The Americans abroad community thanks Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV01) for leading members of Congress on a letter to the federal government asking for system adaptations to ensure Americans abroad can access aid in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act for which they are eligible. Download the letter here.
The 23 April letter seeks the following:
- changes to the IRS's Non-Filers Enter Information Here web tool so that Americans abroad can enter non-US bank accounts and non-US phone numbers. This tool is only for those who do not file annual returns because their income is below the tax-free threshold. If you have not filed for 2018 or 2019 but your income is greater than $12,000 for singles and $24,000 for married filing jointly then this tool is not for you.
- changes to the IRS's Get My Payment web tool so that Americans abroad who file but who have no bank account details on file with the IRS can provide them. The tool requires adaptations to enable Americans abroad to provide non-US post codes and non-US bank accounts.
- a mechanism for Americans abroad who are paying off federal student loans to claim CARES Act 60-day loan forbearance. Many Americans abroad are unable to use the toll-free numbers used to contact student loan servicers.
We also thank Rep Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Rep Ro Khanna (D-CA) for their support.
Reversing CARES Act aid exclusion for families with members with no SSNs
It is appalling that the CARES Act economic stimulus payment provisions specifically exclude from eligibility families who have a members who has no Social Security Number. This provision takes square aim at immigrants but also harms American families abroad that are bi-national. Americans abroad with non-US citizen spouses often file taxes Married Filing Jointly, putting the non-US citizen spouse into the U.S. taxation system. Non-US citizens filing with their US spouse with an ITIN rather than a SSN are finding themselves, their spouse and their children ineligible for the $1200 per taxpayer and $500 per child CARES Act aid.
We are grateful to Rep. Dina Titus and the other 53 sponsors for H.R. 6438 legislation introduced on April 3 that would specifically reverse this provision. H.R. 6437, the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act also, amongst other things, expands eligibility for those with an ITIN.
Democrats Abroad is following the legislation closely and will report back on progress via the Dems Abroad CARES Act Aid FAQs.
Please send CARES Act aid questions to the Democrats Abroad Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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