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SPRINGFIELD — Unemployment benefits no longer will be made available on debit cards, the Illinois Department of Employment Security says.

The change will take effect Dec. 27 for benefit recipients who opted for a debit card option as their preferred method of payment, IDES said in a news release.

After that date, debit-card benefit recipients will begin to receive paper checks.

The department will continue to make direct-deposit payments to recipients who chose that option.

Debit cards are going away as an option because the department's vendor, KeyBank, "made the decision to stop providing debit cards for unemployment insurance benefit purposes," according to IDES.

The agency said IDES has contracted with Chase bank to issue paper checks to debit card holders to make sure payments aren't interrupted.

The release didn't say whether the state is trying to make arrangements with another vendor for debit card payments. An agency spokeswoman didn't return a phone call from The State Journal-Register.

KeyBank didn't respond to an email from the SJ-R.

Benefit recipients will continue to have access to remaining funds on their KeyBank debit card, but no further payments will be made to those cards beginning Dec. 27, IDES officials said.

KeyBank debit cards will continue to work until the card expires, but benefit recipients are "strongly encouraged" to switch to direct deposit, IDES said.

Instructions on how to switch to direct deposit can be found in the Direct Deposit Guide on the IDES website at

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