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Luria pushes for answers regarding use of prepaid debit cards for Economic Impact Payments

Elaine LuriaCongresswoman Elaine Luria has joined several of her House colleagues in a letter to Department of Treasury Secretary Mnuchin expressing constituents’ concerns regarding the Economic Impact Payments delivered in the form of a prepaid debit card.

The Bureau of Fiscal Service announced that they would issue roughly 4 million EIPs through prepaid debit cards rather than traditional paper checks.

“Economic impact payments have been critical for so many Americans struggling during this public health emergency; however, the use of prepaid debit cards to deliver this economic relief has proven problematic to constituents across Coastal Virginia,” said Luria. “That’s why we have called on Secretary Mnuchin to address these concerns, so our constituents are able to easily access the money they were promised and desperately need.”

The constituents’ concerns regarding EIP prepaid debt cards that were highlighted in this letter include:

  • The EIP prepaid debit cards are being sent in plain white envelopes, which can easily be mistaken for unsolicited mail and thrown away.
  • Multiple fees are related to using these prepaid debit cards including:
    • $5 for each additional transaction after the first withdrawal
    • $2 for out-of-network ATM withdrawals after the first withdrawal.
  • Activation for cards are asking for unusual information such as six digits of their Social Security Number.
  • EIP card providers have a $1,000/day ATM withdrawal limit, requiring recipients to make multiple trips to access all of their funds. Some banks also have lower daily withdrawal limits.
  • The cards require you to go to a website or download an app to transfer funds to your personal account, making it harder for people without reliable internet access.

Luria has been a consistent advocate for constituents in need of economic relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, Luria urged both the IRS and Treasury Department to establish a telephone hotline during COVID-19 for constituents without internet access so that they can better access information regarding Economic Impact Payments (EIPS). In May, Luria led a Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs subcommittee hearing on the issue of compensation and pension (C&P) exams in the time of COVID-19.

Following the hearing, both the IRS and Treasury Department committed to working with VA to ensure veterans who receive C&P benefit payments automatically receive a stimulus payment—an issue many veterans were running into during COVD-19.

Find the full letter here.

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