MS EBT benefits not accessible; affecting many families - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MS EBT benefits not accessible; affecting many families

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi residents state-wide began calling the WLBT newsroom Saturday stating they did not have access to their EBT (SNAP) benefits.

"This problem has nothing to do with the government shutdown. It's a computer glitch with a subcontractor with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the benefits for the month of October are still good. Now what happens after October is up for grabs if they don't end the shutdown," said MS Senator John Horhn.

EBT cards allow people to use funds issued through the SNAP program, commonly referred to as food stamps, to purchase approved goods.

According to Senator Horhn and a statement from Xerox that was tweeted from the Mississippi Department of Human Services' Twitter account, the failure that caused the problem has been fixed.

"They had a glitch in their system and the system went down in 17 states. I understand that the matter has been fixed, but it's gonna take a while to get the computers rebooted," Horhn said.

One Jackson mother is hoping to be able to go to the grocery store soon for her young son.

"He has milk to last so we're gonna make that last, but hopefully you know they do what they say they're gonna do and it's gonna be up. It affects us in a big way when we can't go to the store," said Jessica Tyson, EBT recipient.

The Mississippi Department of Human Services released this statement earlier on Saturday. "We have been informed that Xerox, the vendor for EBT cards, that services in many states including Mississippi for SNAP benefits had an equipment problem which caused cards to decline", said Julia Bryan, Office of Communications at the MS Department of Human Services said.

Earlier Saturday Mississippi Senator John Horhn issued a statement saying he'd been in contact with the Mississippi Department of Human Services officials and there was a computer failure at the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services impacting 17 states.

Horhn also said the glitch was also impacting unemployment insurance benefits.

Congressman Bennie Thompson (MS-02) also released a statement Saturday saying, "This morning I received reports that Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards have been rejected in Bolivar, Coahoma and Washington Counties. I am also informed that this problem has been caused by a vendor responsible for processing payments and not a result of the federal government shutdown. I am committed to alleviating this problem and am working to ensure Mississippians are protected."

Department of Human Services officials say the glitch has nothing to do with the government shutdown.

Horhn expects the system to be working by the end of the day.

Bryan said Mississippians can also stay informed by viewing the Mississippi Department of Human Services Facebook page and Twitter account.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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