In an e-mail from Jennifer Wasmer, Director, Services PR, Xerox Corporation, we have received a more detailed explanation of the events that shut down EBT card services in 17 states on Saturday. The unprecedented collapse of the Electronic Benefit Transaction card system affected low income Americans with SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or other, related benefits. The events of Saturday resulted in some violence and theft, as we reported yesterday.
Low income Americans in the former Food Stamp program and other, similar, assistance programs use the Electronic Benefits Transfer card (EBT) to purchase groceries. It works just like a debit card, or it is supposed to. On Saturday, users in 17 states found that their cards would not work from late morning through late afternoon. Xerox, through a division called Xerox State & Local Solutions, Inc., provides the services necessary to operate the program in those states and a system failure turned Saturday into a confusing and concerning day for many.
Black poverty in America is deeply routed in two core groups. Long term unemployed and families headed by a woman make up the heart of that poverty. The data points to who but not why.
The Census Bureau has released an annual report titled Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012. The report ties together the results of a number of surveys conducted each year and provides statistical estimates for a number of key demographics, including poverty numbers and rates by sex, by family status, by race and by age. It also covers in detail data about health insurance coverage in the United States.