Out-of-work Ohio residents whose unemployment payments are loaded onto prepaid cards will no longer be able to use their cards when their balances fall below zero.

Policy Matters Ohio, a liberal think tank, said on its website Monday that U.S. Bancorp (USB), which issues jobless benefits cards on the state's behalf, has agreed to stop charging a $17 fee to unemployment recipients who overdraw their accounts at a point of sale or automated teller machine.

The Dayton Business Journal first reported the news on its Web site Monday. The change is expected to take effect Wednesday, July 18.

Policy Matters applauded the move, saying it will allow unemployed Ohioans to keep more money in their pockets.

"This is the right move for unemployed Ohioans," David Rothstein, Policy Matters' project director for asset building, said in a statement. "Unemployed workers cannot afford to have any part of their compensation siphoned off. It's critical that public dollars go directly to the families."

U.S. Bancorp's ReliaCard is available to unemployed workers who have opted not to have their unemployment funds deposited directly into their bank accounts. The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services estimates that 30% to 40% of the state's unemployed workers receive benefits on the ReliaCard, rather than through direct deposit at a bank or credit union.

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