Okla. to issue debit cards instead of unemployment checks, transition causes delays - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Okla. to issue debit cards instead of unemployment checks, transition causes delays

Lawton_If your unemployment check from the State of Oklahoma is overdue, blame a new system.  The state now issues debit cards to replace the old paper checks representing a costly, outdated system.  The change will save money and time in the future, but right now, the transition is delaying a lot of payments that should be in the hands of the unemployed.

John Scott, Chief of the Benefits Division of Oklahoma Employment Department Security Division says the debit cards are in the mail.  They're being issued in Atlanta, but for those who need their money immediately, the cards can't arrive in the mail too soon.

Oklahoma made the decision to issue debit cards rather than paper checks, and while the unemployment office is excited about the new system, they are aware that the transition has been frustrating for those who need money right away.  "The majority of our claimants in Oklahoma City would have experienced a delay initially receiving the card," said Scott.  "That has obviously frustrated and distressed some people - I understand that."

However, Scott says it will be easier in the long run.  "After the card is in their hands, the actual payment process would then - in the future - be sped up," he said.  "They would not be waiting for the check to be mailed, and the deposit would be made by 10 p.m. that same day ready for their use."

Folks waiting for their benefits on Friday said off camera that the delay in payments has been extremely frustrating for them.  The Oklahoma Security Commission says that issuing the cards this way is going to save the state a significant amount of money - postage alone costs the state $327,000 per year.
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