New Payment Option Available for Tennessee Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Friday, December 03, 2010 | 08:09 am
Debit Cards Available for Initial Unemployment Claims in the Memphis Area
NASHVILLE – Effective December 6, 2010, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will begin offering unemployed workers a new electronic option for receiving their unemployment benefits – debit cards. Shelby, Lauderdale, Tipton, and Fayette counties have been chosen as a test area for the new option before making it available to the rest of the state. 

“Paper checks have inherent problems as they can be lost or stolen, and mail delays create a lot of anxiety for claimants,” said Commissioner James Neeley. “The state will save a great deal of time and money processing and delivering checks, and check fraud will no longer be an issue.”
Last year, the state issued nearly 8 million unemployment checks, and it is projected electronic payments will save the state approximately $1 million annually in postage and paper costs.

This option will only be available for those filing new unemployment claims in person at a Memphis area local office. Individuals filing by phone and the Internet and those who are already receiving benefits will continue to receive benefits by way of a paper check. Eventually in 2011 all claimants will have the option of receiving benefits by debit card or direct deposit as paper checks will no longer be available.
The debit cards are called Tennessee Automated Payment (TAP), and are issued by JP Morgan/Chase bank. Claimants who choose this option should receive their TAP card directly from Chase Bank within seven to 10 business days of filing their initial claim. Issuance of debit cards will not delay payments. Eligible claimants will be able to use the TAP card at any retailer who accepts VISA debit cards. Claimants will also be able to make cash withdrawals at any Chase or MoneyPass ATMs using the TAP card.
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