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Lincoln – Economic assistance and provider payments will be changing, and the Department of Health and Human Services is asking recipients to indicate by July 6, whether they want funds directly deposited in their bank account or prefer to receive a pre-paid debit card, said Thomas Pristow, director of Children and Families Services.
Starting with payments processed July 9, DHHS will issue payments electronically, he said. Funds for recipients selecting the debit card will be automatically deposited to a U.S. Bank ReliaCard® to make purchases anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. When a transaction occurs, the purchase amount is immediately deducted from the debit card account.
“It’s important for recipients to indicate by July 6, whether they want payments to be direct deposits in their bank account or the debit card,” Pristow said. “If they don’t provide a preference by that date, recipients will receive the debit card.”
“We’ve found with our Medicaid program that a debit card increases security, reduces stigma, is more cost effective and makes benefits more accessible,” Pristow said. “Transactions are more efficient, accurate and traceable, and deposits are immediate with no risk of lost or stolen checks. The cards are protected by a personal identification number.”
Recipients have received notices of the change with their checks, which will continue to be sent through the July 6 deadline.
He said the electronic payments will be for such programs as aid to dependent children, low-income energy assistance, the aged, blind or disabled, and others. Provider payments include such programs as child care, Employment First services and emergency assistance.