Titus Calls on Governor Sandoval to Expedite State Plan to Relieve Financial Burden for Unemployed Nevadans

Feb 7, 2013
Press Release

February 7, 2013

Washington, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada’s First District sent a letter to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval encouraging him to work with the Nevada Legislature to expedite plans to reform the state’s delivery of unemployment compensation benefits to include a direct deposit option. Currently, Nevada’s system for delivering unemployment compensation benefits requires funds to be delivered through a bank-issued debit card, resulting in significant bank fees for the user. Nevada is one of only five states without a direct deposit option for unemployment recipients. 

“This is a difficult time for the record number of Nevadans currently out of work. We should do all that we can to support them as they seek new employment opportunities,” Congresswoman Titus said. “Providing Nevadans the option to receive unemployment compensation through direct deposit that avoids unnecessary bank fees just makes sense. I encourage Governor Sandoval to take immediate action on behalf of unemployed Nevadans and expedite the State’s plan to offer this option.”
 
Unemployment recipients receiving compensation through debit cards can incur fees each time they make a withdrawal, contact customer service, or check their account balance. These fees are not returned to the State, but are passed on to a Wall Street bank responsible for issuing the debit card. The United States Department of Labor does not mandate that states make direct deposit an option to recipients, but strongly encourages them to do so. The State of Nevada has reported a plan to reform their current system and make direct deposit an option in April of this year. 
 
In an effort to address this important issue and provide financial relief for Nevada’s unemployment recipients, Congresswoman Titus sent a letter to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. The full text of the letter can be read here: 
 
Dear Governor Sandoval, 
 
As you begin the 77th Session of the Nevada Legislature, I hope that you and our law makers are able to work in a bipartisan way to build a better Nevada. I write to you today to encourage you to expedite a change regarding the delivery of unemployment compensation benefits for Nevadans who are currently out of work. There are far too many unemployed Nevadans and I believe that we should do all we can to support them as they seek new employment opportunities. 
 
For those Nevadans who are eligible for unemployment compensation, their only option is to receive the funds through a debit card. Users of this card can incur significant fees each time they make a withdrawal, contact customer service, or just check their account balance. These fees are not returned to Nevada, but are passed on to a big Wall Street bank. I believe the State should institute a system that allows Nevadans receiving unemployment compensation to receive their claims without encountering unnecessary fees or hurdles. 
 
One option to meet this goal is through direct deposit which allows a claimant to utilize his/her current financial institution as a means to receive and access benefits. My understanding is that Nevada is planning to offer this option to unemployment recipients beginning in April of this year. 
 
The United States Department of Labor does not mandate that states make direct deposit an option to recipients, but strongly encourages them to do so. The media have recently reported that 45 states already follow such a policy, and it is unfortunate that Nevada is not one of them.  
 
I write to encourage you to expedite this change, so the State does not add to the economic burden of Nevadans who have been hit so hard by the recession. Should you need any assistance or guidance from the federal government, my Congressional office remains at your service. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Dina Titus 
Member of Congress