The following was developed specifically to address questions non-career Senior Executive Service (SES) members and Schedule C appointees preparing for transition due to the change in Presidential administration. More detailed information, to include subject matter points of contact and website addresses, can be found in the Department of Defense Departing Official’s Handbook, also located on this website.


What governs the DoD process for transition? 

Department of Defense Directive 5105.76 establishes policy for the efficient and thorough transfer of authority from departing to incoming senior officials and administration appointees. The Secretary and leadership throughout the Department are committed to the effective and seamless transition of senior leaders, the smooth transfer of knowledge, and the sustainment of critical operations during the transition as a top priority. The DoD Transition Structure has been implemented to plan and prepare for, manage and execute any leadership transition event, to include a change in the Presidential administration.

What does the 2017 DoD Transition Structure look like?

  • Head of DoD Transition. Mr. Eric Rosenbach, the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense, is responsible for all DoD support to the transition, coordination with the President-elect’s DoD focal point, and the management and execution of tasks consistent with the direction of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense.

  • Interim Director of the DoD Transition Task Force and the DoD Senior Career Employee for Transition. Mr. Michael L. Rhodes, the Director of Administration for the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, is currently serving in dual roles. Mr. Rhodes coordinates, implements, and ensures day-to-day transition activities are efficiently conducted on behalf of the Head of DoD Transition. He manages, coordinates and orchestrates activities of all elements constituting the Transition Task Force and he represents the DoD at the Agency Transition Directors Council.

  • DoD Transition Assistance Coordinators (TAC). Each DoD component has identified a TAC to serve as lead representative for their Component. The TACs focus their efforts on transition matters directly involving their respective Component while supporting aggregate DoD TTF and transition requirements.

  • Washington Headquarters Services (WHS)/DoD Transition Support Office. Mr. Michael L. Watson heads the centralized office chartered to coordinate and ensure the timely execution of all logistical and administrative activities on behalf of departing and incoming officials.

What happened the day after the election? 

The Department transitioned from responding to inquiries from two eligible candidates to supporting and working with the President Elect’s Agency Review Team to prepare for the new Administration that will come on board after January 20, 2017.

What happens the day after inauguration? 

Resignations for current political appointees are effective at noon on January 20, 2017, unless resignations are received earlier.

What are the requirements/restrictions for interacting with the campaign? 

Although the political activity rules vary depending on whether you are a PAS, non-career SES, or Schedule C, keep in mind we are all prohibited from engaging in political activity in the workplace.

  • Schedule Cs are generally allowed to engage in political activity in their personal capacities outside of the workplace. In August 2016, the Secretary directed that political appointees may not work on campaign matters, including working on campaign policy or candidate operational teams that are related to their work on Defense issues. This is a limitation on political activities that, for Schedule C employees, is more restrictive than required under the Hatch Act.

  • PAS and SES officials are considered "further restricted" and are prohibited from engaging in partisan political activity at all times. You still have the right to express your personal opinion – for example, by displaying a bumper sticker or yard sign, making contributions, or attending events. Appointees found to be in violation of this policy may face disciplinary action.

If you have specific questions, please contact the Standards of Conduct Office (SOCO).

What are the requirements/restrictions for interacting with the transition office? 

You should not reach out to the transition team directly. If you are contacted, you should report this to the TTF or to the Head of Transition.

How long will the transition last?

It may take several months for the new President to nominate, and for the Senate to confirm, senior leadership at DoD.

What happens if a new Secretary of Defense is not immediately confirmed? Are appointees asked to stay if the current Secretary stays on? 

Generally speaking, even if Secretary Carter is asked to remain in office until a new Secretary of Defense is confirmed, this will not impact the transition process for other political appointees. You should expect to submit your resignation as required.

Who will be asked to stay and when will we know? 

All appointees are expected to submit their resignations as of January 20. Although there may be limited exceptions for appointees in unique positions, you should not plan on being asked to stay past this point. The small number of appointees who are asked to stay will be notified by senior transition leadership.

If I have additional questions about transition and how I’m impacted, who should I talk to?

