VIRGINIA (WAVY) - The Electronic Benefit Transfer system malfunctioned across Virginia and several other states Saturday, but service was restored by around 10 p.m.
Shoppers could not use their food stamps for much of Saturday, as a result.
WAVY.com called grocery stores all over the area, and found the EBT system was down everywhere.
"It's just frustrating how I've been to several different stores right in around to get groceries for my family," said Jessica Perkins, an EBT customer.
Perkins has five kids she was grocery shopping for Saturday. Perkins went to Farm Fresh, Save-A-Lot, and Food Lion before figuring out she could use her EBT card at WalMart. Perkins said she could only use the $50 at a time.
"I just thank God that I have some type of provisions," she explained.
At least 17 states were impacted by the EBT issue, including Oklahoma, Louisiana, Maryland, and Michigan.
According to Sheree Powell, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, the EBT system failure was the result of a power outage at a Xerox facility. Powell said Xerox is the vendor for the EBT systems in many states.
Xerox released the following statement around 10:30 p.m., saying access to the EBT programs had been restored:
"Beneficiary access to programs such as SNAP, TANF, and other programs has been restored to the 17 States where Xerox provides EBT service. Re-starting the EBT system required time to ensure service was back at full functionality. Beneficiaries who required immediate access to their benefits could work with their local merchants who could activate an emergency voucher process where available. 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."
According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the problem was not connected to the government shutdown:
"EBT cards in a number of states have temporarily stopped working today due to a technical issue that the vendor that serves these states is experiencing. The vendor is working to fix this issue and EBT cards will work again once it is resolved. This issue is not related to the government shutdown."
Perkins said the entire situation is confusing because she was never made aware there was a problem. She also said she called the phone number on the back of her EBT card and couldn't get through.
Xerox said you can work with the grocery store to activate an emergency voucher system.
Virginia State Police say a Chesapeake teenager died in a crash in Franklin County Saturday morning.
The art of making jewelry is helping some Norfolk students learn independence and job skills.
The suicide of a 16-year-old Gloucester girl has led a community to speak up about bullying.