(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Rep. Lois Frankel (FL-21) and 28 colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, raising concerns expressed by constituents who received their Economic Impact Payment (EIP) in the form of prepaid debit cards.
The Members wrote: “While most EIP recipients have received their payments through direct deposit, the IRS announced on May 27, 2020 that they would issue nearly 4 million payments in the form of debit cards instead of paper checks. The Bureau of Fiscal Service, part of the Treasury Department, is determining which individuals receive debit cards without providing any eligibility guidance or explanation. This has raised serious concerns about the ability for many Americans to seamlessly access this critical relief created by Congress to help the American public during this time of great uncertainty and desperation.”
The letter lists some of the concerns Rep. Frankel has heard from constituents, including:
- Many eligible individuals are still waiting to receive their EIPs and are unclear on when those funds will be provided to them.
- 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.
For full text of the letter, click here.