Unemployment benefits now available via direct deposit

People who collect unemployment benefits can now have the money deposited directly into their bank accounts each week rather than waiting for a paper check.
The Employment Security Department recently introduced direct deposit as part of its effort to streamline operations and reduce fraud. Claimants who sign up for direct deposit avoid the threat of having their checks lost or stolen, and they do not have to worry about mail delays or having their checks delivered to the wrong address.
People who apply for unemployment benefits over the Internet can sign up for direct deposit at the same time. Those who apply by phone can sign up through the unemployment benefits section of the agency’s Web site at esd.wa.gov. They need to provide the name, routing number and account number for their bank or credit union.
The direct-deposit site is fully encrypted to keep information secure. Users must have an existing claim to log in and must use a personal identification number (PIN) to access information about their accounts. The site also includes a character-recognition test to guard against hackers running automated programs.
Participation is voluntary. Claimants who do not choose direct deposit will continue to receive checks by mail.