  • If you have questions about the transition process, you should contact Mr. Michael L. Rhodes, Director of Administration, ODCMO or Mr. Mike Watson, head of the WHS/DoD Transition Office 

  • If you have questions about searching for a job or the rules governing political activity, you should contact the Standards of Conduct Office, which is headed by Ms. Ruth Vetter.

  • If you have questions about your security clearance or other security-related procedures, you should contact your component/organizational security manager. 

  • All appointees should always feel free to reach out to the DoD White House Liaison Office.

You can reach the WHS/DoD Transition Support Office by calling 703-692-5121 or via email at

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Does every political have to tender his/her resignation in writing? To whom does it go and by when must it be submitted? 

The short answer is yes.

  • For PAS officials, your letter of resignation should be addressed to the President, with copy to the Secretary of Defense and the White House Liaison Office.

  • For non-PAS appointees, the letter or resignation should be addressed to Secretary of Defense, with copy to their immediate superiors and the White House Liaison Office.

  • Prior to resignation, senior appointees should coordinate departure announcements with both Offices of Legislative Affairs and Public Affairs.

Can I be separated before the resignation date of my Agency head, and how much notice will I receive? 

Yes. Political appointees serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.

  • If you are a non-career SES official you may be removed at any time. Non-career SES officials must be given a written notice at least 1 day before the effective date of a removal.

  • If you are a Schedule C employee, you may be separated at any time that your confidential relationship with your superior, and/or the confidential nature of your job, ceases to exist. There is no statutory notice requirement.

If my supervisor is asked to stay beyond the Agency head’s resignation date, will I be allowed to remain in my position also? 

Your continued employment may depend on whether both your confidential relationship with your supervisor and the need for such a relationship continues to exist.

Do I have appeal rights? 

No. There is no appeal right to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) for the removal of a non-career SES official. Most employees separated from Schedule C positions have no appeal rights to MSPB.

If I decide to leave early, who do I tell? 

If you do decide to leave DoD, it is critical that you provide your superiors and the White House Liaison Office as much advance notice as possible.

When is my last paycheck date?

January 27, 2017.


If you know you want to leave government, when do you recommend looking for a new job? 

Secretary Carter has asked all political appointees to stay through the end of this Administration. However, when you begin to search for a new position depends on your unique circumstances and interests. It is recommended that you discuss your plans and goals with your supervisor or mentor.

Must I disclose interviews while still working for the DoD and if so, under what circumstances?

  • If you are seeking or negotiating future employment with a prospective employer outside the Federal Government, you may need to disqualify yourself to ensure you are screened off from participating in DoD matters involving that entity.

  • You are not seeking employment when you: ask someone to critique your resume; ask advice from a friend or mentor about the job seeking process; submit a resume to, or contact a head hunter; or request a job application or general information about a prospective employer.

  • You are seeking employment when you: submit a resume/job application, or make an unsolicited employment contact with a prospective employer; or when you respond to (other than reject) an unsolicited overture regarding employment.

  • Conflict of interest statutes, the rules governing post-government employment, to include reporting requirements once you begin to negotiate post-government employment, are criminal statutes. In order to protect yourself and the Department, start with the SOCO to make certain you understand the rules and don’t take any risks.

What is the procedure for disclosure? 

You should always start with SOCO or, if you work in one of the Military Departments, your respective Ethics Counselor.

If I decide to leave early, who do I tell? 

It’s important to the Secretary, and for the Department, that all appointees stay through the end of the Administration. If you do decide to leave DoD, it is critical that you provide your superiors and the White House Liaison Office with as much advance notice as possible.


Do I have reinstatement rights if I previously worked for the Federal government in a career position?

Yes. With some restrictions, career SES members who accept a Presidential Appointment possess the right to return to a career SES position following the termination of the Presidential appointment.

May I compete for other Federal jobs in the Department or in other Federal agencies? 


  • If you previously held a Federal career appointment, you can apply for positions advertised to career employees or status applicants.

  • If you have not previously held a Federal career appointment, you may compete for any Federal career job open to the general public. These generally are advertised as open to all sources or all qualified applicants.

  • Individuals serving only in excepted service positions will not be found eligible for positions advertised for career employees or status applicants.

Certain other restrictions may apply, please check with your servicing human resources office.

