So I got my stimulus check from the US government the other day.
While I am grateful, I don’t know what to do with this “economic impact payment.”
First of all, I assumed I wasn’t going to get it because I don’t live and work in the US. Second, I didn’t expect it to find its way all the way here to Japan. I guess because I already filed my US taxes and the IRS has my address on file, they were able to send me the check.
I’m just surprised the IRS was able to send me the check so quickly. Maybe, because I’ve been doing my best to file taxes and be a compliant US citizen abroad, the government has all my Japanese information.
It also means that they have a way of keeping tabs on me. It’s a little scary, but I shouldn’t have been surprised. Getting the stimulus check was unexpected because I always thought nobody in the government knew where I was–outside of my family and friends. I mean, they are really the only ones who need to know.
Oh, and I just realized that the US State Department has my information, too. I’m enrolled in the STEP and ESTA programs to make my coming into the US supposedly easier. So I guess they’ve always had their eyes on me.
So now that I have a physical check, I am stuck. I don’t know what to do with it. Later on, I will try to go to the bank and try to cash it. I doubt that the Japanese banks will know what to do. Checks are a foreign concept here in Japan; people just don’t write checks to buy things. Everything is pretty much in cash–even when you’re buying big-purchase items like a home.
A quick Google search about cashing checks in Japan was fruitless. The most recent information dealing with checks in Japan was from last year. And the article was about how most major banks in Japan are not going to cash any more checks 😦
So I’ve been scouring the internet trying to find out what to do with this stimulus check. So far nothing solid has helped me. The good thing is that I have a year before the check expires, I guess. It means I still have time to figure out how to use it.
I also wish the banks that I use in the US would help me out. I tried scanning the checks and doing everything online, but there’s been problems with apps and my accounts. Every time I try to do it, they tell me to either go in physically to the bank or try calling them.
It’s the never-ending complications of being an American in Japan. I really wish that things would be more seamless, but technology in Japan is not as good as you’d expect. Meanwhile, institutions in the US don’t work well with their counterparts here in Japan.
So now I’m caught in the middle of all this with a pretty significant amount of money in limbo.
To be honest, though, I feel like I don’t deserve this money because I haven’t earned an income in the US. I’ve decided that I’m going to donate this money to more deserving causes–like buying PPE for medical workers on the frontline of this Covid-19 war.
I just need to be able to deposit it into my accounts.
We’ll see how it works out.