Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Social Security Hodge Podge

There are a number of Social Security items of note today...first this Wall Street Journal article regarding “payday lenders” and continuing attempts to take advantage of seniors who receive direct deposit payments from Social Security each month. The WSJ reports:

“Social Security recipients with direct deposit can effectively use future benefits as collateral for short-term, high-interest loans. Some lenders require borrowers to have their Social Security checks deposited directly into banks that partner with the lenders. Typically, the banks are in other states and provide no checks or ATM cards to the borrowers. Thus, borrowers can get their monthly Social Security benefits only by visiting the lenders to pick up what remains after loan payments, interest and fees are deducted. Some lenders 'attempt to exercise too much control' over payments sent to beneficiaries and
then automatically transferred to the lenders, Social Security said”.

You can expect lenders to fight any changes. So far, SSA has only asked for public comment in a Federal Register notice and the agency says it has not decided what changes to make.

It’s Not Too Late

A reminder to seniors...it’s not too late to file for a stimulus check. Even though the IRS April 15th tax deadline has come and gone you have until the end of the year to file for a stimulus check. The IRS Stimulus Information Center advises Social Security recipients:

“The sooner you file the sooner you can receive your stimulus payment. But if you are filing to establish your eligibility for the stimulus payment, filing by Oct. 15 means the IRS can process your return and issue a stimulus payment before the end of the year”

You can also download the 1040A form, all of the details you need to file a stimulus request from the IRS and free software to process an online filing here.


Austin said...

Hi, I work for a company that manages and tracks gift cards. I commented on our blog at savvywallet.com. I'm writing in regards to the IRS Stimulus. It's great thing. However, be careful of some IRS stimulus scams. Also be careful when retailers try to persuade you to exchange your stimulus for gift cards with added bonuses. I say this because many time people end up losing their gift cards, and the money is not replaceable. Keep your IRS as cash, pay it towards your debt, or put it towards that HDTV you've always wanted. Don't get stuck gift card-less.

Anonymous said...

Amen. Consumers Union has also reported that these are generally a waste, as hundreds of millions of dollars, even billions, of gift card 'value' go unused, lapse, or are consumed in 'fees.'