Laid-off workers should consider having their unemployment benefits deposited directly into their bank accounts, say officials with the state's Employment Security Department.
Direct deposit is secure and convenient, and Employment Security provides the service for free.
"Unemployed workers have enough on their minds without the expense and hassle of transporting a slip of paper from their mailbox to their bank," said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee. "Direct deposit just makes sense."
To sign up for direct deposit, claimants must first get their bank or credit union account and routing numbers. They can then apply for direct deposit online through the agency's secure Web site at www.esd.wa.gov by typing "direct deposit" in the search box. Written requests for direct deposit cannot be accepted and will be returned.
It takes up to 14 days for the department to receive verification from a bank or credit union. Employment Security will mail the claimant a paper check until the account information is verified.
Once verification is received, Employment Security will transfer benefits to the bank or credit union after the claimant files a weekly claim.
A direct-deposit request stays on a claimant's unemployment file until it is changed or cancelled online or until Employment Security receives a payment rejection from the bank or credit union.
Currently, about 40 percent of unemployment claims are paid via direct deposit, up from about 20 percent a year ago.
Direct deposit is available only with banks or credit unions within the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Direct deposit cannot be sent to banks or credit unions in other countries, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands or American Samoa.
Web link: www.esd.wa.gov, search on direct deposit.