Debit Card Options for Unemployment Benefits Ending

By Benjamin Cox on November 24, 2021 at 2:12pm

The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced Monday that unemployment benefits’ disbursement is going through a major overhaul.

IDES Acting Director Kim Richards says the decision to revamp payment options came after KeyBank decided to stop providing debit cards for unemployment insurance benefit purposes: “Beginning on December 27th, claimants who defaulted to a debit card option as the preferred method of payment will begin receiving paper checks instead of the benefits being placed on a debit card. The department will continue to make benefit payments as normal to those claimants who chose to receive them via direct deposit.”

To ensure there is no interruption or extended gaps in benefit payments to claimants, IDES has contracted with Chase bank to issue the paper checks. Benefit payments will be made via paper check rather than a debit card. The press release on Monday didn’t say whether IDES is trying to make arrangements with another vendor for debit card payments.

Direct deposit of unemployment benefits to the claimant’s banking institution is still available. While claimants will still have access to remaining funds on their KeyBank debit card, no further payments will be made to those cards beginning December 27th. The KeyBank cards will work as usual until that date.

Richards says those who have a debit card should consider switching to direct deposit: “If you are currently receiving a debit card from KeyBank in order to receive your unemployment insurance benefits, we want to encourage you to visit the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s website and consider switching your method of payment to direct deposit prior to December 27th.”

Step-by-step instructions on switching to direct deposit can be found in the Direct Deposit Guide on the IDES website at For those not selecting a direct deposit option, paper checks will be mailed to the address associated with the claimant’s account. Residents should create an ILogin account to ensure their address is up-to-date.

Information about creating an ILogin account can be found at