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Evacuation Payments

Fact Sheet: Evacuation Payments


Evacuation payments are made to employees or their dependents, or both, who are ordered to be evacuated from or within the United States and certain non-foreign areas in the national interest because of natural disasters or for military or other reasons that create imminent danger to the lives of the employees, their immediate family, or their dependents. The applicable non-foreign areas are listed in the definition of "United States area" in 5 CFR 550.402. Evacuation payments may be made to dependents 16 years of age or older, or to designated representatives, only with prior written authorization from the employee.

Note: This summary does not include information about evacuation payments for employees in foreign areas, which are paid under Chapter 600 of the Department of State Standardized Regulations (Government Civilians, Foreign Areas).

Employee Coverage

OPM regulations on evacuation payments apply to "Executive agencies" as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105, and to employees of Executive agencies who are U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals, who are not citizens or nationals but were recruited with a transportation agreement to return them to the recruitment area, or who are aliens hired within the United States.


When an employee has been ordered to evacuate, agency heads may make advance payments of pay, allowances, and differentials to cover a time period of up to 30 calendar days, provided the agency head or designated official determines the payment is required to defray immediate expenses incidental to the evacuation. The initial evacuation payment may cover up to 60 days of pay, allowances, and differentials, including the period covered by the advance payment.

Evacuation payments may be made to cover a total of up to 180 calendar days (including the number of days for which payment has already been made) when employees continue to be prevented from performing their duties by an evacuation order. When feasible, evacuation payments must be paid on the employee's regular pay days.

Employees in an Executive agency may also receive additional allowance payments for travel expenses and subsistence expenses (i.e., per diem) to offset added expenses they incur as a result of their evacuation or the evacuation of their dependents. (See 5 CFR 550.405.)

Natural Disasters

Evacuation payments were authorized beginning on September 1, 1992, for evacuations occasioned by natural disasters within the continental United States. (See 57 FR 40070, September 1, 1992.)


Agencies must make all deductions from advance payments or evacuation payments that are authorized by law, including retirement or Social Security (FICA) deductions, authorized allotments, and Federal income tax withholdings.

OPM Regulations

Agencies must follow OPM regulations in 5 CFR part 550, subpart D, for evacuations from or within the United States and certain nonforeign areas. An agency that proposes to follow different rules must secure prior approval from OPM.


Not later than 180 days after the effective date of the order to evacuate, or when the emergency or evacuation is terminated, whichever is earlier, an employee must be returned to his or her regular duty station or reassigned to another duty station.


  • 5 U.S.C. 5522-5524 and 5 U.S.C. 5526-5527
  • E.O. 10982, 3 CFR 1959-1963., p.502.
  • 5 CFR part 550, subpart D
  • For evacuation payments in foreign areas, see Chapter 600 of the U. S. Department of State Standardized Regulations (Government Civilians, Foreign Areas).

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