10:16 p.m. (AP UPDATE)
Xerox Corp says access to food stamp sytems has been restored in 17 states that were affected by a temporary outage.
People in Ohio, Michigan and Texas were unable to use food stamp debit-style cards for hours on Saturday.
Xerox said a routine test of backup systems resulted in a temporary system failure.
Xerox Spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer said in an email that it took time to restore the system and make sure it was fully functional.
4:15 p.m. (AP update)
People in Ohio, Michigan and several other states found themselves unable to use their food stamp debit cards on Saturday, after a routine check by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a system failure. Shoppers from Maine to Oklahoma had to abandon baskets of groceries because they couldn't access their benefits.
Ohio's cash and food assistance card payment systems went down at 11 a.m., said Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Ohio's cash system has been fixed, however its electronic benefits transfer card system is still down. All states that use Xerox systems are affected by the outage.
Xerox spokeswoman Karen Arena confirmed via email Saturday afternoon that some EBT systems are experiencing temporary connectivity issues. She said technical staff is addressing the issue and expects the system to be restored soon.
We are getting reports of EBT cards not being accepted at some stores in southwest Virginia.
One store we talked to around 3 p.m. said some cards are working and others are not.
Other media outlets around the country are reporting similar problems.
Our NBC affiliate in Washington says the problems are not related to the government shutdown.
We are looking into the issue and will have more information when it becomes available.