Evacuation Benefits Overview
The purpose of evacuation benefits is to help offset added expenses incurred as a result of an evacuation. The employee continues to be personally responsible for normal family living expenses.
Civilian Employees of the U.S. Government, Marine Security Guards, Seabees under Evacuation Orders
The Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR Chapter 600) applies to all government civilians in foreign areas; however, each agency may have further implementing regulations. Employees should check with their agency’s HR or other point of contact for further guidance before applying the DSSR (for foreign affairs agencies, consult the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM).
Department of Defense and Uniformed Military Personnel
Uniformed military personnel and their dependents are covered separately under the Department of Defense Joint Federal Travel Regulations. Assigned DOD civilians, military, and family members should contact their parent organizations. Those assigned to the Defense Attaché Office should contact DIA Headquarters; and those assigned under the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (Military Group, ODC, etc.) should contact their Combatant Command. If DOD personnel have questions, contact the Defense Attaché Service, Support Services Branch at DASSupportServices@dodiis.mil.
Members of Household
Members of Household (MOH) who have elected to leave post are not authorized evacuation benefits; however, the Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO) encourages them to remain in contact with GCLO, the Community Liaison Office (CLO) coordinator, and the community at post. MOHs can participate in informational sessions and stay informed through emails and other communications.
Subsistence Expense Allowance (SEA) Overview
Evacuees should wait until they are at their safe haven location to submit the Subsistence Expense Allowance forms. NOTE: Airline tickets and lodging receipts are necessary for completing the application. Applications cannot be processed without them. Forms may be emailed or faxed per the instructions on the application form. (Instructions for how to apply for SEA are addressed in the next section.)
SEA is payable the day after you arrive at the authorized safe haven point for up to 180 days following the date of the evacuation order. The initial SEA payment is made once the initial application (DS-4095) is approved. Subsequently, only lodging receipts are required and will be processed every 30 days during the evacuation.
When the U.S. is designated as the official safe haven, the SEA is based on safe haven location per diem . The first evacuee of a family unit is reimbursed for lodging expenses based on either a commercial or non-commercial rate. Larger families (first evacuee plus 4 or more family members) may request a waiver asking that commercial lodging per diem be increased to 150%. Justification must be provided.
Rates for Commercial Lodging
L = Lodging portion of per diem.
M&IE = Meals and Incidental Expense portion of per diem.
|Days 1 – 30||Days 31 – 180|
|First Evacuee||100% L + 100% M&IE||100% L + 80% M&IE|
|Each additional person 18 & over||100% M&IE||80% M&IE|
|Each additional person under 18||50% M&IE||40% M&IE|
|Rates for Non-Commercial Lodging|
|First Evacuee||10% L + 100% M&IE||80% M&IE + no lodging per diem|
|Each additional person 18 & over||100% M&IE||80% M&IE|
|Each additional person under 18||50% M&IE||40% M&IE|
SEA will continue to be paid during periods of annual and sick leave (except when in medical evacuation status) to employees and family members who are in evacuation status. SEA will not be paid to employees and family members on TDY, home leave or R&R orders. Family members who are employed at post should be placed in Leave Without Pay (LWOP) unless they are eligible to work while in evacuation status from another location.
Alternate Foreign Safe Haven
When an alternate foreign safe haven is approved, SEA can be authorized when the Bureau’s Executive Office in the Department receives the request for an alternate safe haven. SEA is based on the lowest of the following:
- The standard CONUS rate;
- The per diem rate for the official safe haven (foreign or U.S.); or
- The per diem rate for the alternate approved safe haven.
Unaccompanied Air Baggage (UAB)
An air freight allowance will be authorized for both evacuation from and return to post in accordance with the current agency travel regulations — DOS Standardized Regulations (DSSR) 631 a (3).
- 250 pounds for the first evacuee
- 200 pounds for the second evacuee
- 150 pounds for the third evacuee
- 100 pounds each for the fourth or more family members
In lieu of airfreight, a replacement allowance is authorized if air freight is not shipped from post. Air freight is authorized upon return to post, even if no air freight was shipped from post.
- $250 for the first evacuee without family
- $450 for the first evacuee with one family member
- $600 for the first evacuee with two or more family members
Note: If UAB has already been shipped to post, but the employee has not yet arrived, additional UAB will not be authorized.
Daily Transportation Allowance
A daily transportation allowance of $25 per day per family is allotted to offset costs due to lack of private transportation at your safe haven location (no receipts are required).
