LINK card system shuts down turning away shoppers

By Beau Ebenezer

October 12, 2013 Updated Oct 12, 2013 at 6:43 PM CDT

PEORIA Ill -- Welfare recipients in Central Illinois are finding it difficult to make purchases at the grocery store, following a system failure of LINK Cards.

These technical difficulties are also being felt around the entire country.

This morning, thousands of people across 17 states, including here in Illinois, were turned away at the check-out lane.

The Electronic Benefits Transfer system shutdown due to a power outage during a routine check by the vendor, Xerox.

Because of the shutdown, residents who rely on SNAP and WIC are unable to use their benefit cards.

"Everybody wants to know what is going on because this effects a whole lot of people," said Peoria resident, Sara Cruse. "You can't feed your family, you can't feed your kids. I don't have any kids at home anymore, but I have grandkids. It effects my kids too."

"When I tell them LINK is down they get really upset," said Shop 'N' Save Manager, Jigar Patel. "They say, 'oh no it's really down? Can you try again?' They've been coming back two or three times to try it again."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a statement saying that the vendor is working to fix the issue and the cards will work once it is resolved.

They added that the issue is not related to the government shutdown.