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NYS alerts New Yorkers of temporary EBT outage on May 19 for system updates

Submitted

Wed, May 15th 2024 01:00 pm

EBT cardholders urged to plan ahead as benefits will be unavailable for period of time early Sunday morning

Submitted by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) is alerting New York Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cardholders that their benefits will be temporarily unavailable while a system change is made this Sunday, May 19, between 12:01 a.m. and approximately 11 a.m.

This temporary interruption in services is necessary, as New York’s EBT system will be changing over to a new contractor. The actual outage may be shorter or last longer than expected. Check otda.ny.gov or call the EBT customer service helpline, 1-888-328-6399, on May 19 to find out when the EBT system is back up and running.

“Millions of New Yorkers depend on these vital benefits to help support their families, and OTDA is working to expedite the EBT system change to minimize the impact on affected recipients,” OTDA Acting Commissioner Barbara C. Guinn said. “I urge all EBT cardholders to do their shopping and make cash withdrawals ahead of time, so they will not be inconvenienced during this brief switch over.”

Cardholder access to EBT, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and temporary assistance benefits, will not be available during this period of time. This includes access for food and cash purchases or cash withdrawals, as well as access to the EBT toll-free customer service helpline, mobile app and client portal.

OTDA has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, local social services districts, retailers and merchants, and other leaders and human services advocates to make sure as many people as possible affected by the changeover are aware of the EBT system downtime and to assure a smooth transition and reduce potential issues for recipients.

After the transition is complete, cardholders will be able to use their same EBT card and PIN. A new card will not be needed. The EBT customer service helpline, 1-888-328-6399, will remain the same after the transition. As a reminder, cardholders are encouraged to change their PIN often as a way to reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions and benefit theft.

What is changing?

Following this transition, the current online client portal will no longer be in use for EBT cardholders. Cardholders will need to download or access the new ebtEDGE app and client portal, which will allow cardholders to check transactions and deposits, freeze and unfreeze their card, and change their PIN. Information on the new ebtEDGE app and website will be posted on otda.ny.gov and mybenefits.ny.gov.

The client portal and mobile app change will not affect EBT cardholders’ ability to make purchases. Once the EBT system is back up, cardholders will be able to resume making purchases and cash withdrawals immediately. 

Who is affected?

This temporary system outage on May 19 only affects New York EBT cardholders. EBT cardholders from other states will not be affected and will be able to use their EBT card in New York without interruption.

Why is OTDA changing EBT vendors?

The EBT contract conversion is required in accordance with state finance law procurement rules because the contract with the existing vendor is expiring and no further contract extensions are available. OTDA engaged in a competitive procurement process to retain a new vendor.

Why do the conversion on this Sunday?

May 19 was selected because EBT historical transaction data shows that the third weekend of the month has the lightest transaction volume.

Where can EBT cardholders find more information?

Visit otda.ny.gov and mybenefits.ny.gov for information about the EBT conversion, including updates on the period of downtime, as well as steps cardholders will need to take to access EBT account information through the new vendor’s mobile app and online client portal.

Efforts to notify EBT cardholders of the upcoming system change have included messages on the OTDA and myBenefits websites, OTDA emails to users of the current client portal and mobile app, messaging on the OTDA hotline and EBT customer service helpline, NYC Department of Social Services emails to recipients who use the ACESS HRA mobile app, alerts to local social services districts, USDA alerts to retailers, social media outreach, and OTDA notifications to 311, 211, and other emergency networks.

While the system is down on May 19, the EBT cardholder helpline, 1-888-328-6399, will not be available.

Once the conversion is complete and cards can be used again, OTDA will post messages saying the system is available for use on otda.ny.gov, facebook.com/nys.otda, and twitter.com/nysotda.

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