Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act: help for US citizens at home and abroad

How can the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act help US citizens living abroad?

A graphic showing a map of the US with the US flag, plus stethoscope
US Congress has passed the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and it has been signed into law by President Donald Trump. The CARES Act is an historic $2 trillion federal stimulus package, created to provide a safety net for American workers, including the self-employed and gig workers, and companies.While this is clearly of benefit to Americans living in the United States, the CARES Act will also help US citizens living abroad.

What are the provisions of the CARES Act?

  • Americans living abroad who have adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 (single), $150,000 (joint), or $112,500 (heads of household) are entitled to up to $1,200 payment, plus $500 per child.
  • Federal student loan interest rates are automatically set to 0% for 60 days, and individuals can request suspension of payments for 60 days.
  • Americans living overseas with small businesses may be able to tap into a range of support to help them retain employees and pay salaries and benefits. This would be via an existing SBA loan product with greatly relaxed eligibility requirements.

How can American abroad access this relief?

  • You must have filed a recent US tax return. (Though the US Treasury has been provided with flexibility in the CARES Act’s language, so that citizens who have not filed 2018 and 2019 tax returns can be provided with aid.)
  • US taxpayers who have provided bank account details with their filed taxes should receive payment by direct deposit within two to three weeks. Others will most likely receive checks or debit cards through the post.
Note: This news brief does not provide legal, tax advice. We would recommend that any US citizens living abroad, and concerned about their eligibility of provision through the CARES Act, contact a tax specialist.

Read more about International Assignments, or visit our Coronavirus resource page.


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