Can I Put Cash on an Unemployment Benefits Card in Michigan ?

Many jobless people receive weekly or biweekly benefits from state agencies. These benefits are intended to provide individual financial support so that they can look for a job. These benefits may be provided a number of different ways, such as through direct deposit into a bank account or through the receipt of a check. In Michigan, individuals can choose to receive benefits on a special debit card. They cannot deposit money onto this card, however.


Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment benefits are cash payments that, unlike food stamps or other forms of vouchers, can be used to purchase any kind of item. Before receiving benefits in Michigan, the person must apply to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency and then reclaim benefits for each pay period. After he claims benefits, the state agency will send him money. If he chooses, he can have this money deposited on a special state-issued card.

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Michigan Benefits Card

A person can opt to have her money placed on a Michigan unemployment insurance debit card. This card functions like a normal debit card linked to an account. The unemployment insurance agency will deposit more money on this card every week. After the money has been placed on the card, the individual can either use the card to make purchases at places where debit cards are accepted or draw cash from it at an ATM.


Depositing Money

The difference between this kind of debit card and a normal debit card is that this money is not linked to a regular checking account. Most debit cards are linked to checking accounts into which a person can deposit and withdraw money. However, unemployment insurance cards only allow a person to withdraw money off the card, not deposit it, as with a checking account. A person cannot, therefore, place cash on the card, only take it off.


If a person wishes to have a debit card that he can place cash on, then he must establish a checking account with a bank that will allow him to place money in an account for safekeeping. Many checking accounts are available to individuals at a low monthly fee. In addition, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency is willing to deposit money directly into a person's checking account through the direct deposit program.