EBT card problem has local impact

Travis Highfield/ Staff
Sign posted on the door of the 15th Street Kroger Saturday alerts customers of the EBT problem
Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 2:51 PM
Last updated Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 10:15 AM
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The electronic system that allows welfare recipients to buy food with their benefits went down across Georgia and elsewhere on Saturday, including at stores in Augusta.
The Electronic Benefits Transfer system that lets people spend their Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program benefits with payment cards was reportedly repaired late Saturday.

The effects of the EBT outage -- blamed on a technical problem that had nothing to do with the government shudown -- were felt in Augusta on Saturday, as some welfare recipients feared they would not be able to eat for a night.

Angelo Bates, 41, said he rode his bike more than two miles to Kroger on 15th Street before stopping short at the doors. Taped to the door was a neon pink sign that read, “Our EBT system is currently down!”

“I don’t believe it,” Bates said. “I came down here to get some groceries, but now I might have to go a day without eating.”

Bates said he makes the trip to Kroger at least once a week. He said the money on his EBT card is important because he has no other way to pay for food, he said.

“There are a lot of people out there who need that money,” he said. “I don’t spend it on anything else except for groceries. I guess it’s just one of those things. I don’t know what to do in the meantime.”

Easter Davis, 68, of Augusta, pushed an empty cart up to the store before she saw the sign. She said she walked more than three miles to the store to pick up groceries for the next two weeks.

She has been using an EBT card for more than four years and usually spends about $250 each trip, she said.

“I had no idea there was a problem,” she said. “I’ve never had something like this happen before. I don’t have much of a choice except to wait it out.”

Comments (47) Add comment
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fishman960
1420
Points
fishman960 10/12/13 - 03:19 pm
10
7
No fear

It's Bush's fault!!!!

IBeDogGone
2862
Points
IBeDogGone 10/12/13 - 03:42 pm
15
10
Yes fishman you are Right!

Bush should have had his IT department prepared, guess there will be no rib-eyes tonight in Cherry Tree Crossing.

just an opinion
2321
Points
just an opinion 10/12/13 - 03:52 pm
12
7
Yes Yes Yes

Leave it off. It will force them to go to work Monday morning like the rest of us!!!

nocnoc
37208
Points
nocnoc 10/12/13 - 05:44 pm
11
4
Wow! will people strave or call the 800# ?

But 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,

I hope Xerox gets its act together if this is a HACK, like a buddy told me.

I would hate this to turn out to be some WAG The DOG stunt. A way
to make low information voters think the SHUTDOWN caused it?

Because here we are talking about kids and babies.
I honestly would hope, no American political party
stoop low for political power.

IBeDogGone
2862
Points
IBeDogGone 10/12/13 - 06:20 pm
12
6
PARKING

I went to get some neckbones today, my special treat on my budget for Monday only Meat Night and I was able to park my 65 pinto right up at the door. There wasn't a Hummer, Caddie, Lexus or Mercedes in the lot.

specsta
6046
Points
specsta 10/12/13 - 07:51 pm
5
10
@IBeDogGone

It is very evident by your comments that you have no clue how SNAP benefits work. Or what the qualifications are for recipients. There is no one on SNAP driving a luxury car or eating Kobe beef. That is a lie concocted by the heartless, right-wing propaganda machine.

Most recipients are surviving on about $4.50/day for food. Most other folks would have no idea how to survive on that amount, but millions of Americans have no other choice. Most recipients are children. Many are elderly, disabled or unemployed. SNAP is the only means of sustenance for many people, and to belittle the fact that people are in need of help is beyond despicable.

fishman960
1420
Points
fishman960 10/12/13 - 08:00 pm
15
2
EBT

I hate to disagree with the previous comment but I will. When I was working for a major retailer, one of the things "people" were buying with their "benefit" was 10 lb boxes of snow crab legs. Some would buy lobster tails valued at $14.99 lb. Another thing bought were $21.99 lb King Crab Legs. one of the biggest abuses of the system included having these things steamed before purchase. That led to a change in how the items were rung up. now all food items have a code that tells the computer if that item is EBT eligible. Anyone here that is a cashier at a grocer can verify that!

specsta
6046
Points
specsta 10/13/13 - 12:27 am
5
11
Learn To Budget

@fisherman960

There are people with well-paying jobs who are irresponsible when it comes to purchases. Maybe all their money is spent by the weekend, on booze and cigarettes or gambling.

