Xerox Corp. says that access to food stamp systems has been restored in 17 states that were affected by a temporary outage, including Michigan.
Some people in federal food programs were denied purchases with their debit-style cards because of technical problems on Saturday.
David Akerly, a spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, says it appeared to be a problem between retailers and the company that provided high-tech services.
The federal program is commonly known as food stamps, although transactions are performed electronically in Michigan with a card called the Bridge Card. Xerox told retailers to record sales by hand if possible.
The system vendor for the 17 states, Xerox-ACS, issued the following statement about the problem Saturday afternoon.
"During a routine test of our back-up systems Saturday morning, Xeroxâ??s Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system experienced a temporary shutdown," said Kevin Lightfoot, Vice President at Xerox Corporate Communications. "While the system is now up and running, beneficiaries in the 17 affected states continue to experience connectivity issues to access their benefits. This disruption impacts EBT beneficiaries who rely on the system for SNAP and WIC...."
Tom's Food Market and Meijer in Traverse City reported they also experienced the technical difficulties. An employee at Tom's says they were able to allow customers to use their EBT cards manually.
A United States Department of Agriculture said this issue was not related to the government shutdown.