Food stamps electronic system outage resolved

Xerox officials said Sunday they had resolved a technical glitch that left those who use food stamps in Maryland and 16 other states without access to their benefits the day before.

The outage, which Xerox said was caused when the electronic benefits system temporarily shut down during a routine systems check, left many in Maryland and across the country unable to buy groceries for most of the day Saturday. Xerox has a contract with the federal government to administer the electronic benefits system. The company said the issue affected food stamps – formally known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program – and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

"We appreciate our clients' patience while we resolved this issue and apologize for any inconvenience," Xerox officials said in a statement. "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."

Another program, WIC, which provides food and nutrition benefits for pregnant women and women with young children, was also affected, Xerox officials said, though those using WIC did not get their benefits earlier this month due to the federal government shutdown.

Xerox said Saturday's problem had nothing to do with the federal government shutdown.

Officials did not elaborate on the source of the technical problems, which began around 11 a.m. on Saturday, and Maryland officials who help administer the benefit programs said the issue was completely resolved Saturday night.

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