HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella announced the next steps that the Treasury Department and the Department of Labor & Industry are taking to better serve Pennsylvanians who qualify for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which was recently targeted in a widespread fraud scheme.
Starting Tuesday, June 9, Treasury will resume debit card payments to PUA claimants who already have a U.S. Bank ReliaCard. In addition, PUA claimants who do not yet have a ReliaCard are expected to receive one in the next two weeks and will then begin to receive payments on the ReliaCard.
“Combatting fraud at this scale is no easy task, but I’m proud of the work we’ve done to ensure that this money is going to the people who need it most – our out-of-work friends and neighbors, not criminals. Today’s shift to a sustainable, secure debit card payment program will better safeguard this assistance, and save millions of taxpayer dollars along the way,” stated Joe Torsella, Pennsylvania State Treasurer.
In an immediate response to widespread, multi-state fraud associated with the PUA program, and, in particular, benefits payments made by direct deposits to private bank accounts, Treasury previously announced it would temporarily issue all payments via physical check while the Department of Labor and Industry added new security measures . This move helped to ensure that funds did not land in the hands of fraudsters. It is estimated that issuing payments via debit card going forward, rather than paper checks, will save taxpayers $1 million per month in printing and postage costs.
Once all PUA claimants have received a ReliaCard, they should expect to receive benefits, including the extra $600 per week provided by the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, as an electronic payment to their ReliaCards. No other form of unemployment compensation or associated FPUC payments will be affected, at this time.
The U.S. Bank ReliaCard offers claimants fast and secure access to funds. ReliaCards can be used at any retail location that accepts Visa. Cardholders also have unlimited in-network ATM cash withdrawals and balance inquiries, can access online bill pay, and can directly transfer funds to their personal bank accounts. U.S. Bank ReliaCard has a website and mobile app cardholders should leverage to activate their cards, manage their accounts, and address frequently asked questions – alleviating the need to call customer service.
PUA Claimants Who Already Have A U.S. Bank Reliacard
If a PUA claimant was previously receiving payments via U.S. Bank ReliaCard and the card is not expired, payments will resume on that same debit card.
If a claimant’s U.S. Bank ReliaCard was lost or stolen, a replacement can be requested at 888-233-5916.
PUA Claimants Who Have Not Yet Received A U.S. Bank Reliacard
U.S. Bank ReliaCards are expected to be delivered to PUA claimants who do not currently have one between June 16 and June 21.
In order to mitigate major disruptions in payments for claimants who have not received a ReliaCard yet, claims filed between June 5 and June 11 will continue to be paid via physical check. All claims filed for benefits starting on Friday, June 12, will be paid by deposit to their new ReliaCard.
The U.S. Bank ReliaCard will arrive in a plain envelope. PUA claimants should be careful not to discard this piece of mail.
For help with unemployment compensation benefits or to discuss other payment options:
Department of Labor & Industry:
- 888-313-7284 – Standard Unemployment Compensation
- 855-284-8545 – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Treasury Department, Bureau of Unemployment Compensation Disbursements:
U.S. Bank ReliaCard:
- 888-233-5916 or https://www.usbankreliacard.com. Most questions and servicing needs can be addressed via the ReliaCard website or mobile app, saving recipients the need to call. PUA claimants should only call this number after receiving their card and they are unable to use the website or mobile app to meet their needs.
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