We previously posted information regarding PA Unemployment and the widespread fraud (occurring in multiple states) within the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that provides an additional benefit to workers unemployed as a result of the financial impact of COVID-19 (up to $600 per week through the end of July). Scammers have been using information from an unidentified security breach to apply for unemployment benefits. This fraudulent activity is causing concern for applicants experiencing delays of their claim status / benefit payments as well as people who did not apply for unemployment benefits but received a notification or check indicating they had.
We previously provided detailed instructions on how to return any check received for benefits that you did not apply for. You can read that post HERE.
Originally, the Department of Labor & Industry indicated that ALL recipients of unemployment benefits who requested or were receiving direct deposit payments would instead receive a check until further notice. This change was meant to mitigate the potentially fraudulent transactions.
This week however, we learned that the Department of Labor is instead sending debit cards to at least some recipients.
We recently provided information about Federal Economic Impact Payments (EIP), a provision of the Federal CARES Act designed to provide direct relief to individuals, that were paid via prepaid debit card. Many people accidentally threw out or misplaced the envelope before realizing it was their stimulus payment. The debit cards caused confusion and resulted in some recipients having to wait additional time to receive their EIP.
If you are expecting PA Unemployment, be careful when throwing out or shredding junk mail. The federal debit cards came in a plain white envelope that was easily mistaken as junk mail and discarded.
Below is an email from the Pa Department of Labor & Industry dated June 8, 2020 indicating that all PUA payments will be issued on a debit card until further notice as an anti-fraud mitigation measure. If you accidentally shred or otherwise misplace the debit card, you can call the number in the below email.
Dear PUA recipient,
This email is to inform you of some anti-fraud measures being implemented in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program in Pennsylvania. Please read this full email, as your future benefit payment methods may be impacted.
If you have a debit card issued to you by the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation (UC) Office, your PUA benefits payments will resume to those cards beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, June 9.
If you do not currently have a UC-issued debit card, you will be receiving one in the U.S. mail very soon. If you received a UC-issued debit card, but discarded it or lost it, you must contact U.S. Bank Reliacard for a replacement at 888-233-5916.
Your PUA benefit payments will switch from direct deposit to the UC-issued debit cards starting on or around June 16 until further notice.
These changes are necessary to combat potential scam attempts and all Pennsylvania PUA claimants will receive deposits onto debit cards as their payment method until direct deposit payments resume.
You will receive additional information via U.S. mail, email and texts. You can also learn more on the Pennsylvania Treasury Department and Labor & Industry websites.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or if you are in need of any assistance.