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updated: 10/14/2013 8:13 AM

Access restored for food stamp users

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Associated Press

Shoppers in Illinois and 16 other states should be able to use their debit-style food stamp cards after vendor Xerox Corp. restored service following a system outage.

Januari Smith, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Human Services, says people in Illinois began reporting problems using their LINK cards Saturday morning.

People from Alabama to California found themselves temporarily unable to use their food stamp cards Saturday morning, after a routine test of backup systems by Xerox sparked technical problems that shut down the states' electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, systems. Xerox says all access has been restored.

U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Courtney Rowe says the outage wasn't related to the government shutdown. Other states affected by the temporary outage included Ohio, Michigan, Alabama, Georgia and Iowa.

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