8 Financial Dates for Your October 2020 Calendar

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Life moves quickly. It’s easy to get distracted. But that 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 2021-2022 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, 2022, 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. 7 — Vice presidential debate

Presidential and vice presidential election debates technically are not financial dates, but they are indirectly related to your finances. The White House, as the executive branch of the federal government, arguably has more power to affect your finances than any other part of the federal government except for Congress, the legislative branch.

The one and only vice presidential debate of this election season will run from 9 to 10:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 7.

Oct. 15 — Open enrollment starts for Medicare

The 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 2021 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 2021.

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 2019 tax return by July 15? 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 that date to file their return.

“Taxpayers should remember they can file whenever they’re ready,” the IRS said in a recent announcement about the deadline.

Oct. 15 — Nonfiler deadline for stimulus payments

This deadline applies only to people who were not required to file a federal tax return for 2018 or 2019, and who might be eligible for (but have yet to receive) a stimulus payment established by the CARES Act.

The IRS is giving these folks until Oct. 15 to use the IRS.gov Non-Filers tool to register to receive their stimulus payments, which generally are worth $1,200 per adult. The federal agency explains:

“The Non-Filers tool is designed for people with incomes typically below $24,400 for married couples, and $12,200 for singles. This includes couples and individuals who are homeless. People can qualify, even if they do not have earned income or work.”

The IRS says it expects that people who register by Oct. 15 will receive their stimulus payments — which the IRS refers to as “economic impact payments” — by the end of the year.

Oct. 15 — Second presidential debate

Presidential debates technically are not financial dates, but they are indirectly related to your finances. The president, as head of the executive branch of the federal government, arguably has more power to affect your finances than any other part of the federal government except for Congress, the legislative branch.

The second 2020 presidential election debate will be Oct. 15 from 9 to 10:30 p.m. ET.

Oct. 22 — Third presidential debate

The third and final 2020 presidential debate of this election season on Oct. 22 also will run from 9 to 10:30 p.m. ET.

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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