UPDATE: Food stamp debit cards should be available for use again Monday.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Thousands of Americans were shocked Saturday when they could not buy their groceries using their food stamp debit cards.
A routine check by vendor Xerox Corporation resulted in a system failure. The loss of the cards was felt around the nation.
Tyesha Gray is a mother of four and worries what will happen if her card stays off-line for much longer.
“Not being able to get my kids what they need was pretty hard. And then to wake up to it, to be able to use it yesterday and I can’t use it today doesn’t make any sense to me.” She said.
Xerox is notifying retailers to go to the manual system, meaning SNAP customers can spend up to $50 until the system is back online. SNAP recipients should call the 800 number on the back of the card, and Xerox will guide them through the purchase process.
Gray called the customer service number on the back of her card and got a recorded message saying they were temporarily unable to access her account and to call again at a later time. “Oh I’m going to need them to fix it because, you know, people do have to eat.” Gray said. “It’s kind of terrible.”
Sheree Powell, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, said that some grocery store cashiers had been speculating that the federal government’s shutdown caused the problem, but state officials have been assured that is not the case.