The Social Security Disability Insurance program is starting a test program in April that will permit SSDI recipients in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas to collect benefits through direct deposits to debit card accounts.

Beneficiaries who lived near the bank running the SSDI Direct Express debit card program, Comerica Inc., Dallas, could get one free cash withdrawal per month but would have to pay 90 cents for each additional cash withdrawal, according to SSDI experts at Allsup Inc., Belleville, Ill., a firm that helps people with disabilities apply for SSDI benefits.

Financial professionals who work with SSDI recipients should point out that some may be better off opening a conventional bank account or continuing to collect checks, Allsup says.

The debit card system will work best for recipients who do not have or want a bank account but have easy access to Comerica automated teller machines, Allsup says.