(Pictured: Grocery stores and retailers are posting signs for shoppers about the Electronic Benefits Outage)

The Electronic Benefits Transfer system responsible for providing 50,000,000 Americans the means to put food on the table has crashed.

The outage is reportedly affecting at least sixteen states.

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Abandoned carts full of food were a frequent sight in grocery stores Saturday morning, as the EBT food assistance debit system stopped working without warning.

According to a Xerox spokesperson, a routine system check by the vendor resulted in system failure, leaving assistance recipients across the country with no way to buy food.

Xerox spokeswoman Karen Arena confirmed via email Saturday afternoon that some Electronic Benefits Transfer systems are experiencing temporary connectivity issues. She said technical staff is addressing the issue and expects the system to be restored soon. U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Courtney Rowe underscored that the outage is not related to the government shutdown. Xerox runs EBT card systems for 17 states and all were affected by the outage. (source)

Users of EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards in California, Ohio, Michigan and several other states are unable to make purchases due to connectivity issues.

But it gets worse…

Xerox is notifying retailers to revert to the manual system, meaning SNAP customers can spend up to $50 until the system is back online. SNAP recipients should call the 800 number on the back of their card, and Xerox will guide them through the purchase process. (source)

However, that system is not working either – it’s “closed for maintenance.”

Shoppers left carts of groceries behind at a packed Market Basket grocery store in Biddeford, Maine, because they couldn’t get their benefits, said fellow shopper Barbara Colman, of Saco, Maine. The manager put up a sign saying the EBT system was not in use. Colman, who receives the benefits, called an 800 telephone line for the program and it said the system was down due to maintenance, she said.

“That’s a problem. There’s a lot of families who are not going to be able to feed children because the system is being maintenanced,” Colman said. “No one should put maintenance in during the daytime.” (source)

Despite the fact that government workers report orders from the Obama administration to “make life as difficult for people as we can”, the nation is assured that the EBT failure is in fact due to server issues and NOT due to the government shutdown.

Hattip NinaO

If you ever wanted to know what the United States might look like and how people will react should the EBT system fail, then pay close attention

I go to the register and they ask me “how you going to pay.”

I said with food stamps.

“Oh, we’re shut down, you can’t pay with food stamps.”

I got kids to feed. You know?

And because the government’s down I can’t feed my family?

What’s going on with America? Now they trying to starve us to death?

…This is crazy

…I got six kids I have to feed.

I’m just trying to figure out how to get something to eat.


More from Zero Hedge via The Daily Sheeple:


— Jazmen Ashley (@jazmen04o25) October 12, 2013


@Creamteam_bitch: Government done shut down the #EBT cards in Ga… These folks going crazy in walmart lol”swearrrr

— J A N A E (@JanaeHudson) October 12, 2013


Walmart just made an announcement on the intercom that EBT for the state of Georgia is down…there are now full carts Left everywhere #awk

— Kelly gentry (@KellyKgentry23) October 12, 2013


EBT is down so Walmart is complete chaos right now, so glad I’m leaving in 2 hours

— Chelsey Oliveira (@chelseyoliveira) October 12, 2013


EBT down at walmart and MF going crazy!

— Lorena Bobbitt (@iNoUliKmYdReAdZ) October 12, 2013


I almost just killed some people at Walmart, EBT is apparently down today#madhouse

— cassidy davis (@cassEdav) October 12, 2013


Working at walmart while EBT is fucking up <<< I just might get shot today. Lol.

— . (@_KaylaJeann) October 12, 2013

This is six hours after the EBT system crashed.

It is reportedly a glitch that should be resolved soon, but what would happen if it doesn’t get resolved?

What if the system is down for 72 hours? How about 72 days?

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Via Daisy Luther:

This is your 72 hour warning. If you don’t already have a two week supply of food and water, now might be a good day to go stock up, just in case this is the beginning of a bigger crisis. The first three days after a major event are your window of opportunity to get prepared, based on the just-in-time food supply in grocery stores and the amount of food most people store in their homes.

If the EBT failure continues, look for the situation to get progressively worse.

We’ve warned about this being a real possibility because the EBT system is directly connected to the internet and any number of events could cause the system to completely crash including a cyber attack, a natural disaster or the national power grids going out of service.

Look how people are reacting on the day of. They are wholly unprepared for such an event.

If it were to go on for three days or more, we could have pandemonium in the streets as hungry, angry and panicked individuals rush grocery stores for resources… And once those are cleaned out, they’ll come for your home food storage.

Mac Slavo is the Editor of SHTFplan.com