Illinois trades EBT vendors

The Illinois Department of Human Services is switching vendors for the last

three years of its electronic benefits transfer (EBT) program contract.

As of this month, Logicon Inc., the information technology division of Northrop

Grumman Corp., will handle the state's EBT services. It will assume responsibility

for the state's food-stamp program as well as five other cash assistance

programs, including Assistance to the Aged, Blind or Disabled and the Child

Support Pass-Through Program.

Under the programs, eligible Illinois residents receive a government-issued

debit card that can be used to purchase food or receive cash benefits from

more than 7,000 retailers and automated teller machines across the state.

All told, the programs serve about 450,000 cases on a monthly basis.

Logicon, which already handles EBT services for the Texas Department of

Human Services, is picking up the last three years and $28 million of a

seven-year contract between Illinois and TransActive Corp. The terms of

Illinois' contract with TransActive allowed for the incorporation of a replacement

vendor should all parties agree.

"TransActive decided it no longer wanted to be a full-service EBT provider

and so excused itself from the relationship," said Ed Jakobsen, project

director for the Illinois Department of Human Services.

In addition to handling computer systems, full-service EBT providers handle

call centers for customer service, relations with the selected retailers,

maintenance and supplies for ATMs as well as issuance of the debit cards.

Logicon will be using the same software and team members as it has on

its Texas system. "We brought essentially a practiced team to the situation.

The process will be seamless, and they shouldn't even notice," Jakobsen

said.

The company's work on the Illinois program is scheduled to go through October

2003.

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