Where and how can I find current job openings and other information on applying for Federal jobs? The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) official job site and one-stop source for Federal jobs and employment information is

If I retire, can I later return to Federal service?

Yes. However, there are strict regulations governing the receipt of both salary and annuity that may require a financial offset of either some salary or annuity. An annuitant returning to a DoD component may receive both full salary and annuity.

If I am reemployed in the Federal Government, must the agency match my current salary and grade? 

No. An agency is not required to match your salary and grade. However, if you are reemployed in a general schedule position, an agency’s internal policy may permit certain pay flexibilities based on the “highest previous rate” paid for previous Federal employment.

What happens to my security clearance/special access upon my departure from the DoD?

Your background investigation for access to classified information may be used to reinstate your access if you are subsequently employed by another U.S. Government agency.

  • Several factors impact the reinstatement of access to classified information, including the type of background investigation conducted, the date the background investigation was completed, and the length of time from your last access to classified information. The individual conducting your debriefing will provide you information regarding your background investigation type and eligibility for reinstatement.

  • If reemployed by an Executive Branch Agency within two years (at or below the original security clearance level) and your background remains favorable, your clearance is reciprocated / reinstated. If you are reemployed by an Executive Branch Agency more than two years after deactivation the entire security clearance process starts again.

If my clearance is being processed, will it continue after January 20?

No. Once you leave federal service, the clearance process will be discontinued.


What are the basic age and service rules for retirement eligibility?.

  • Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) you can retire voluntarily after reaching age 55 with 30 years of service, age 60 with 20 years, or age 62 with 5 years.

  • Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), voluntary retirement is available under these same combinations, but you can also retire at a minimum retirement age (age 55, but if you were born after 1947, it can be as high as age 57) with as little as 10 years of service.

Please visit the OPM website at for additional information regarding eligibility requirements for the voluntary, involuntary, and deferred retirement under both CSRS and FERS.

How do I know if I’m eligible for early retirement?

You are eligible for early retirement if you qualify for a discontinued service retirement (DSR) based on an involuntary separation (see the next question) and meet age and service requirements. Under both CSRS and FERS, you meet eligibility requirements if you are age 50 and have at least 20 years of service, or if you have at least 25 years of service regardless of your age.

What is considered involuntary separation for purposes of qualifying for DSR?

  • A resignation is qualifying for a DSR if the resignation is submitted in response to a written request from a recognized representative of a new Administration or newly appointed agency head.

  • When it is known that a Presidential appointee is separating from Federal service, the resignation of a non-career SES member or Schedule C excepted service employee who works for the Presidential appointee is involuntary for retirement purposes.

  • A separation is not qualifying for DSR if it is for personal cause

  • What do I need to do in order to initiate the retirement process? 

  • Contact your Employee Benefits Specialist for a meeting and request the retirement application and a retirement annuity estimate. Be prepared to make decisions regarding the continuation of benefits to include: health insurance, life insurance, and survivor’s annuity.

  • The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) calculates and determines the final payable annuity.

  • OPM will normally provide partial or interim annuity payments within two months of the effective date of your retirement when applications are promptly submitted.


If I am not eligible for retirement, am I eligible for a refund? 


  • If you are not eligible for an immediate retirement, you may request a refund of the amount of money you have contributed to your retirement plan (FERS or CSRS). Note: Generally a refund represents a permanent forfeiture of the service covered by the refund for retirement purposes.

  • If you’re covered by CSRS, CSRS Offset, or FERS and receive a refund, you can later return to the Federal government and repay the refund plus interest to obtain retirement credit for the service.

How do I apply for a refund of retirement contributions?

After being separated for at least 30 calendar days send your completed refund application to OPM at the address on the back of the form.

  • FERS employees use SF Form 3106, Application for Refund of Retirement Deductions.

  • SRS employees use SF Form 2802 Application for Refund of Retirement Deductions.

What happens if I do not request a refund and cannot retire yet? If you do not request a refund, the money remains in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Trust Fund. If you have at least five years of creditable civilian service, you may receive a deferred annuity when you reach the eligibility age.

  • OPM’s website contains all eligibility requirements for various types of CERS and FERS retirement (voluntary, involuntary, deferred). Please visit this website:

  • To review your creditable civilian service record before you separate from DoD, request an appointment with your Employee Benefits Specialist.

