Alabama Industrial Relations Introduces AL Vantage Debit Card For Unemployment Claimants
December 07, 2006
The Workforce ATM
The Alabama Department Of Industrial Relations Industrial Relations Introduces AL Vantage Debit Card For Unemployment Claimants
DATE: November 17, 2006
CONTACT: Ron Macksoud, 334-242-8616
The Alabama Department of Industrial
Relations has introduced a new debit card for the payment of weekly unemployment compensation
"This is another way the state is using technology to improve services and save taxpayer dollars
at the same time," says Governor Bob Riley. "We are modernizing our unemployment insurance
system, which makes it more cost-effective and efficient."
Phyllis Kennedy, Industrial Relations director, says new claims filers who do not choose the
direct deposit option for payments will, instead, receive a MasterCard debit card called AL Vantage.
"Each unemployed worker in Alabama may still have benefits deposited into their personal bank
account, but Industrial Relations will discontinue to issue paper checks for new claims filers," says
Kennedy. "Claimants currently receiving unemployment checks by mail will also be given the option to
switch to the AL Vantage MasterCard."
Use of the AL Vantage MasterCard will reduce postage and the administrative costs associated
with printing checks.
"Industrial Relations spends approximately $1 per payment to print and mail a check for
unemployment insurance benefits," says James A. Webb, Unemployment Compensation Division
director. "During Fiscal Year 2006, our agency issued 833,205 paper checks to the state?s
AL Vantage, which was launched on November 7, will also eliminate the costly check-cashing
fees that some individuals incur, as well as minimize the potential for identity theft. Alabama is among
only eight states to offer debit cards to claimants.
An Alabama Unemployment Telephone Call Center support line will be available for
unemployed workers to request information or receive assistance if a card is lost or stolen. Additional
help will be offered through an online Internet inquiry for confirmation of payments, balances and other