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Direct Deposit | Debit Card | Compare Deposit and Debit Card | Frequently Asked Questions | Who to Contact | Security Tips | Select/Modify Payment Method

Direct Deposit or Debit Card? You Choose!
Frequently Asked Questions

We encourage claimants to opt for either the direct deposit or debit card payment methods that are approved by the State of Connecticut and the Labor Department.  We are not associated or affiliated with check cashing services.
 

The DirectBenefits electronic payment system offers two options for receiving unemployment benefits - Direct Deposit or Debit Card. The Direct Deposit option is completely free and will never incur any fees (subject to the rules of your bank or credit union). The Debit Card option is offered to individuals who do not have or do not wish to open a checking or savings account, or who simply prefer to use a pre-paid card. However, there could be fees and surcharges associated with the debit card option.

 
Please review the following Frequently Asked Questions regarding these new payment methods. Frequently Asked Questions are grouped in the following order:
 
 

CLICK ON EACH QUESTION TO SHOW THE ANSWER. CLICK ON THE QUESTION AGAIN TO HIDE THE ANSWER.

 

DirectBenefits - Direct Deposit or Debit Card?

1. What is the difference between the Direct Deposit and Debit Card payment methods?
The Direct Deposit payment option is completely free. Weekly UI benefit payments are electronically deposited into your bank or credit union savings or checking account. Payments are deposited to your bank account or debit card in two (2) business days.

If you do not already have a checking or savings account and need to open one to use the Direct Deposit payment method, a list of Connecticut banks and locations can be found here - several Connecticut banks offer no-cost checking.

Using the Chase Visa Debit Card payment method could incur fees and/or surcharges. You should first educate yourself by reading the fee schedule and how to avoid Debit Card fees before choosing this method. Rather than depositing UI benefits into your checking/savings account, your UI payments will be loaded onto a Debit Card.  The Debit Card is offered as an alternative to Direct Deposit for individuals who do not have a checking or savings account and do not wish to open one, or who simply prefer to use the loadable, pre-paid Chase Bank Visa Debit Card.  You can use the card to get cash from a bank or ATM and it may be used to make purchases. Although the card does display the Visa logo, it is not a credit card. You are not extended money beyond your UI benefits balance.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Always know your balance so that you will not be charged a fee for insufficient funds.
  • Check the fee schedule to determine the number of free withdrawals allowed.
  • Avoid using ATMs that charge a surcharge to use the machine.
  • There is always a fee for using the ATM to check the balance on your Debit Card.
  • Whenever possible, use Chase Bank?s free website service to check your balances and make inquiries.

Please see the comparison chart for more information regarding the differences between the Debit Card and Direct Deposit payment methods.

2. How do I make my payment selection?
You must select your payment preference online regardless of the way you regularly file your unemployment insurance claims. You cannot sign up for Direct Deposit or Debit Card by phone. Please refer to the FAQs that provide details on how to sign up online for Direct Deposit or Debit Card.
3. What will happen if I don't make a choice between Direct Deposit and Debit Card?
If you do not make a choice on your own, you will be issued a Chase Visa Debit Card. The card will be mailed to the most recent address the Labor Department has on file for you. Unless you initially signed up for Direct Deposit or switched your payment method to Direct Deposit by using the Department of Labor's online system, your payments will continue to be loaded onto the Debit Card.
4. If I initially choose a Debit Card method, can I switch to Direct Deposit at a later date?
Yes. You simply go to the Department of Labor's secure website at https://sso.ctdol.state.ct.us and request the Direct Deposit option. You will need your savings or checking account number, as well as the bank routing number, to change the payment method to Direct Deposit.
5. If I initially choose the Direct Deposit method, can I switch to Debit Card at a later date?
Yes. This is done on the Department of Labor's website. If you switch to Debit Card, Chase Bank will then mail a Debit Card to you.
6. Who do I contact if I have questions?
  • Your Personal Banking Institution: questions regarding your Direct Deposit Account.
  • Chase Bank Customer Service*: questions regarding receiving, activating or using your Debit Card or the depositing of funds onto your Debit Card. (*available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week at 1-866-315-7808).

