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Clifton Market says it can't accept EBT payments because of government shutdown

Posted at 6:08 PM, Jan 23, 2019

CINCINNATI — Imagine going to the grocery store, filling your cart with the items on your list, then being turned away at the register.

That’s happening at one Cincinnati store because of the partial federal government shutdown.

At Clifton Market, signs on the door and inside say it’s unable to accept food stamps because of the shutdown.

"There have been a few incidents where people missed the sign and have done all of their shopping and then come time to pay, they find out that we weren't taking it," said store manager Gurmukh Singh.

Singh explained that the government hasn’t stopped paying benefits for the nearly 39 million people on food stamps.

Rather, it’s a paperwork issue.

Grocery stores need a license to process EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) payments, and that license that needs to be applied for and renewed.

"We can't even apply for it, because they're not open," said Singh.

That can be a hardship for Raeshawn Gipson and others who rely on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.

"I'm very concerned because I'm a diabetic and I have to eat a certain diet, and it's very expensive," Gipson said.

"We can't be self-sufficient if the government won't allow us to,” said Gipson. “I'm doing the best I can. I'm doing the best I can. That's all I can do."

WCPO checked with a few other local grocery stores. They said they're not currently impacted by the shutdown, but it could be a problem if the shutdown continues.