New COVID-19 relief package

4 min
Published on: 23-12-2020 Last modified on: 18-03-2024

The US has a new COVID-19 relief package financial aid package of $600, – for every US citizen, also for the ones living abroad.

US Lawmakers struck a roughly $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus deal that includes another round of stimulus checks and badly needed jobless benefits for struggling Americans, ending a long standoff in Washington with one of the biggest rescue bills in U.S. history.

After months of impasse, negotiations came down to the wire as 12 million people are set to lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas. 

The deal includes $600 direct payment to most Americans, according to the 5,600 page text of the bill.

Here’s what is in the stimulus package for Americans living overseas:

Stimulus check $600 

The measure contains a $600 direct payment to Americans who earned up to $75,000 in 2019. That is less than the $1,200 checks approved in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act in March. 

  • It provides $600 per child, up from $500 in the spring. The bill also includes $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 a year.
  • The size of the benefit would be reduced for those earning more than $75,000, or $150,000 per married couple, similar to the last round of stimulus checks.
  • The amount will decrease by $5 for every $100 of income above those thresholds, phasing out entirely at $87,000 for individuals and $174,000 for couples.
  • There is no cap on the number of children a household can claim, so a family of four would receive up to $2,400.

The government will begin to send out direct payments to millions of Americans next week, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Valid Social Security numbers needed to receive aid

Not everyone gets a check, however. You’ll need to have provided a valid social security number for yourself, your spouse, and any qualifying children on your tax returns, and those who are claimed as a dependent on another’s tax return also won’t be receiving a payment.

Those without Social Security numbers, typically unauthorized immigrants, still aren’t eligible. However, it would allow U.S. citizens who are married to foreign nationals without Social Security numbers to receive the aid.

Cashing the check(s) 

Unfortunately in the Netherlands, cashing the check with the ING bank is not possible anymore (since Jan 1st, 2021).

If you already have a paper check and are having trouble exchanging it at your local bank, there is an option to open a free account with the SDFCU   (State Department Federal Credit Union). Although the name sounds like it is government-related, it is not we have been told. Please note that you always need a Social Security Number and in some cases the original SSN certificate which shows your SSN number.

A second option is to travel to other countries (other than the Netherlands). Banks in other countries might offer the possibility to exchange paper cheques. Americans Overseas receives more comments on how German banks no longer accept checks to non-German clients.

A third option is to endorse the check to someone with a US bank account. Please check the bank for further instructions on how to endorse.

You can find any additional information and the latest news on the Cares Act on the IRS website.


No action should be taken based on Americans Overseas information without seeking proper professional and or further consultation. Americans Overseas can in no event be held liable. Americans Overseas therefore urges clients to do their own due diligence.

Need more information on the new COVID-19 relief package?

We, the founders of Americans Overseas, were born in the Netherlands and obtained our American nationality through our (American) mother.

When we heard about the US tax system for the first time around 2013, we were in total disbelief (it can’t be true!), anger (how can they do this?), fear (am I going to get fined or pick up other problems?), and panic (what should I do?). It is (unfortunately) true that there is an additional American tax levy. But there’s no information from the local government, and when approached, the consulate referred us to the IRS, and the IRS was impenetrable.

That’s why we started this initiative to help people from all over the world by providing proper information about the US tax system to avoid unnecessary panic and offering help free of obligation and free of charge. If needed, we have a network of affordable professionals (accountants) who can help you with your tax obligations.

Contact us for more information


Sources: USA Today, Washington Post 

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Understanding the US tax system, the obligations, and all the additional terms can be difficult. Especially if one lives outside of America. Is your question not answered? Contact us.

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