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How does DirectBenefits apply to Unemployment Insurance?

1. Can I use the TeleBenefits phone line to select my “paperless” payment method?
No. For security reasons, you must use the Department of Labor?s secure website at https://sso.ctdol.state.ct.us if you select Direct Deposit. You may also use the website to select the Debit Card payment method. If no payment method is selected, Debit Card is the default payment method.
 
2. Can I select the Direct Deposit method if I have issues pending on my claim?
Yes. Enrolling in Direct Deposit will not affect the process of making an eligibility determination on your claim.
 
3. What should I do if my name or mailing address changes?
You can change your address by calling the Department of Labor Telebenefits Line.
 
4. Can someone from the Labor Department sign me up for Direct Deposit?
No. Department of Labor employees are not able to sign you up for either payment method.

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Direct Deposit - General Questions

1. What information is needed to sign up for Direct Deposit?
You will need to enter the following information onto the Department of Labor?s secure website at https://sso.ctdol.state.ct.us:

Bank Routing Number ? This number identifies the bank or credit union. For a checking account, it is the nine-digit number that usually appears on the lower left portion of a personal check. A savings account typically does not have the routing number listed, so you will need to contact your bank or credit union for the routing number.

Account Number ? For a checking account, the account number usually appears just to the right of the bank routing number on the check. It may be a series of digits followed by the
check number, or it may be a series of digits after the check number. The number of digits in an account number differs, depending on the bank or credit union. An account number may also include hyphens, spaces, or letters, and if so, they should be included when entering account information. A savings account number should be on a statement or passbook.

Note: The check number is not part of the account number. Please refer to the sample check below for information regarding routing and bank account numbers
.
sample check
If you are still unsure which numbers on a checking or savings account are the routing number and account number, contact your bank or credit union for assistance.

2. If I reside in Canada can I choose Direct Deposit?
No, Canadian banks are ineligible for this program. Residents of Canada can only receive payment via Debit Card.
3. Can I select Direct Deposit if I reside in Puerto Rico?
Yes, sign on to the Internet enrollment page at https://sso.ctdol.state.ct.us and enter the required information.
 
4. If I select the Direct Deposit payment method, how do I know my bank or credit union information is secure when I enter it on the Department of Labor’s website?
All information, including routing and account numbers, is sent via Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. SSL technology encrypts all personal information as it travels across the Internet, so it cannot be read. The information is then stored in a secure mainframe database independent from the Unemployment Insurance Internet application. Each time you file a claim and are determined eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits, your payment, which includes the routing and account numbers used for processing, will be passed from the secure mainframe database through secure file transfer methods to your checking or savings account.
 
5. What should I do if I don’t have a computer and want to opt for Direct Deposit?
You do not need a computer in your home to opt for Direct Deposit. You may use the computer of a friend or family member, or visit your local  American Job Center. You can also check computer availability at your local library to access the Department of Labor?s secure website at https://sso.ctdol.state.ct.us.  Remember: DO NOT share your user ID and/or password information with anyone.
 
6. If I was defaulted to the Debit Card method of payment and received a card in the mail but since that time I selected Direct Deposit – how can I determine by which method I will be paid?
  • From the DOL Home Page (http://www.ct.gov/dol), click on "Unemployment Benefits On-Line".
  • From the drop down menu click on "PERFORM A CLAIM INQUIRY".
  • Enter your User ID and Password. If you don't have a User ID or Password, you will need to create one by selecting ?Create An Account?.
  • Choose the option "PERFORM A CLAIM INQUIRY".
    • This page will indicate your most recent choice of payment method, the first of which indicates the method by which that particular week was paid.
    • Clicking on the column heading will provide the definition of each of the 2 letter indicators for payment. The 2 letter indicators for payment methods are: DC (Debit Card) and DD (Direct Deposit).
       
