Optimizing Unemployment Insurance Payments

JB DonaldsonBy JB Donaldson, Vice President, Card Strategic Solutions, Xerox

Our country is in a rolling state of ups and downs. Recessions and economic downturns are followed by a recovery, a rise in the stock market and an increase in jobs. Thankfully, we’re currently in the latter with unemployment below 6 percent nationwide according to the United States Department of Labor. However, many people in that 6 percent are depending on unemployment insurance (UI) payments.

During delicate and difficult times of transition, families are often completely reliant on UI benefit payments for basic needs like food, shelter and clothing. This is a lifeline for families and we have been helping recipients get these necessary funds quickly, easily and securely for more than 10 years. It’s a revolving door of innovation for us and it’s a top priority. From electronic benefits transfer (EBT) to the electronic payments cards accepted everywhere, we’re always looking for ways to improve the process so we can offer the best assistance to agencies and constituents alike.

Those dealing with the uncertainty of unemployment need consistent and reliable support. Here are five tips for optimizing UI payments:

Safe, convenient and secure – Every dollar is important and with payment cards those receiving UI benefit payments have easier access to their money and are able to use all of it for necessary items without having to pay a portion to simply access their money. UI payment cards can generally be used at no cost and help recipients keep every dollar by avoiding ATM surcharges or paying hefty fees at check cashing institutions. They also enhance payment security by minimizing theft or loss.

Financial literacy – Through UI payment cards, families are learning how to budget, save and even reduce debt. These cards allow recipients to check their balance online or receive account balance updates via text message. Through financial literacy, people are learning how to use their card as an asset and tool to improve their financial situation.

Stretching the benefits – By working with retailers and service providers to offer UI payments, recipients benefit for shopping at a store using their card through discounts on specific purchases or entire orders placed.

A resource for agencies – Even though our economy is in an upswing, agencies are still operating with limited resources with staffers being tasked to do multiple jobs. Leveraging a private partnership can relieve these over-tasked agencies with things like eligibility, customer care and labor support.

Fraud protection – Keeping the money in the pockets of the intended and deserving is a round-the-clock job. Minimizing and preventing the misuse of benefit program dollars needs to be a priority. Ensure your agency has the right level of fund monitoring, such as velocity thresholds, to combat fraud, waste and abuse.

Payment cards are connecting people who may be disenfranchised from the banking system with quick, easy access to their money. It’s something most of us take for granted but it allows the unemployed to participate in our cashless economy.

What other ways can we optimize unemployment insurance payments? Leave a comment below.

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