California EDD Replaces Unemployment Checks With Debit Cards

SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — Calling it a major change in the history of California’s unemployment program, the Employment Development Department is now sending out debit cards instead of traditional checks to people receiving unemployment benefits.

The phase-in transition from paper to plastic is expected to take a few months to complete.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

Starting Friday, debit cards are replacing unemployment checks for the 1.2 million Californians currently receiving benefits.

EDD spokeswoman Loree Levy said every recipient should have a card by the end of summer.

“We’re going to start with about 10,000 cards a day, and we plan to certainly elevate that,” she said. “We do anticipate it will take us a couple of months to complete this rollout.”

Levy says the Visa branded cards let users withdraw cash at ATMs, make purchases anywhere Visa is accepted, and transfer benefits into personal bank accounts.

“Our customers who don’t have bank accounts will save money here because they’ll no longer have to pay those check cashing fees,” Levy said.

Levy added the initial estimated savings for the EDD is four million dollars a year, mainly in check stock and processing costs.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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