7. What if I want to know how a particular week was paid?
  • From the DOL Home Page (http://www.ct.gov/dol), click on "Unemployment Benefits On-Line".
  • From the drop down menu click on ?PERFORM A CLAIM INQUIRY?.
  • Enter your User ID and Password. If you don't have a User ID or Password, you will need to create one by selecting ?Create An Account?.
  • Choose the option "PERFORM A CLAIM INQUIRY”.
  • This option will provide you with a history of your payments, the first of which indicates the method by which that particular week was paid.
  • Clicking on the column heading will provide the definition of each of the 2 letter indicators for payment. The 2 letter indicators for payment methods are: DC (Debit Card) and DD (Direct Deposit).

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Direct Deposit - Technical Questions

1. Can I use the TeleBenefits phone line to select my “paperless” payment method?
No. For security reasons, you must use the Department of Labor?s secure website at https://sso.ctdol.state.ct.us if you select Direct Deposit. You may also use the website to select the Debit Card payment method. If no payment method is selected, Debit Card is the default payment method.
 
2. Can I select the Direct Deposit method if I have issues pending on my claim?
Yes. Enrolling in Direct Deposit will not affect the process of making an eligibility determination on your claim.
 
3. What should I do if my name or mailing address changes?
You can change your address by calling the Department of Labor Telebenefits Line.
 
4. Can someone from the Labor Department sign me up for Direct Deposit?
No. Department of Labor employees are not able to sign you up for either payment method.

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Debit Card - General Questions

1. How do I receive the Debit Card?
You will receive a Debit Card in the mail within 7 to 10 days after your continued claim(s) has been released for payment.
 
2. When the Debit Card is sent in the mail, what does the envelope look like?
The Debit Card will arrive in a white windowed envelope with a return address of P.O. Box 9044, Coppell TX 75019. The Connecticut Department of Labor name and logo will show through the return address window.  This is what the envelope will look like:


 
3. What will my DirectBenefits card look like?

As noted in the graphic above, the debit card has a green star with a blue glow in the background. The front of the card has the word ?Connecticut? in the top left corner and also displays the Chase and VISA logo.
 
4. I've collected benefits previously. Will I receive a new Debit Card?
No. If you have collected benefits on a debit card on a previous claim and no longer have the card, please contact Chase Customer Service at 1-866-315-7808, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
 
5. What should I do if I do not receive the Debit Card in the mail?
You should make sure your mailing address is up-to-date and double check your mail. You should receive your Debit Card in the mail within a week to 10 days after your continued claim(s) has been released for payment. You can call Chase Bank?s Customer Service at 1-866-315-7808 and let them know that you have not received the Debit Card.

This is what the envelope will look like:

6. What happens if the Debit Card is lost, stolen or damaged?
You should call Chase Bank Customer Service Center, 1-866-315-7808, immediately to report the card loss or damage, and request a new card. Any remaining balance will be transferred to the new card. There may be a fee to obtain a replacement card.
 
7. Do I need to activate the Debit Card before using it?
Yes, you should activate the card as soon as you receive it by calling the phone number listed on the debit card and following the instructions listed on the document to which the debit card is attached.  If your card is not activated within 180 days from the issued date, the card and the account that it's attached to will be closed.  Any benefits deposited to the debit card account will be sent back to the Connecticut Department of Labor.
 
8. I just found out that my Debit Card and its associated account were deactivated and closed by Chase. What do I do now?
After six months of inactivity Chase will close a debit card account.  Filing a payable weekly continued claim will begin the automated process to Chase to set up a new debit card.  Otherwise, a claimant may go online via the “select/modify payment method” to sign up for direct deposit.
 
9. Are there transaction fees and surcharges associated with the Debit Card?
Fees and surcharges can apply. It is important that you remain aware of your balance amount and it is recommended that you be familiar with the fee schedule and how to avoid Debit Card fees when using the Debit Card. Although the card does display the Visa logo, it is not a credit card. You are not extended money beyond your UI benefits balance.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Check the fee schedule to determine the number of free withdrawals allowed.
  • Avoid using ATMs that charge a surcharge to use the machine.
  • There is always a fee for using the ATM to check the balance on your Debit Card.
  • Whenever possible, use Chase Bank's free website service to check your balances and make inquiries.
     
