6 Financial Dates and Deadlines in October 2021

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Life moves quickly. It’s easy to get distracted. But that can be costly.

Miss an important financial date or deadline, and you could be on the hook for a penalty or lose out on a limited-time opportunity to save money.

Enter our “Money Calendar” series.

In this edition, we’ve rounded up the noteworthy money dates in October 2021. Take a look and mark your calendar with any dates that apply to you.

Oct. 1 — New FAFSA available

If you or your child or grandchild will attend college next year, take note: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form for the 2022-2023 school year will be available starting Oct. 1.

You will find the form on the website of the Federal Student Aid office, a division of the U.S. Department of Education.

The FAFSA is key to various types of financial assistance. The Education Department explains:

“[T]he FAFSA form is not just the application for ‘free money’ such as the Federal Pell Grant, it’s also the application for Federal Work-Study funds, federal student loans, and even scholarships and grants offered by your state, school, or private organization. If you don’t complete the FAFSA form, you could lose out on thousands of dollars to help you pay for college.”

Oct. 1 is also the first day that you can fill out a FAFSA for the next school year. The federal government gives you until June 30, 2023, to submit the form, but you should not delay.

Many colleges and states have their own FAFSA deadlines, which could be earlier than the federal deadline. And generally, the sooner you file a FAFSA, the better your chances of receiving aid.

“If you want to get the most financial aid possible, fill out the FAFSA form ASAP,” the Education Department says. “Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and some states and colleges run out of money early.”

Oct. 3 — Temporary U.S. Postal Service price increases start

The U.S. Postal Service will again hike prices temporarily for the holiday shipping season. The increases, which will affect services like Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail, will be in effect from Oct. 3 through Dec. 25. So, if you expect to ship anything via USPS soon, try to get it out before Oct. 3.

The new prices that will be in effect during this temporary period are available on the USPS website.

Oct. 4 — Amazon’s holiday beauty sale starts

This month, Amazon will host a new type of sale, a three-week-long beauty product event called “Holiday Beauty Haul,” the company recently confirmed to CNBC. The sale is planned for Oct. 4 to Oct. 25.

Oct. 15 — Open enrollment starts for Medicare

The fall open enrollment period for Medicare — the federal health insurance program primarily for folks age 65 and older — starts Oct. 15 and runs until Dec. 7.

If you’re on Medicare, this period is your opportunity to make changes to your health care plan and drug plan for next year.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on Medicare.gov, the official Medicare website. Information about 2022 plans will be available there in October.

Also, round up the following documents, which you should review before deciding whether to change your plan for the new year:

  • Evidence of Coverage (EOC): This document includes information about your current plan, such as what it covers and how much you pay.
  • Annual Notice of Change (ANOC): This document includes any changes to your current plan’s coverage, cost or service area that will take effect in 2022.

You should receive both of these documents from your current plan in September. If you haven’t received them, Medicare.gov advises that you contact your plan.

Oct. 15 — Tax return deadline for extension filers

Did you request an extension from the IRS earlier this year, instead of filing your 2020 tax return by May 17? If so, Oct. 15 is one deadline you do not want to miss — it’s Tax Day for you.

Dates vary — Open enrollment starts for many employer plans

If you have health insurance through your employer, the chances are good that open enrollment starts in October or later this fall. If you’re unsure of exactly when it starts, check with your employer so you aren’t caught off guard by it.

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