Reimbursement for lease expenses not to exceed the daily SEA lodging rate may be authorized for up to 30 days from the effective date of the evacuation provided the following:
- SEA payment does not exceed 180 days
- Evacuee is returning to post
- The lease was signed prior to the date of termination of the evacuation
- The evacuee provides documentation demonstrating an effort to break the lease
In the evacuation cable, post is authorized to issue a one-time, initial payment of $1,000 per family and $500 per single evacuee. The advance payment may be paid to the employee or a designated representative and will be deducted from the first SEA payment.
Household Effects (HHE)/Personally Owned Vehicle (POV)
Access to and delivery of stored household effects for evacuees is at personal expense unless evacuees are not allowed to return to post after the 180 days and are placed on involuntary SMA. In the latter case, agency travel regulations governing SMA apply. Shipment of POV is not authorized at USG expense until the employee has a permanent change of station (PSC).
Please see the Global Community Liaison Office’s website for education information for parents of school-age children: In addition, visit the Office of Allowances’ Frequently Asked Questions (Questions # 45-54), which address education and travel allowances during an evacuation.
When the U.S. is the official safe haven, public schools are available to all residents in the U.S. and education allowances are normally not paid. Education allowances will also not be paid if an individual is at an alternate foreign safe haven (other than the designated foreign safe haven).
Away-From-Post and Special Needs Education Allowances
These allowances may continue within specific parameters. Contact FLOAskEducation@state.gov for further guidance. Education travel eligibility rules continue to be applied except that the official safe haven displaces the post as the travel destination from school. No SEA benefits are payable for children at their school locations when utilizing either the away-from-post education allowance or educational travel.
For more information and resources on returning to the Washington, DC area with children, please visit FLO’s Education and Youth webpages.
Tandem couples each receive evacuation benefits not to exceed an employee’s eligibility, but without duplication of benefits for eligible family members. Each employee is entitled to all other allowances, including transfer allowances and temporary lodging. If the couple shares lodging only 50% of the allowance is granted for each employee sharing lodging.
Length of the Evacuation
The initial cable ordering the evacuation declares the evacuation for a specified period of time (normally 30 days). At the end of that period, the Department, in conjunction with post, reviews the evacuation status to determine whether it should be continued, whether employees should be reassigned, or whether to terminate the evacuation. If the evacuation is not terminated, the status must continue to be reviewed every 30 days up to 180 days. An evacuation must not last beyond 180 days. NOTE: The evacuation may be lifted at any time. If family members are not allowed to return to post and no reassignment decision has been reached, the post will change status to “unaccompanied.” At such time, eligible family members may apply for Involuntary Separate Maintenance Allowance (ISMA) or Transitional Separate Maintenance (TSMA) depending on their situation. See DSSR 260 for regulations governing all forms of Separate Maintenance Allowance (SMA).
How to Apply for the Subsistence Expense Allowance (SEA)
For Agencies Outside of the Department of State
Employees outside of the Department of State should check their agency’s regulations before applying the DSSR (for foreign affairs agencies, consult the FAM). The Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR) applies to all government civilians in foreign areas, but each agency may have further implementing regulations and has its own forms and process.
Department of State SEA Payments
SEA payments will be made when the DS-4095 form is completed and all necessary documents are submitted and processed. The DS-4095 should be submitted only once as the initial application. Subsequently, only lodging receipts need to be submitted.
To expedite processing: Forms may be faxed to 301-985-8589 or emailed to GFSCSeaPackage@state.gov. Contact information, mail and express mail addresses for sending originals are on the form.
- Necessary receipted documents: airline tickets, hotel receipt or signed lease agreement, taxi receipts, receipt for excess luggage fees, a copy of the travel advance, and travel orders.
- Calculation of Meals & Incidental Expenses (M&IE) in Transit to Safe Haven: If travel is more than 12 hours, but less than 24 hours on the first day of travel, employees will receive 3/4 of one day’s allowance for the location they are traveling to. For travel exceeding 24 hours, lodging plus M&IE for stopover locations en route to safe haven apply.
- Please Note: SEA is normally paid in 30 day increments. If the employee has been paid the full 30 days and then the evacuation ends abruptly, or is issued PCS/TDY/MED/R&R/Home Leave orders, or lodging changes from commercial to non-commercial, or the employee or EFMs received SEA but were not eligible, the employee is responsible for repaying any or all SEA balance as soon as possible.
- Contact for Department of State Direct Hire Evacuees: Comptroller Global Finance Services (CGFS) at 843-746-0722 or email GFSCSeaPackage@state.gov for clarification, assistance or specific questions related to your SEA application and payments.