If you didn't know the difference you'd think the card was issued by a bank or credit union and used to buy groceries or get cash....well you're right on two accounts, the card is used to make purchases or get money, only the cash is coming from the state unemployment office.
Denise Miller the Unemployment Insurance Chief explains the concept behind the unemployment benfit debit card.
" We are trying to give a good method of delivery of benefits that is secure to that person. Its is secured by a pin...the card is a beautiful card."
Miller says the switch will save the state money on mailing, processing, and securing checks. Its estimated the state prints eight-hundred-thousand check and mailed to more than one-hundred-20-thousand recipients each year. The states hopes the card will eliminate the stigma many on unemployment feel when trying to pay with or cash an unemployment check.
Recipients don't have to have a bank account to take advantage of the debit card. And they will be allowed two free withdrawls a month to VISA ATMS or they can go to any VISA bank and receive money from their card at no charge.
Those filing a claim may have access to their funds as soon as 48-hours after filing an approved weekly claim.
Cards are mailed to the recipient within 10 days.
Miller says she won't speculate on just how much money the state will save because of the debit card. But she does point to the state of Pennsylvania where in its first year the card saved the Keystone State one million dollars