Unemployment Payments Go High Tech

The check is not in the mail if you are one of the 1.2 million Californians receiving unemployment benefits.

Instead a state-issued debit card is replacing the traditional form of payment for those collecting unemployment starting today.

The Employment Development Department will begin issuing about 10,000 debit cards a day as the agency phases in the new payment system over the next few months.

State funded benefits paid through debit cards are not entirely new to California.

The State Employment Development Department has already issued debit cards to 400,000 recipients for disability insurance payments earlier this year.

But this is the first time those collecting unemployment will have their funds issued on debit cards.

Bank of America will administer the new debit card program. Unemployment benefit payments will be automatically added weekly to the cards, and beneficiaries will be able to use them like any other atm card.

Recipients can withdraw cash from atm machines, transfer funds to personal accounts or make purchases at merchants that accept Visa-branded cards.

The new program should benefit both the state and unemployment recipients.

California issued more than 42 million unemployment checks last year totaling almost 23 billion dollars in payments.

Those receiving payments should get their cash faster and California should save at least four million a year in postage.

The EDD has posted a new informational video on how to use the card without fees on its YouTube channel, with a link from the state's website.

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