Welfare Recipients Advised to Prepare for Service Disruption

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Recipients of CalFresh and CalWorks, who access those benefits using debit cards, are being urged to prepare for a 24-hour service disruption that will prevent them from using those services starting tonight.

The cards, known as Electronic Benefits Transfer -- or EBT -- will stop working as of 11 p.m. tonight and remain unusable until 11 p.m. Sunday due to a planned statewide service outage.

State and county officials are urging recipients to do their shopping and make necessary cash withdrawals prior to the outage.

EBT cards, which replaced food stamps under federally supported welfare programs as of June 2004, can be used for purchases at participating stores and also enable recipients to make cash withdrawals.

Locally, the program is administered by the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services.

The services will be down while the state of California transitions from its current EBT vendor to a new one.

During the transition, the customer service line listed on each EBT card will not be in operation and the EBT website -- www.ebt.ca.gov -- is down until 11 p.m. Sunday.

Callers to the program's toll-free customer service helpline, (877) 328-9677 will hear a message reminding them of the outage.

All services are scheduled to be restored shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday.

Photo: Getty Images

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