5 Big Financial Dates for Your October Calendar

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Life moves quickly. It’s easy to get distracted. But it can also 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.

So, we’ve rounded up the big money dates that are coming up in October. Take a look and make a note of any 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 2020-2021 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 (DOE).

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, 2021, to submit the form, but you should not delay.

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. 6 — Target rewards program launches

Attention, Target shoppers: The retailer’s new rewards program, Target Circle, launches nationwide on Oct. 6.

To learn about the benefits and how to join the program — which is free — check out “Target’s New Loyalty Program Will Offer 1% Back and Extra Discounts.”

Oct. 15 — Tax return deadline for extension filers

Did you request a six-month extension from the IRS earlier this year, instead of filing your 2018 tax return by April? If so, Oct. 15 is one deadline you do not want to miss — it’s Tax Day for you.

Of course, Uncle Sam wants taxpayers who received an extension to know that they don’t have to wait until then to file their return.

“They can file whenever they are ready,” the IRS said in a recent announcement about the upcoming deadline.

Oct. 15 — Open enrollment starts for Medicare

The open enrollment period for Medicare — the federal health insurance program primarily reserved 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.

Until then, keep an eye on Medicare.gov, the official Medicare website. Information about 2020 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 plan’s coverage, cost or service area that will take effect in 2020.

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.

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.

Would you add any dates to this list? Share in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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