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Death of an Employee or Family Member Overseas

  • The death of a community member can be a devastating experience. There are several offices in the U.S. Department of State that have roles in response to deaths of Foreign Service employees, family members, and Locally Employed Staff. The responsibilities of these offices are summarized below.

The Operations Center (Ops Center)

202-647-1512 or email 

In response to deaths of overseas DOS employees and their family members The Operations Center will:

  • Notify the Office of Casualty Assistance
  • Notify the Global Community Liaison Office
  • If no family is at Post, convene a conference call with the Chief of Mission, Director General, Office of Casualty Assistance, Global Community Liaison Office and Assistant Secretary from the regional and (if appropriate) functional bureaus to determine how next of kin notification will be made.
The Office of Casualty Assistance (OCA)

202-736-4302 or email

The Office of Casualty Assistance (OCA) provides administrative assistance and ongoing support following the death of a direct hire U.S. citizen Department of State employee serving abroad or their family member, or of a Department of State employee in the United States. OCA also offers support to all USG employees serving under Chief of Mission authority and their family members, including Locally Employed Staff (LE Staff). This support includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Staff remains on 24-hour call, and is contacted by the Operations Center when there is a death.
  • Acts as a single point of contact for the family following a death for as long as needed. Provides liaison between the families, the Post, the Bureau, the Office of Retirement, the Office of Transportation and other entities as needed regarding shipment, travel and the benefits which might be due.
  • Drafts an official Condolence Letter for the signature of the Secretary of State.
  • Maintains contact with the Post and the family for as long as needed and will provide continuous contact for administrative matters and for the completion of necessary forms for benefits.
  • Provides information about resources and grief counseling.
Employee Consultation Services (ECS)

Employee Consultation Services (ECS) offers free, confidential counseling with professional clinical social workers to Department of State employees and family members. They can assist with job stress, marital and relationship matters, parent and child dynamics, single parent and blended family concerns, school adjustment, elderly parent concerns, separation, loss and grief, acute and chronic medical illness, depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges, financial concerns, life transitions, new career/retirement issues, and pre-post departure and reentry concerns. Information regarding suicide prevention can be viewed here. Contact ECS at or 202-634-4874.

Employee Consultation Services (ECS) — Virtual Support Groups Open to Members of All Foreign Affairs Agencies and Locally Employed Staff

  • Grief Support Group
    Meets the 2nd Thursday of each month
    Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET

Please reach out to ECS at the Department of State for additional details:

The Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO)

202-647-1076 or email

The Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO) offers client services to all of the Foreign Affairs agencies. GCLO does not have a mandate for particular duties in regard to deaths of Foreign Service officers or family members. However, GCLO does have a concern for the welfare of the family of the deceased, and the welfare and morale of the community at post. To this end, GCLO provides guidance to the Community Liaison Office Coordinators on how to respond to the family of the deceased, and how to support the affected community.

U.S. Department of State

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