NewsLocal News


Where are the unemployment debit cards?

Posted at 5:55 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 19:44:53-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — For some who have been able to get through to New York State Unemployment, there’s another issue when it comes to how they’re getting their money.

For many, like Irvin Bates Sr. from Buffalo, the problems surround the KeyBank unemployment debit card, which has all the unemployment money on it.

“It’s getting to the point that I can’t sleep at night,” he said. “I’m worried about how I’m going to take care of things.”

Bates has been waiting more than seven weeks for his KeyBank unemployment card to arrive in the mail after he was laid off from his job at a local factory.

“I’m worried about food, I’m worried about how I’m going to eat,” he said. “Each week it says ‘credited to the debit card but I have not received the debit card.”

Bates estimates the card should now have about $7,000 on it, which is money the disabled veteran says he needs to pay bills.

It’s the same story for Jeff Schuler, who says he was a bus aid before the pandemic started.

“This is going on seven weeks,” he said.

Seven weeks he’s been waiting for his money, and the debit card.

“It’s supposed to be in a plain envelope from KeyBank,” he said. “A couple people I know told me to call KeyBank which I did. I get a recording stating to call back within 21 days…which I did.”

Both Bates and Schuler say no one answers.

So we called, and got that same recording. We then took our questions to KeyBank’s Media Relations Team.

They released the following statement:

“Over the past few weeks, unemployment claims across the country have risen exponentially. During this unprecedented time, Key has issued more than 20x the normal rate of Key2Benefits cards - with limited issues. However, as a result of the demand, Key’s call center is also receiving significantly higher call volumes – 10x the normal rate – which is leading to substantial wait times. “

Key says additionally, it is adding staff to deal with the issues and increasing its call volume capacity.

The New York State Department of Labor released the following statement saying:

“Receiving your debit card in the mail takes longer than direct deposit, and we encourage all New Yorkers to use direct deposit if possible — but we also expect all of our contractors to responsibly and reliably deliver benefits to New Yorkers, and that includes KeyBank. We will ensure every single New Yorker who is entitled to unemployment benefits gets them.”