The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced last week that all unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in Georgia will be paid electronically and that paper checks will no longer be issued, effective this week.
According to a press release, the GDOL has begun mailing the new UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard® to current recipients of UI benefits paid by paper checks. The debit cards will become effective Nov. 2. The final paper check payments will be made Nov. 1. Previously UI recipients had the option of using either direct band deposits or paper checks.
According to the GDOL, about 70 percent of the 118,000 UI recipients already use direct deposit. They will retain that option. The change will be a cost saving to the GDOL. The material and postal expense alone is reported to be about $19,000 a week.
The GDOL lists the following benefits to UI benefit recipients:
- They have access to the funds more quickly since mail delivery time is eliminated.
- There is no risk of stolen or lost checks.
- The debit cards can be used to make purchases or get cash back, just as with any debit card.
- There is no merchant charge to the recipient for use of the card.
- Recipients will have the option of registering for electronic alerts when deposits are made to their accounts.
- They will be able to monitor their accounts online to check balances and review transactions.
- They can also speak directly with UI Way2Go customer service representatives, who are available around the clock.
The UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard® is operated by the Go Program® and issued by Comerica Bank. The cards are accepted anywhere MasterCard is accepted and cash may be obtained with no fee from any MoneyPass ATM. UI recipients will get instructions on how to activate the UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard® when they receive it.
Complete information about the program is available at www.dol.state.ga.us