10. May I use my Debit Card at a Chase Bank, Peoples United Bank, or Visa Member Bank?
Yes. An over-the-counter (non-ATM) cash withdrawal can be made at a Visa Member Bank free of charge unless you attempt to withdraw more money than you have remaining on the Debit Card.
 
11. May I use the Debit Card to make purchases?
Yes. You may use the Debit Card anywhere you see the Visa logo displayed.
 
12. May I use the Debit Card to make gasoline purchases?
Yes. You may purchase fuel with your Debit Card. However, you will not be able to use the “pay at the pump” feature. You must go inside and pre-pay for all fuel purchases.
 
13. Can I pay bills with the Debit Card?
Yes. You can pay bills online at www.myaccount.chase.com or present your 16-digit card number anywhere Visa is accepted, including online.
 
14. Can I use the Debit Card to make purchases on-line?
Yes. You can use the Debit Card to make purchases online by providing your 16-digit card number to online merchants that accept Visa.
 
15. Can I get into debt by using the Debit Card?
No. The Debit Card is a prepaid Visa Electronic Payment Card, not a credit card.
 
16. Can I use the Debit Card to build a credit history?
No. The Debit Card does not help establish credit history as no credit check is required to receive the card, and it is not tied to a bank account or a credit line.
 
17. May I use the Debit Card outside Connecticut or in another country?
Yes. You may use the Debit Card anywhere that accepts Visa or at any ATM. If using an ATM outside the United States, there is always a cash withdrawal fee for each transaction.
 
18. Will I be asked to show ID to use the Debit Card?
You may be required to show photo identification when making an in-bank withdrawal or store purchase depending upon store or bank policy.
 
19. What if a teller or cashier does not recognize the Debit Card and won't accept it?
If a teller or a cashier does not recognize the Debit Card, you should verify that you are at a location that accepts Visa. If it does, you should call Chase Bank Customer Service at 1-866-315-7808. The contact number for questions or problems is provided on the back of the Debit Card.
 
20. Will I receive a monthly Debit Card statement in the mail?
No. Chase Bank only provides a free monthly electronic statement for the account. You can view up to 12 months of statements online anytime at www.myaccount.chase.com by selecting “Account - Online Statements.” There is a fee to receive a monthly paper statement in the mail.
 
21. Can I request a second Debit Card for another individual such as a family member?
No. Only the person approved for unemployment insurance benefit payments will receive a card.
 
22. Can someone other than the person whose name is on it use the Debit Card?
No. For security reasons, you should never share your PIN or allow anyone else to use the Debit Card.
 
23. What should I do with the Debit Card after I stop collecting benefits?
Keep it. When the Debit Card is sent out it will have an expiration date three years from date of issue. Should you need to file another claim for unemployment benefits during this time, and you select the Debit Card payment method, the same card can be used.
 
24. Who do I contact for help with my Debit Card information and balances?
You can view all of your account information online for free at Chase Bank’s “My Account” website at www.myaccount.chase.com. You can also get help with the card by calling Chase Bank Customer Service at 1-866-315-7808. Remember to have the card number ready. The Labor Department does not have access to Debit Card information or balances.

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Debit Card Fees

1. What is an ATM surcharge?
An ATM surcharge is a fee charged by the ATM owner and the amount varies by owner.
 
2. How can I avoid paying paying debit card-related fees?
When using the Debit Card, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the fee schedule and how to avoid Debit Card fees.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Check the fee schedule to determine the number of free withdrawals allowed.
  • Avoid using ATMs that charge a surcharge to use the machine.
  • There is always a fee for using the ATM to check the balance on your Debit Card.
  • Whenever possible, use Chase Bank?s free website service to check your balances and make inquiries.
     
3. What should I do if I am charged an unexpected Debit Card transaction fee?
You should call Chase Bank Customer Service at 1-866-315-7808 for assistance. They will ask you for the 6-digit access code that you selected when you first activated the Debit Card.
 
