UPDATE: Xerox, the company that runs the LINK Card system, says the glitch has been fixed and LINK cards should work again.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois use link cards to buy groceries, but Saturday they're being turned away at stores, because of a glitch affecting people all across the country.
17 states, including Illinois are reporting issues with their electronic benefits transfer systems. That's left many local store owners to turn people away with carts full of groceries.
"Some people really don't have the money to buy the food so they leave the store mad, some people are really crying, some families are coming in here they don't have the money to feed their children," said Ahmed Saeed, a local store owner.
23 News spoke with a representative with the Illinois Department of Human Services. She says this is due to a technical issue with Xerox, that's the company that runs the debit system for link cards. However many families say it was a rude awakening to be turned away at the register.
"If you don't have a job and that link is all that you depend on for food and food stamps is all you can do to feed your family then to have that resource cut off then you have to go through other means like going to the pantry," said Victoria Gray, who uses a link card.
There's supposed to be a back-up system where store cashiers could manually punch in card numbers to check the amount, however that's also down.
Xerox is aware of the issues and has contractors on hand to fix the problem as soon as possible.