The SC Department of Employment and Workforce will begin today phasing out paper checks given for weekly unemployment payments. The agency will instead offer “plastic”–electronic payment options including prepaid debit cards. Also, the agency has offered direct deposit into bank accounts since 2008.
Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director John Finan says it’s part of an effort to streamline service in a more efficient and cost effective manner.
Agency spokesman Clark Newsom says it will save the agency $4 million a year and save claimants from having to pay check cashing fees.
The card option comes with help from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Visa. Cards will be sent to claimants, and once they are determined to be eligible, the payment will be deposited directly into their debit card account.
Newsom says his agency has been testing the debit card program in three pilot areas of the state for the last month.