Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


RI first in New England to launch UI Electronic Payment Card
FAQ's and Fact Sheet (pdf files)

March 26, 2007

[NOTE: To download a digital photo of the new electronic payment card, visit www.dlt.ri.gov/ui/EPCimagefile.htm.]

Rhode Island says goodbye to unemployment checks April 1st, when the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training fully implements a new electronic payment card method for distributing unemployment insurance payments.

In the near future, an individual who is collecting unemployment insurance through the State of Rhode Island will have the choice of receiving payments through either direct deposit or the new electronic payment card. The card, offered in conjunction with JPMorgan Chase, functions much the way a VISA card does. Its owner can use the card to withdraw cash from participating ATMs throughout the state or to make purchases anywhere VISA is accepted.

Weekly UI payments will be electronically deposited into a customer’s electronic payment card account. The card will be recognized, surcharge-free, at all Washington Trust, Allpoint and Chase ATMS.

RI Dept. of Labor and Training Director Adelita S. Orefice says, “Being unemployed is hard enough. Now we can make receiving unemployment insurance payments a little easier.” Orefice notes the benefits of the electronic payment card, adding, “Funds will be available 24 hours a day. Our customers won’t have to wait for deposits to clear, or worry about check cashing fees. And they can use their card to make purchases in any store that recognizes VISA. It’s incredibly convenient.”

While eight states are already using electronic payment cards for unemployment insurance, Rhode Island is the first New England state to adopt this distribution method. In the Ocean State, the electronic payment card will be piloted to a small segment of the UI population in late January. A complete conversion to electronic payment cards and direct deposit will take place in late March, when unemployment checks will no longer be issued in the state of Rhode Island.

By eliminating the processing and mailing of Unemployment Insurance checks, and ultimately, Temporary Disability Insurance checks, the RI Dept. of Labor and Training UI program expects to realize $500,000 in savings annually.

In the past, the RI Dept. of Labor and Training has maintained an excellent track record—95.5% success rate—of UI payment delivery. Assistant Director of Income Support Raymond Filippone says, “From 1998 to 2006 the department issued 7,478,249 checks between UI and TDI. Of this number, 33,457 checks were replaced due to lost, stolen or destroyed checks.” However, the electronic payment card method will reduce the number of lost, stolen or destroyed checks from 0.5% to zero, thereby reducing any opportunity for theft—including identity theft.

Unemployment Insurance is a federal/state program that provides temporary income support to workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. In 2006, nearly 50,000 individuals collected approximately $195 million in UI benefits. Unemployment Insurance is financed through employer payroll taxes only.

For more information on the Unemployment Insurance electronic payment card, contact the UI Call Center at (401) 243-9100 or the special Electronic Payment Card web page accessible through the Dept. of Labor and Training’s web site at www.dlt.ri.gov.

The RI Dept. of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunity to both individuals and employers. DLT also protects Rhode Island’s workforce the enforcement of labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards and provides temporary income support to unemployed, sick or injured workers. For more information on the programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders, please call the RI Dept. of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov.

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The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training offers a wide array of employment and training services to both the general public and to individuals with unusual barriers to employment. DLT is ready to assist any job seeker, whether the goal is a first job, a better job, or a career change. Rhode Island's work force is protected through the enforcement of labor laws, prevailing wage rates, and work place health and safety standards. Temporary income support is available to unemployed, sick, or injured workers and a comprehensive rehabilitation program is available to those injured on the job.
DLT is dedicated to the growth and competitiveness of Rhode Island industry, administering a variety of training grants, tax credits, and apprenticeship programs to help employers. Economic indicators and labor market information are available for long-range planning. The Agency engages in active outreach, helping large and small employers retain their best workers or retrain their existing work force. At no cost to the employer, DLT will also screen job applicants, post job vacancies, and help businesses institute cost-sharing programs that can avert layoffs.For more information on the innovative programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders at the Department of Labor and Training, please call (401) 462-8000 or visit our web site at www.dlt.ri.gov

Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
TDD (401) 462-8006