SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The multi-state outage that prevented more than 900,000 people here in Massachusetts from buying groceries or making any transactions using their SNAP-EBT benefits card has been corrected.
Matt Kitsos, the Director of Communication for the state Department of Transitional Assistance told 22News the nationwide outage stemmed from a technical problem at a Xerox facility in Dallas, Texas. Xerox is vendor that runs EBT card systems in 16 states.
This outage is not due to the government shutdown, but it put many people here in western Massachusetts into a panic.
Michel Vazquez Valentine told 22News, “How am I going to feed my kids. It's a problem. I've been watching the news. Government is shut down. Fuel assistance is not working any more. So they are not going to have any money to give to the homes.”
“I can't even get my balance when I call. There's no warning or anything on any of the websites saying that food stamps have been shut down or any of that,” said Ryan Macfarland of Holyoke.
“People have kids to feed. It's not something to play around and joke around. It's very serious, especially to me as a single parent, I've got two kids to take care of. It's not like I want to be on assistance. But I choose to take care of my kids first,” said Gissell Morgan of Holyoke.
The outage affects purchases in stores and ATM transactions. Many stores activated an emergency voucher system that allows them to enter the transactions now that the system has been restored.
Here's a portion of a statement that Jennifer Wasmer of Xerox sent to 22News:
"We appreciate our clients' patience while we resolved this issue and apologize for any inconvenience. We realize that access to these benefits is important to families in the states we serve. We continue to investigate the cause of the issue so we can take steps to ensure a similar interruption does not re-occur."