4. Debit Card Fee Schedule
 
OVER-THE-COUNTER WITHDRAWAL
At Visa member bank/credit union unlimited free
RETAIL PURCHASE(S) - WITHIN FUND BALANCE
Select "Credit" - with signature unlimited free
Select "Debit" - enter PIN number unlimited free
Select "Debit" - with cash back unlimited free
ATM CASH WITHDRAWAL INSIDE THE U.S. AND CANADA
At Chase Bank or People's United Bank ATMs one free withdrawal per deposit;
$1.50 each withdrawal thereafter
At ATMs other than Chase or People's United Bank surcharges vary
ATM CASH WITHDRAWAL OUTSIDE THE U.S. AND CANADA
All ATM transactions $3.00 each
ATM BALANCE INQUIRY
Any ATM 85 cents each
ONLINE BILL PAYMENT
At www.myaccount.chase.com unlimited free
TRANSACTION DENIED
For insufficient funds no fee
CUSTOMER SERVICE
Online unlimited free
Phone 5 free per month - 25 cents thereafter
ACCOUNT STATEMENT
View/print online unlimited free
Paper statement mailed 95 cents per month
CARD REPLACEMENT
One replacement card per year free
More than one (standard delivery) $7.50 per card
More than one (expedited delivery) $17.50 per card
FUNDS TRANSFER
To a Chase Account unlimited free
To a non-Chase Account 75 cents each
INACTIVE ACCOUNT after 365 days - balance remaining

$1.50 per month

CHECK ISSUANCE to close account

$12.50 per check

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Debit Card - Technical Questions

1. How do I use my debit card to get cash at an ATM?
  • Insert the card into the ATM machine and enter your 4-digit PIN.
  • Press "Withdrawal" and then "Checking" and follow the instructions until the transaction is completed.
  • Do not forget to take the cash, the Debit Card, and the receipt.
  • You may use a Debit Card to perform a transaction at any Visa member bank. Visa member banks are banks that accept Visa cards and will often display the Visa logo on and around their offices.
  • If you are unsure if your bank is a Visa member bank, you should simply ask the teller.
  • When using the card at the bank teller window, you should present your card and tell the cashier the amount of cash you wish to receive. You may be asked to show identification and sign a receipt.
     
2. Can I transfer funds from my Debit Card to my personal checking or savings account?
No. There is no way to transfer funds. You can withdraw funds from the Debit Card and deposit them into a savings or checking account. You should be aware that this process is considered by Chase Bank to be an ATM withdrawal and could incur a fee.
 
3. Will I be able to add funds to my Debit Card?
No. Only the Department of Labor can deposit funds to the Debit Card.
 
4. How much money can I withdraw from an ATM?
You may withdraw up to the balance available in your account or the maximum amount allowed by the ATM. You should be aware that only a certain number of free ATM withdrawals are allowed.
 
5. What is an ATM denial?
An “ATM denial” occurs when you attempt to withdraw more money than is available in your account. An ATM denial will result in a fee. This will also result in an additional fee for insufficient funds. Note: An incorrect PIN entry is not considered an ATM denial.
 
6. What do I do if my Debit Card doesn't work or is rejected at the ATM?
  • If the Debit Card doesn’t work, you must make sure that it has been properly activated or is not damaged and that there are funds on the card.
  • In some cases, the ATM may be out of service or may not be on the network that accepts the Visa Debit card.
  • If the card still does not work, you should call Chase Bank Customer Service at 1-866-315-7808 for assistance. You will be asked for the 6-digit access code that you selected when you first activated the Debit Card.
     
7. If I receive multiple payments one week because a payment was delayed or I was owed for additional weeks, will the Debit Card allow for more than one free cash withdrawal that week?
You are allowed one free cash withdrawal for each deposit made to your Debit Card. If multiple weeks of unemployment benefits are deposited with the regular weekly benefit, you will only be able to make one free withdrawal. If additional funds for benefits are deposited separately from your weekly benefit, you can make one additional withdrawal free of charge.
 
8. What if I enter the wrong Debit Card PIN or forget the PIN?
You should not try to guess your PIN when entering it at an ATM or when making a purchase. For security reasons, the card may be locked after three (3) incorrect PIN entries. If you forget your PIN, you should call Chase Bank Customer Service at 1-866-315-7808 to select a new one.

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