Irresponsibility when it comes to money is not limited to socioeconomic status. Some people don't know how to budget.

However, SNAP benefits can't be used for pre-prepared hot food items; so your "retailer" was breaking the law if they were selling steamed crab legs for SNAP payment.

fishman960
1420
Points
fishman960 10/12/13 - 08:37 pm
12
2
Rebuttal

The changes in how things were rung at the register was due to abuse by the customers.
Call any grocery retailer and ask them. You are shifting the blame to the merchants which is totally wrong.
Not all folks that are on EBT are frauds, but abuse was rampant in the system. That is why they did away from the paper money and went to the cards.
Now I'm not going to argue with you know it all's. But before you go around blaming grocers (and there are a few abuses there) realize that they have a whole lot to lose if they were to lose their eligibility to participate in the system. A major retailer does not want that on their record.
But like I said, if you don't believe me, call any major retailer here in Augusta and ask them.
Prior to roughly seven years ago, yes EBT COULD be fraudulently used by customers!

vegasbaby
150
Points
vegasbaby 10/12/13 - 09:13 pm
12
2
Taxpayers not getting their money's worth

I am sure there are some people who gratefully and prudently use their ebt/food stamp funds to buy food for themselves or their family, but I have seen use of these cards at gas station stores to basically buy junk food. After the Yoo Hoo (probably the most nutritious thing bought), and chips and donuts, and such were bought, it totaled $29 plus. I was thinking what I would try to buy if I was down on my luck and someone gave me $30 for food. I would try to stretch my food dollars to last for more that just a night's snack. I was thinking this week. Provide food (not cards) at the National Parks, to be given out after a good day's work cleaning and maintaining our landmarks.

Darby
22974
Points
Darby 10/12/13 - 09:17 pm
16
3
"There is no one on SNAP driving a luxury car or

eating Kobe beef."

.
As always, Specsta says what he WISHES THE TRUTH TO BE.

In any event, I do sympathize with the 2 or 3 percent of those who really need the help.

The rest of those deadbeats can kiss my grits. They are just being paid in advance to vote Democrat.

fishman960
1420
Points
fishman960 10/12/13 - 09:29 pm
14
0
Eligibility

To meet eligibility requirements for Govt assistance, one must meet certain guidelines.
That is true. Frauds have figured that out and they know how to work the system. One check on the Lifelink system will tell you that.
Govt welfare is out of control, from TARP, to farm subsidies, to foreign aid.
Snap and EBT is only a small amount of what consists of abuse.
But it is there. And sadly, the ones abusing the system are the ones that are making it harder for actual poor recipients of the program to get what they rightfully deserve based on why the program was designed.

bclicious
596
Points
bclicious 10/12/13 - 09:46 pm
5
7
AWWWWWW

Tear; sniffle, sniffle.

Blasphemy
90
Points
Blasphemy 10/12/13 - 09:46 pm
11
3
Don't worry,

they'll just pullout the wad of cash they didn't have to spend on all the other things for which we pay for them - unless they spent it on wheels for their 1970s Chevys.

InChristLove
22407
Points
InChristLove 10/12/13 - 10:36 pm
11
1
Fine Specsta's $4.50 a/day a little understated.

