On Monday during a meeting of the Unemployment Insurance Oversight Committee, members considered changes to how unemployment insurance payments are distributed. As a result, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will begin accepting bids for providers of debit cards used for unemployment payments.
Included in the Request for Proposals (RFP) is a new provision requiring the availability of direct deposits, an option long advocated for by Senator Karen Tallian and fellow Senate Democratic Caucus members. Currently, those seeking unemployment compensation are issued a debit card by the state and the funds are deposited directly onto the card after successfully filing their information each week. The claimant then has the option to visit an “in-network” ATM or bank for one free transaction each time a deposit is made on the card; or they are able to transfer the funds from the debit card into their personal checking or savings account free of charge.
While “in-network” locations are available in major cities, rural claimants are left with fewer fee-free options. An array of fees may occur for each bank transaction after the initial free transaction, including additional withdrawals, balance inquiries and ATM denials due to insufficient funds.
Sen. Tallian’s previous proposals have also included language eliminating these fees, citing that not allowing Hoosiers receiving unemployment to deposit the funds directly into their accounts distracts from their search for gainful employment.
This was the first and only meeting of the Unemployment Insurance Oversight Committee and final proposals will be considered during the 2014 General Assembly session.