Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency Offers New Payment Options

Contact: Norm Isotalo (313) 456-2939
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

JUNE 3, 2008 – The State of Michigan has begun offering unemployed workers two new electronic options for receiving their unemployment benefits.  The new options are debit cards and direct deposit.

"These new payment options will improve service to unemployed workers in the state, and help us to better manage costs," Keith W. Cooley, director of Michigan's Department of Labor & Economic Growth, said.  "These new options are a win-win for everyone."

The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) expects most workers will opt to collect their unemployment benefits electronically, though they may still elect to receive payments by mail.  Unemployed workers may apply for benefits by telephone or through the Internet (www.michigan.gov/uia).

"The debit card and direct deposit options will be faster and more secure and cost efficient than the current practice of mailing paper checks," Acting UIA Director Chris Peretto pointed out.  "But for those who prefer paper unemployment checks, we'll continue to offer them by mail for a period of time."

Unemployment benefits will be added to workers' debit cards or deposited into their savings or checking account within two or three days following the workers' bi-weekly certification of eligibility through the agency's automated MARVIN system.  In most cases, Peretto said, the benefits will be available to workers more quickly than if paid by paper check.

He added that the new payment options will also save the state money.  "Last year, UIA issued nearly 3.4 million unemployment checks, and we project these electronic options will save the agency about $1.6 million annually in postage and paper costs," Peretto explained.

The Michigan UI debit card can be used for purchases at any merchant that accepts Visa.  The card can also be used to receive cash back from automated teller machines (ATMs) and at Visa-member banks and credit unions.  Cardholders may encounter some fees, depending on how and where they use the card.

Unemployment Insurance Agency news releases are available at the agency's website (www.michigan.gov/uia)

Read more Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth press releases.