How do I apply for a deferred annuity?

Before you leave Federal service, your Employee Benefits Specialist can provide an estimate of your deferred annuity. One month before you reach deferred retirement age, you should contact OPM at 1-888-767-6738 or TTY: 1-800-878-5707 to request the appropriate forms to apply for deferred retirement.

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When is the last date I can take annual or sick leave?

January 19, 2017. January 20, 2017 is a federal holiday for Washington, DC Metro area employees. However, in general, you are not permitted to take annual or sick leave immediately prior to separation from federal service except in exigent circumstances.

What happens to my accrued annual leave?

Departing federal employees will receive a lump-sum payment for unused annual leave. Payment will be deposited directly into the same bank account as your paycheck; normally within two to three pay periods following your separation.

What happens to my accrued sick leave?

There is no lump sum payment for the balance of accrued unused sick leave. What happens to your sick leave is determined by whether or not you plan to retire:

  • Employees opting to retire under CSRS or FERS will receive credit for their accrued unused sick leave balance in the computation of their retirement annuity. Please consult with your HR specialist about your individual circumstances.

  • If you are not eligible for retirement, the sick leave balance to your credit on the date of your separation from Federal service is credited to your personnel file and will become available if you are re-employed in a position within an Executive branch agency of the federal government. To expedite this process, provide your last Leave and Earnings Statement to your new organization during in-processing.

What happens to my compensatory (comp) time or other time-off awards?

Comp time and other time-off awards are not paid out for departing employees.

What happens to my Travel comp time? When an employee voluntarily transfers to another agency or separates from Federal service, any unused compensatory time off is forfeited.

What options do I have for Health insurance after January?

  • If you are enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) on the date of your separation from Federal service, your FEHB enrollment will terminate on the last day of the pay period in which your separation is effective. Coverage under your enrollment continues temporarily for 31 days.

  • When FEHB coverage ends, former employees may enroll for Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) for up to 18 months. TCC enrollees must pay the full premium for the plan they select (both the employee and Government shares of the premium) plus a 2 percent administrative fee.

  • If your spouse has coverage through his or her employer, the ending of your employment would typically make you eligible for obtaining coverage under your spouse's plan without waiting for open season. Eligibility for coverage may vary by employer; consult with your spouse's human resources office to see if this option is available to you.

Strict time limits apply for electing TCC, so please contact your Employee Benefits Specialist or visit the OPM web site at:

Can I keep my life insurance coverage when I leave?

  • If you are enrolled in Federal Employee Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) on the date of your separation, your life insurance coverage continues for 31 days after separation at no cost; and the insurance can be converted (without medical examination) to a non-group coverage at that time, with rates based on age and class of risk.

  • If you retire, each type of FEGLI coverage (but not accidental death and dismemberment coverage) can be continued into retirement, provided you qualify for an immediate annuity (one that begins within 30 days of your separation date) and you were enrolled for each type of coverage for at least five years of service immediately before retirement or since your earliest opportunity to enroll, if less than five years.

  • Important decisions regarding the duration and cost of future coverage must be made by individuals who are retiring.

More information can be found on OPM’s website at

What happens to my Federal Flexible Spending Account?

Your Health Care Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) account and Limited Expense Health Care Flexible Spending Account will be terminated as of the date of your separation from federal service. Any health care expenses incurred prior to the date of separation will be reimbursed, but those expenses incurred after the date of separation will not. Your Dependent Care FSA account balance at the time of separation will still be available to you for any eligible expenses incurred within the Plan Year.

The FSAFEDS program is sponsored by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, administered by SHPS Inc. For more information please see:

What happens to my Federal Long Term Care contributions?

Your Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) is completely portable. Coverage will continue when you separate from Federal service, as long as you pay your premiums. Therefore, you need to make arrangements with LTC Partners for future premium payments if you wish to continue coverage.

For more information see:

What happens to my supplemental vision and dental coverage?

Your dental and vision insurance through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) will terminate as of the last day of the pay period in which your separation is effective.

  • There is no temporary extension of coverage and you may not convert to a private policy. You should contact BENEFEDS to notify them of your separation.