Although I'm sure it is not as plentiful as some think it is, I still find specsta's $4.50 a/day comment a little far-fetched. Easter Davis stated she shops for two weeks at a time and spends about $250.00 each trip, that calculates out to about $17.86 a day (for a 14 day span). It's still not much but not a dire as $4.50 a day exaggeration.

sugarbutton
522
Points
sugarbutton 10/12/13 - 10:52 pm
5
5
I would be more than willing

I would more than willing to share my food for any hungry child I know about and happy to do it. I've been on the other end of the spectrum when my two grown children were small and for most of their young life I was on my own. I got $116 dollars and had a trailer payment and a car payment and paid daycare, car insurance, utilities and barely managed. I was so thankful for WIC vouchers so we'd have milk and cereal for them at least in the mornings. If you haven't been on that end then shut up. I've been very blessed since then and done all I can to help others. It's the right thing for me to do. Do what you will, that's between y'all and God, but as for me and mine I'm thankful to be able to make ends meet....and nobody is going hungry if I have a say in it.

All you making your nasty little judgements....have you ever worried about where your childrens next meal was coming from? Honestly? God help you sad sacks who judge others when you don't have a clue about most of them.

fishman960
1420
Points
fishman960 10/12/13 - 10:55 pm
13
2
Assessment

ICL, you are accurate to a degree.
BUT and I do say BUT there are those that get that 3-500 hundred a month and go spend frivolously. I have seen it OVER and OVER.
They have money. They have Iphone5's. They do the mani pedi thing. They have funds for nice clothes and electronics and other things. They buy 100+ dollar whole Ribeyes.
The point is they DO NOT NEED to budget because they have the money to make up the difference.
It happens. Anyone that disagrees has their head in the sand or are misrepresenting the facts!

JRC2024
7718
Points
JRC2024 10/12/13 - 11:20 pm
10
0
I have been to the Crab King

I have been to the Crab King on Milledgeville Rd. many times and stood in line bad because I paid cash for my crab legs and shrimp which was a treat and the people before and after me were paying with EBT cards and I know because I saw the cards. So no tears from me for people like that. I do haowever feel sorry for those that are disabled. They should receive help. Benifits they are not because they are not earned thru hard work.

ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 10/12/13 - 11:46 pm
8
0
If one is really down on

If one is really down on their luck, they deserve food stamps. Back when grocery stores had full service, and I was a bagboy, I saw food stamp abuse first hand. If one does think the finer foods were purchased with food stamps and loaded into luxury automobiles, and that was 36 years ago, and the same thing still goes on today, I have got some stories to tell you all. That was back when food stamps were issued in paper form in a tear out booklet, and the food stamp recipient had to hand the booklet to the cashier and the cashier had to tear out the proper amount. So there was really no shame back then.

fishman960
1420
Points
fishman960 10/12/13 - 11:52 pm
13
1
Good grief

Raging, what is stopping a recipient from seeking an individual and making a deal for 50% cash for groceries. All they have to do is go shopping with the recipient and pick out what they want. Then the recipient pays for it with their card and away they go.
What makes y'all think this sort of thing doesn't happen still? Because of a card? It happens! All the time!!!

Casting_Fool
1048
Points
Casting_Fool 10/13/13 - 12:30 am
16
0
What I'm curious about is how

What I'm curious about is how Easter Davis walks 3 miles to the store and carries $250.00 worth of groceries back to her house. Just wondering...

specsta
6046
Points
specsta 10/13/13 - 12:32 am
2
8
@ICL

Ms. Davis does not specify how many people are in her household.

Individuals are given approximately $4.50 day to eat.

