Like many of your neighbors in Rome, Georgia, you must work to support yourself and your family. Unfortunately, though, a debilitating illness or serious injury may make working impossible. If so, applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may be an effective way to make ends meet.

If you are eligible to receive disability payments from the Social Security Administration, you can choose how you access the funds. Specifically, you can pick either a paper check, direct deposit or a prepaid debit card. Before choosing the latter, though, you should understand some of the benefits and drawbacks of the SSDI debit card.

The card works like a regular debit card

Debit cards make shopping for everyday items and paying monthly bills a breeze. When you make a payment, funds immediately deduct from your account. The SSDI debit card, provided by Direct Express, works like most other debit cards. Still, because there is no overdraft protection on the Direct Express card, you can only spend up to your balance. When the funds are gone, you must wait until your next SSDI payment date for them to replenish.

Funds appear automatically

After receiving approval for SSDI benefits, your funds automatically appear on your SSDI debit card. If you opt for a paper check, by contrast, you must wait a few days after your payment date for your check to arrive. Then, you must cash or deposit the check. Note, though, the SSA offers direct deposit of SSDI funds into an existing account. If you already have a debit card or checking account and opt for direct deposit, your funds appear immediately on your payment date.

You must pay certain charges

While there is no annual fee with the SSDI debit card, you are likely to pay some fees when using yours. If you go to an ATM, Direct Express charges an $0.85 service fee. The bank that owns the ATM may also charge you a fee to withdraw cash. Still, there are some in-network ATMs that do not require you to pay an additional fee if you only withdraw cash once per month. If you want to transfer funds from your SSDI card to a checking or savings account, you also must pay a $1.50 service fee. Transfers typically take three business days to process.

As you can see, there are some advantages and drawbacks of receiving SSDI funds through a Direct Express debit card. If you do not have a bank account or like the convenience of using a debit card, though, opting for this delivery method may be a good choice.