government education. Apparently you are very happy being a slave to the government whose political and bureaucratic minions don't even want to play by the dictates that they demand YOU live by! Medical insurance today is provided by a combination of self insurers, non profit companies, for profit companies, group plans via a variety of associations including fraternal/ associations/etc, so the rules vary on review but don't think that the current government "loans" don't deny services as well. Of course most of those private arrangements go away under ObamaNoCare nor is there any review like their is in the current private market.

Sheryl G (360)
Thursday October 17, 2013, 9:35 am
No my point isn't moot, when we use to have Government employees run our Government programs that DID keep the monies in our own economies. Now that the push has been for many years to "privatize" things contracts are going out to private firms be they Canada or elsewhere. Which means we have lost a lot of jobs by doing this and we do not have the Government employees who LIVED here in the USA working and paying taxes to our own local, State, and Federal levels.

We don't have a Single payer system John, we have the program that the REPUBLICANS formulated in the conjunction with Private Health Companies. The FIRST place it was tried was in Massachusetts that Mitt Romeny a Republican Governor set up and is often times referred to as Romney Care.

So I don't expect great results with the Affordable Care Act, it IS NOT what I'd want John, although you seem to think I'm delighted with it. I think it will be a bit better than what exists now for many people who can't get medical insurance at all, if offers them the ability to get something, protects those with pre-existing conditions from being turned away, and doesn't give one a lifetime cap.

It allows people to leave dead end jobs that have only stayed due to their medical insurance, it allows people to start a business and leave their job that they were tied to only for the medical insurance. So there is some good things under the Affordable Care Act, but is it what I'd want, no. I was in the Single Payer camp or those who wanted a true Universal Health Care program, that everyone else in the world has that are developed to a civilized Country, you know like Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and the list is endless because WE are the only ones who are not part of this Universal Health system. That works well in other Countries, has raised their life expectancy and no one goes bankrupt over medical bills which is the #1 reason in our Country for going bankrupt.

My Government education, meaning Public Schools was not "free" but paid for by the taxpayers of this Nation and was one of the Great Equalizers. Hence why you and I can read John, unless your parents chose to send you to a private school. What, should we go back to everyone having to pay for a private education for their children again, so we can be back to where it use to be in this Country when only those who were rich enough could afford to send their children to school?

I'm a slave no more or no less than you are, which all of us are slaves to a point within the systems that are set up. That the Corporate Overlords, the Bankers, have rigged this system by paying for high priced lobbyist and then actually funding their mouthpieces to end up in Government seats, yes, Government has been taken over with corruption. But that doesn't mean we get rid of the Government, that means we get the money out of the Government in rigged elections, we get the lobbyist out of the Government, we get election reform placed in so it isn't taking millions upon millions to become elected whereby only a tiny little percentage of the wealthy can have sway over our Government.

Remember the Government IS THE PEOPLE John, it is suppose to represent all of us, it hasn't done that as it is too busy representing the Oligarchy. That does need to change, but you don't throw the baby out with the bath water you fix it and elect those who work for US ALL not just the 1%. That too many have been taken in by the Corporate hype, by a Corporate media machine, where the likes of people like the Koch Brothers and such has done a great job causing a good many of the masses to turn upon themselves rather than seeing a strong Government for US is the only United force we had against the Oligarchy.

With the constant taking apart of our protections we now have a more Laissez-faire system we are suffering under it. It doesn't work for the masses it never has, because those with wealth and power do not play well with the rest of society.

Human conditions like greed get in the way, people do not play fair, and it is seen over and over again when more restrictions or regulations are lifted. There has to be a balance and for a few years, that balance had been met, which was after the Great Depression to the 1970's when these protections little by little began to be dismantled to what we had with the crash in 2008.

In full disclosure I did not vote for Obama nor did I vote for Bush either, I've been a lifelong Independent voter and a thinker, which certainly allows me as a free thinker to be less of a slave than those who spew their Parties lines all the time, be they Republican or Democrats. So I'm wondering who is more of the slave?
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