State of Michigan offers electronic options for unemployment benefits
Thanks to a recently implemented program, unemployed workers in Michigan can stop looking for their unemployment checks to be in the mail.
On June 2, the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) began offering unemployed workers a choice between two new electronic options for receiving their unemployment benefits: either by direct deposit into the worker’s bank or credit-union account or by debit card.
To launch the electronic payment options, Michigan partnered with JPMorgan Chase & Co., based in New York, to implement Chase’s Visa debit cards and direct-deposit program.
“These new methods for delivering unemployment benefits will be faster and more secure and cost-efficient than the current practice of mailing paper checks,” acting UIA Director Chris Peretto pointed out. “But for those who prefer paper unemployment checks, we’ll continue to offer them by mail for a period of time.”
Peretto added that the new payment options will result in significant cost savings for the state. “Last year, UIA issued nearly 3.4 million unemployment checks, and we project these electronic options will save the agency about $1.6 million annually in postage and paper costs,” he explained.
Technology expedites cash flow and convenience
The debit-card and direct-deposit options will be offered to newly unemployed workers as they apply for unemployment benefits. Unemployed workers may apply for benefits by telephone or through the Internet: http://www.michigan.gov/uia/.
In turn, the unemployment benefits will be added to an individual’s debit card or bank account within two to three days following the worker’s certification of his/her continuing eligibility for benefits through UIA’s automated MARVIN system.
The Michigan UIA debit card can be used for purchases at any merchant that accepts Visa. The card also can be used to receive cash back from automated teller machines and at Visa-member banks and credit unions. Cardholders may encounter some fees, depending on how and where they use the card.
“These new payment options will improve service to unemployed workers in the state and help us to better manage costs,” said Keith W. Cooley, director of Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Growth. “These new options are a win-win for everyone.”
JPMorgan also has helped a number of other states convert from paper-based checks to electronic payments, including the states of Colorado, New York, Rhode Island and Texas. The company currently maintains more than 2 million MasterCard- and Visa-branded Government Payment Card accounts and more than 12 million stored-value cards for various state government benefit programs.
For more information about JPMorgan’s capabilities and services, visit http://www.jpmchase.com/.