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Paper Unemployment Checks Phased Out Across State

Friday, April 01, 2011 | 04:26am
Debit Cards and Direct Deposit Offered for Unemployment Benefits

NASHVILLE – Beginning the week of April 4th, claimants in the west Tennessee area will begin receiving a Visa® debit card called Tennessee Automated Payment (TAP). Claimants may also choose to have their benefits directly deposited into their bank account.
 
Electronic payments will be phased in gradually during the month of April depending on the area of the state in which you live. After west Tennessee’s introduction the week of April 4th, counties in east Tennessee will transition on the week of April 11th and counties in middle Tennessee will start the program the week of April 18th. Claimants can expect to receive their last paper check during that week. Upon receiving the TAP card, claimants would be instructed to activate the card in order to receive the following week’s benefits.
 
“We began this program in January by allowing claimants to choose whether they wanted electronic payments or to continue receiving paper checks,” said Commissioner Karla Davis. 
“Three months after the introduction, more than 50,000 claimants are successfully receiving payments either with the new TAP card or direct deposit so we’re pleased it’s working as it should.”
 
Last year, the state issued nearly 8 million unemployment checks, and it is projected electronic payments will save the state approximately $3.2 million annually in postage and paper costs.
 
“This modern method of benefit delivery is not only cost effective for the state, but our clients will appreciate the convenience of electronic deposits,” reported Davis. “Payments will be made consistently after certification, balances can be checked online and purchases can be made at retail locations just like any other debit card.”
 
It’s important for claimants to read the information kit included with the TAP to understand how to avoid fees and surcharges. Claimants can make withdrawals from a bank displaying a Visa logo and monitor account balances online at no charge. Claimants choosing direct deposit can enroll now at https://ui.tn.gov. General information on TAP cards or direct deposit can be found at http://state.tn.us/labor-wfd/uidebitcard/.
 
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