State Switches from Paper to Plastic - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

State Switches from Paper to Plastic

"They don't have to sit at home waiting for a check to come," says Diane Rath, the Chair of the Texas Workforce Commission. "They don't have to sit at home waiting for a check to come," says Diane Rath, the Chair of the Texas Workforce Commission.
"They make it to where you're going to use a little at a time, 9 our of 10 chances people who come down here want the whole check, nothing but the check, cash in hand because they've got bills," says Preston Meech "They make it to where you're going to use a little at a time, 9 our of 10 chances people who come down here want the whole check, nothing but the check, cash in hand because they've got bills," says Preston Meech

Unemployment checks are a thing of the past for Texas, and that should add up nicely for the state. It's hoped $500,000 of your taxpayer dollars will be put to better use now that the state will dispense unemployment benefits by debit card.  

The Texas Workforce Commission has printed its last check.  It says the switch to plastic will allow people to get their money faster and access it immediately.

"They don't have to sit at home waiting for a check to come, with delays, lost or stolen checks. Very frequently that's frustrating, so now those people in between job will be able to focus on looking for that all important new job," says Diane Rath, the Chair of the Texas Workforce Commission.

Rath says that people will be able to use the card at any chase bank, ATM, or store that takes debit - even to get cash back.  She says that the money saved in postage and other costs will be used to improve security and fraud detection and offer better services to Texans.  Despite the perks we found some people in Amarillo who prefer to get a check.

"They make it to where you're going to use a little at a time.  Nine out of ten chances, people who come down here want the whole check, nothing but the check and cash in hand because they've got bills," says Preston Meech, who recently began receiving unemployment.

Meech has been jobless for about five weeks and hasn't received his debit card yet.  Once we explained to him the money saved with plastic, he warmed up to the idea.

"If it's that much more of a deal, then that's something I didn't know about.  If they can put it back into the system, then that's a saving grace," says Meech. 

In times of natural disasters or emergency, the card is more practical than a piece of paper.

"If you look at the floods in Dennisen and Texoma, where they no longer have a home or a mailbox, they don't have to worry about [receiving a check].  They have immediate access to the funds and that's one of the reasons we made the transition," says Rath. 

Almost 900 people across the panhandle receive unemployment benefits.  More than half of them are in Amarillo.

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