RI Department of Labor and Training
 MEDIA ADVISORY
 

Electronic Payment Card Instructional Video Announced

December 20, 2011

The RI Department of Labor and Training has created an instructional video that advises electronic payment card recipients how to avoid unnecessary fees. The 10-minute video can be viewed on the department’s web site at www.dlt.ri.gov and is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese versions.

Funded by a federal grant from U.S. Department of Labor, the video reviews how Unemployment Insurance and Temporary Disability Insurance recipients can use the card to get cash or make purchases, manage account balances and avoid fees. This month, a direct mail campaign will be launched to encourage card users to view the video.

Tips to avoid fees include:

  • using Allpoint-recognized ATMs for cash withdrawals; Using a non-Allpoint ATM may result in additional service fees.
  • limiting your ATM cash withdrawals to one free withdrawal each weekly pay period; each additional withdrawal incurs a $1.50 service fee.
  • using your electronic payment card for free signature-based transactions rather than for fee-based debit card transactions; debit card transactions require the user to enter a PIN number and may result in a $0.25 service fee.
  • using free web-based or automated telephone services to check your account balance rather than using fee-based ATM services; using the ATM for a balance inquiry costs an additional $0.50 fee.

“The RI Department of Labor and Training wants to make sure that its benefit recipients understand the fees associated with certain electronic payment card transactions, and that those recipients have the know-how to avoid additional charges,” says Department of Labor and Training Director Charles J. Fogarty.

When it launched its electronic payment card in March 2007, Rhode Island became the first state in New England and the ninth in the nation to adopt this distribution method. The RI Department of Labor and Training estimates that it saves half a million dollars each year by eliminating processing and postage costs associated with generating paper checks for benefit payments. In addition to cost savings, electronic payment cards also offer a secure and more timely distribution of weekly benefits. By eliminating checks, the RI Department of Labor and Training also eliminated the expense of check-cashing services for those claimants without bank accounts.

"Our experience with the electronic payment card has been tremendously positive," says Assistant Director of Income Support Raymond Filippone. Filippone cites customers surveys that show a satisfaction rating of nearly 90 percent for electronic payment cardholders.

Unemployment Insurance and Temporary Disability Insurance recipients have the option of receiving benefits automatically through an electronic payment card or direct deposit into a checking account. Currently, 35 percent of these recipients receive weekly benefits through electronic payment cards, while 65 percent receive benefits fits via direct deposit.

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 2010, over 100,000 individuals collected approximately $734 million in Unemployment Insurance benefits. Unemployment Insurance is financed through employer payroll taxes only.

Temporary Disability Insurance protects insured workers against wage loss resulting from a non-work-related illness or injury. Benefits are drawn from a fund financed exclusively by employee payroll deductions. In 2010, Rhode Island's Temporary Disability Insurance Program processed more than 41,000 claims, resulting in payouts of more than $165 million. Only four other states—California, Hawaii, New Jersey and New York, as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico—have Temporary Disability Insurance programs.

 

 

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

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