LeConteSkier
463
Points
LeConteSkier 10/13/13 - 12:50 am
12
3
Yeah keep EBT running but

Yeah keep EBT running but CLOSE all the National Parks during Fall PEAK Season where TAXPAYERS have planned their vacations for MONTHS!?!!? A thing called a JOB as well as peak leaf season keeps us from simply rescheduling our trips! Do without your EBT and join the rest of us waiting on the Government to get their act together. I say keep this sorry excuse for a Government shut down and start a new one! One that RESPECTS working Americans! I'm not trying to be an insensitive butt whole as there are plenty of food banks and Salvation Army shelters that will take care of you if you are truly starving and the 5% that really need this that sucks but for the other 95% that mooches off the Government for free hand outs, you will survive. Most of the 95% that could work that are on food stamps are obese meaning they don't do without.

fishman960
1420
Points
fishman960 10/13/13 - 12:54 am
11
1
@Specsta

I agree with the assessment of how much legitimate recipients get. And that is pretty accurate for the ones that follow the rules of the system correctly.
Only a percentage are abusing the system. But they are. Flagrantly. And that my friend is what is "despicable" to use your phrase.

KSL
118573
Points
KSL 10/13/13 - 01:52 am
15
1
Hey, specsta Why does a 68

Hey, specsta

Why does a 68 year old have any dependants other than a spouse? My mother is not dependent on me. Nor are my children.

Little Lamb
43350
Points
Little Lamb 10/13/13 - 06:02 am
13
0
Conjecture

Travis Highfield reported:

. . . as some welfare recipients feared they would not be able to eat for a night. . . . now I might have to go a day without eating. . . . I don’t have much of a choice except to wait it out.

I guess I don't have much of a choice except to pay for these people's food. But I certainly don't like it. Call me despicable all you want, but no one should have a claim on another person's legally-earned income or lawful savings.

nocnoc
37208
Points
nocnoc 10/13/13 - 07:07 am
7
2
Age and dependents

It all depends on the family.
Some worthless parents (drugs, jail or stupidity) cannot, should not or will not raise their own kids.

This is when Grandparents step up, step in and do it.

Nana and Papa can be GOD sent for these kids.
Many turn out better, but yes a number learn no better, and turn out no
better, than if their parents raised them.

nocnoc
37208
Points
nocnoc 10/13/13 - 07:33 am
11
0
#1 Item purchased with SNAP?

Any body want to guess what the #1 of the top 10 SNAP purchased items are?

#1. Soft Drinks & Candy

BTW: research found that at least three powerful industry sectors benefit from SNAP:
1) major food manufacturers such as Coca-Cola, Kraft, and Mars;
sell billions in food products to SNAP.

2) leading food retailers such as Walmart and Kroger; Have Billions in sales because of SNAP.

3) large banks, such as J.P. Morgan, Chase, which contract with states to help administer SNAP benefits. Make millions in handling SNAP card transactions.

Some SNAP facts
As of August 2012, 46+ million persons were participating in SNAP. 1 in 7 get SNAP.

SNAP user/receivers will grow in numbers,as more working people are pushed into poverty as their working hours are reduced
by ObamaCare regulations.

In 2012, the average SNAP client received a monthly benefit of $140+, and the average household received $300 monthly.

scoobynews
3771
Points
scoobynews 10/13/13 - 07:33 am
12
0
Little lamb

I could not have said it better myself. I don't get an extra $300-$500 a month. Sometimes I am down to $30 bucks before I get paid for the month again. I have to budget by buying just what I need not what I want. Ebt needs an overhaul and only be used for healthy foods NO junk food!! Please spare me the arguments that people with children need some treats. There are plenty of treats they can buy with their own money they supposedly earn separate from ebt. Abuse happens daily I know an acquaintance who had a live in boyfriend but did not report it because she was scared they would cut her $350 food stamps. Abuse of the system is the problem. Ebt was to help you get back on your feet not use for the rest of your life.

seenitB4
79140
Points
seenitB4 10/13/13 - 07:43 am
9
0
We have abusers & we all know it

But just like LeConte says....does anyone boo hoo for the many workers who planned vacations & can't enjoy them now because daddie gov shut down the parks...some wait forever for a nice vacation & just a few days of fun....don't see the boos whoos for the DANG WORKING FOLKS...

We all have been blind sided by this stinking MESS!

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