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New Payment Options Available for Tennessee Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Debit Cards and Direct Deposit Available for Unemployment Claimants

Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce DevelopmentNashville, TN – Effective January 18th, 2011, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will begin offering unemployed workers two new electronic options for receiving their unemployment benefits – debit cards and direct deposit. The Visa® debit card is called Tennessee Automated Payment (TAP) and is a provided by Chase Bank.

Debit card and direct deposit will be offered to newly unemployed workers as they apply for unemployment benefits.  Claimants currently receiving benefits can also enroll for debit cards or direct deposit payments online at https://ui.tn.gov. In the future, all claimants will receive their unemployment benefits electronically.

“This update represents both savings and convenience,” said Commissioner James Neeley.  “The state will save a great deal of time and money processing and delivering checks, and claimants will find the new options more convenient, as they can use debit cards immediately at most banks and retail stores without waiting by the mailbox for the check to arrive.”

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.

“Last month we tested the debit card concept in the Memphis area,” reported Neeley. “The rollout went smoothly, and claimants immediately recognized the cards as a convenient option…especially with potential mail delivery delays during the holidays.”

While claimants can make withdrawals from a bank displaying a Visa logo and monitor account balances online at no charge, other transactions can result in fees and surcharges.  Claimants will receive an information kit and tips on avoiding charges when they receive their TAP debit card.  Debit card and direct deposit information, teller locations and frequently asked questions are also available online at http://state.tn.us/labor-wfd/uidebitcard/.


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