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Some Illinoisans Complain They Receive Unemployment Benefits, But No Debit Card To Access Them

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The money is there - they just can't get to it.

CBS 2 is committed to Working for Chicago, so when we continued to hear from people who have received unemployment benefits, but no way to access them, our Tara Molina started digging.

She brought us those details Wednesday night.

A debit card is one of the options you have when you apply for unemployment benefits. But what happens when the benefits hit the account weeks before you get the card?

That is the problem Jordan Zell ran into. He has been waiting and waiting and waiting on unemployment benefits that are available - just not accessible.

"We check the mailbox every day – nothing," Zell said.

Zell opted for a debit card when he successfully applied and certified for unemployment benefits.

It can take two to three weeks to get the card. Zell said he has waited about five.

"It's very frustrating," he said. "And I know good and well I'm not the only one."

He's not. We've heard from others, who can see through their account online that their benefits were deposited, but into accounts they have no card to access.

"People do have bills to pay," Zell said.

And they end up waiting weeks on money they need.

"You don't know where it's at. You can't track it. You don't know if someone got their hands on it and is using it or if they even sent it out," Zell said.

He said he has not been able to get through to Illinois Department of Employment Security for help over the phone.

So Molina reached out to Illinois Department of Employment Security and the bank they have contracted with, for the debit cards - Key Bank, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

Molina was told the cards should arrive in that two- to thre-week timeline in a plain white envelope.

And if they don't?

A spokesperson for Key Bank said Jordan, and people in his position, can reach one of their representatives and have a card sent directly.

Key Bank said:

"Any claimant who has not yet received a Key2Benefits card should contact us at (866) 295-2955 to speak to a representative and have a card sent directly to them. Once received, the claimant should activate the card and create a 4-digit PIN by calling the number on the back of the card which will then allow them to access their benefits. Once the card is activated, they can track transactions through"

CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.

We'll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.

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