Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Military Commissary Shoppers used $130.6 million in food stamps 2013

Just wanted to share this in case you didn't care when food stamps were cut and didn't know many of the people on them are in the military and veterans.
Food Stamp, WIC, Debit Terminals Down at Many Commissaries
by Amy Bushatz
Dec 16, 2014
Commissary shoppers used $130.6 million in food stamps, officially known as the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in fiscal 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the Defense Department. About $29 million in WIC benefits were redeemed that same year.

Some stateside commissaries are unable to process food stamps, and some WIC and debit card payments after the security certificate in store PIN pad terminals expired Dec. 7, shutting down the system.

The problem, which was not a data security breach and did not put any patron payment information at risk, impacted Defense Commissary Agency stores as well as some civilian grocers across the U.S., officials said.

"On December 7 thousands of older model PIN pads produced by Hypercom were unable to process debit card, EBT and electronic WIC transactions because the terminals' cryptographic certificate expired," Kevin Robinson, a DeCA spokesman, said in a statement. "As of Dec. 14, approximately 60 percent of DeCA's total PIN pads are able to process all of our customer's electronic transactions requiring a PIN."

The problem has the biggest impact on commissary shoppers who want to use electronic benefits transfer (EBT) food stamp benefits.

Stores where terminals are down can still run debit cards as credit cards, but are unable to give cash back. They can also process Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) transactions on paper. However, patrons who want to use food stamp benefits will need to do so at a different store or wait until the system is repaired.
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