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Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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State won't cover bad EBT purchases

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BATON ROUGE - The state of Louisiana said today they would not be paying retailers affected by a glitch which removed spending limits on food stamp EBT cards over the weekend.

The state Department of Children and Family Services said they would only cover the amount the cards, called SNAP cards, should have paid. If someone had $50 on their card but bought $200 worth of merchandise, for instance, the state would only honor $50 of the purchase.

"Unfortunately some retailers chose not to follow that procedure and continue issuing transactions and conducting transactions storing those transactions until the system came back on electronically," Trey Williams, a DCFS spokesperson, said.

The state said the company they outsourced the EBT system to, Xerox, is to blame for the problem, which affected cards in 16 other states Saturday. Xerox said the electronic benefits system experienced a temporary shutdown Saturday during a routine test of the company's backup systems, which kept the system offline for about eight hours.

The issue kept many people from using their cards, but some retailers were still allowing people to make purchases even though the cards showed no limits. That led one major retailer in Ascension Parish to close more than an hour early, and call for sheriff's deputies to clear customers out of the store.

"Fortunately we have safeguards in place and those safeguards worked and it's up to the retailers to cover those additional expenses," Williams said.

DCFS said they would work with law enforcement and retailers to track down anyone who spent more money than they were allowed, which could lead to a loss of benefits.

 

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