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Democrats Abroad Publish Recommendations on CARES Act

Using data from a recent survey, Democrats Abroad have highlighted the issues facing overseas Americans when receiving Economic Impact Payments

Published on November 30, 2020

Payment Cash in Hand Photo: Alexander Mils

Democrats Abroad have published a series of recommendations for the deployment of potential future Economic Impact Payments, in order to make them easier for overseas Americans to receive and use. The recommendations follow a recent Democrats Abroad survey, where the organization asked for Americans living overseas to explain their experience of the payments that followed the CARES Act in March 2020.

Publishing the results of the survey alongside their recommendations, Democrats Abroad confirmed that the survey received more than 4000 respondents, and thanked all those who took the time to take part.

Among the main findings of the survey:

• 51 percent of US residents received their Economic Impact Payment (EIP) within two weeks of the passage of the CARES Act, while for 50 percent of non-residents, it took two months.
• 75 percent of US residents received an EIP by direct deposit into their bank account, compared with just 31% of non-residents.
• For non-residents who received an EIP check, it took on average 78.5 days for the check to arrive, plus an additional week for most to allow the check to clear before funds were received.
• 37 percent of respondents tried to use the 'Get My Payment' tool for further information, although 87 percent reported having problems accessing the tool.
• 54 percent of those who received an EIP Check had stated their preference was to receive the payment via direct debit into their local bank in their country of residence. • More than 60 percent of respondents reported having difficulty submitting their 2019 US tax return.

With the possibility of a further Economic Impact Payment to support US Taxpayers from the ongoing financial pressure of the pandemic, Democrats Abroad have issued recommendations based on their findings to support overseas Americans. The recommendations also provide a useful basis for addressing other regular problems faced by overseas Americans attempting to use US Government services.

Among the recommendations, Democrats Abroad say that:

• For future pandemic aid packages, eligible Americans abroad should "be given the option to have the aid delivered by direct deposit into their local bank account (i.e., in their country of residence)".
• "The Non-Filers and Get My Payment tools need to be adjusted to permit Americans living outside the US to input their local address, phone number, and either US bank account information or their local bank account information, i.e.,the International Bank Account Number (IBAN)".
• "We recommend Congress hold hearings in the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee on the taxation of Americans abroad."

For the full research and recommendations, go to www.democratsabroad.org/carmelan/dems_abroad_publishes_americans_abroad_and_cares_act_aid_research_and_recommendations.

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