Louisiana Official: Walmart Responsible To Pay For EBT Glitch Shopping Spree

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SHREVEPORT, La. (CBS Houston/AP) — It appears Louisiana Walmarts will be on the hook for the bill after a temporary glitch in the EBT system caused the food stamp cards to be limitless.

Walmart stores in Springhill and Mansfield were nearly emptied Saturday after shoppers who used EBT cards realized they had temporary unlimited balances, according to KSLA.

The stores will have to foot the bill because they should’ve implemented emergency procedures when the glitch happened, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services said.

“These businesses are only reimbursed for the benefits on the card, and they are completely responsible,” spokesperson Trey Williams told KSLA. “So if someone had $50 dollars on their card, and they spent $100, the retailer, in this case Walmart, would be on the hook for the other $50.”

Outside of Louisiana, 16 other states found themselves temporarily unable to use their food stamp debit-style cards on Saturday, after a routine test of backup systems by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a system failure. Xerox announced late in the evening that access has been restored for users in the 17 states affected by the outage, hours after the first problems were reported.

“Restarting the EBT system required time to ensure service was back at full functionality,” spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer said in an email. An emergency voucher process was available in some of the areas while the problems were occurring, she said.

U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Courtney Rowe underscored that the outage was not related to the government shutdown.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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