Food stamp recipients
in 17 states lost access to the electronic system used by stores
to verify their benefits on Saturday, leaving many unable to buy
groceries, the company that manages the system said.
People enrolled in the government food assistance program
use plastic vouchers similar to debit cards. Starting at about
11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), some of those cards stopped working,
Xerox spokesman Kevin Lightfoot said.
A power outage that started the problem was fixed within 20
minutes, Lightfoot said, but shoppers continued to run into
difficulties throughout the day. By early evening, the problem
still had not been fixed.