Disability, Retirement Benefits And Debit Card Fees

On Monday, we mentioned how Social Security benefits will be entirely electronic by next spring. Beneficiaries – whether disability or retirement – will need to receive their benefits through either direct deposit or the government’s own debit card, the Direct Express card.

The Direct Express card will be the option that Americans without access to a savings or checking account will select, but they need to be careful to avoid losing some of their benefits each month. If you have ever used a debit card, you are probably well aware of the major problem that beneficiaries will face – fees.

Fees to Get Your Social Security Benefits

The money on the Direct Express card is yours; obtaining that money without incurring fees is another story. You will have to be careful of where you use your card and where you withdraw money.

With the Direct Express card, you get one free ATM withdrawal per month. Any withdrawal after that costs 90 cents each time. An additional catch is that you have to use an ATM that is in the Direct Express card network. A list of qualifying ATMs is available on the Direct Express website. Banks like Comerica Bank, Charter One, Alliance One and PNC Bank are in the network, but other major banks like Chase and Bank of America are not. If you withdraw money from one of these banks outside of the Direct Express card network, you will generally end up paying $3 for the right do so. Depending on how much you withdrawal, this fee could be quite costly. A $3 fee on a $20 withdrawal, for example, amounts to a 15 percent penalty. On a $40 withdrawal, it is still a costly 7.5 percent.

One way to avoid the fees is to use your Direct Express card for purchases similar to the way you use a credit card. There are no fees when you use your card in this manner. If you or a loved one has recently considered filing for disability benefits, look through our website to find out how our Tulsa Oklahoma Social Security disability attorneys can help you through the process.


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