  • However, if you are eligible to retire, your dental and vision insurance through the FEDVIP program will continue into retirement without interruption. You can expedite the process of having the premiums deducted from your annuity if you contact the provider, BENEFEDS, at 1-877-888-3337.

  • If you are not currently enrolled, you can enroll during any subsequent open season.

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What happens to my contributions to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)?

  • If you have less than $200 in your account, you will automatically receive a refund.

  • Federal employees can keep money in their TSP if the account balance is $200 or more.

  • You also have withdrawal options that include: 

  • purchase a TSP annuity;

  • transfer your money to another eligible retirement plan (such as an IRA);

  • withdraw your money in a lump sum or in a series of equal payments (cash withdrawals are subject to Federal tax withholding); or,

  • you may leave your money in the existing TSP account.

How do I exercise my TSP Options? 

The TSP Service Office will provide a TSP Withdrawal Package at the time of your separation. The package contains all of the information you need to make a decision about the disposition of your TSP account.

For specific information about your account, contact the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board directly at 1-877-968-3778. If you have an Account Number or User ID, you can access your specific account information at


Does my Federal employment affect my Social Security Benefits?

Yes. If you have ever worked under CSRS or another Federal employee retirement plan that does not include Social Security, such as the Foreign Service Retirement System, and you receive an annuity based on that service, there are two provisions of the Social Security law that may affect your Social Security benefits—the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset.

Can I receive a refund of the amount deducted from my salary for Social Security?



Will I be eligible for severance pay? 

No. Presidential appointees, non-career SES, and SES on limited term appointments are not eligible for severance pay.


If I resign, will I be eligible for unemployment compensation?

  • For Presidential appointees, non-career and limited SES appointees, and Schedule C employees who resign by request due to a change in agency leadership or as a result of the transition to a new Presidential administration, the resignation is considered an involuntary separation and may result in eligibility for Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE).

  • If you resign before being requested to do so, the action is generally considered an unprompted resignation and is usually not viewed as sufficient for unemployment compensation purposes.

  • An SF Form 8: Notice to Federal Employee about Unemployment Insurance, will be provided to you by your Human Resources Specialist upon separation. You must provide this form and proof of your Federal employment earnings (a leave and earnings statement) to your local unemployment office when you claim unemployment compensation.

  • An SF Form 50: Notification of Personnel Action that reflects the date and nature of separation will be mailed to your home address after your separation and should be provided to your local unemployment office to further support your claim. Departing employees are encouraged to maintain copies of their SF 50s in case they return to the Federal government.

  • UCFE is provided through the state in which your last official duty station is located. Entitlement to unemployment compensation is based on each state’s unemployment insurance laws. Benefit levels and eligibility requirements vary from state to state.

The list of state unemployment offices are listed at

How much in unemployment benefits do I get and for how long?

  • If your Duty Station is the in the state of Virginia, your Weekly Benefit Amount is determined by the two quarters with the highest earnings during the base period. Total wages reported during the base period determine your maximum benefit amount. Once your claim is established and reflects all earnings during your base period, the amount you qualify for remains the same for one year and is available to you until your maximum benefit amount or your benefit year is exhausted, whichever comes first.

  • Currently the maximum weekly benefit amount is $378 and the minimum is $60. Individuals must have earned at least $18,900.01 in two quarters during the base period to qualify for the maximum weekly benefit amount. Benefit duration varies from 12 to 26 weeks, also depending on wages earned in the base period.

If you have additional questions reference unemployment please access the following website:

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Are there any restrictions on communicating with colleagues or former employees after I have left the Department? What does the Ethics Pledge require?

There are restrictions on representing back to the Department of Defense.

  • Normally for Schedule C employees, this restriction is more relaxed and is normally limited to representing back to DoD on matters for which you were personally and substantially involved or under your responsibility. This can get complicated and there are many facets to consider, so discuss the specifics with SOCO.

  • Most senior employees are subject to the extended (2 year) cooling-off period for representing back to the Department. The first year is a statutory requirement; while the second year is a requirement under the Ethics Pledge.

  • Remember, the application of the “representing back” restrictions to your individual situation can get fairly complicated, particularly how it applies to the DoD Components. I again recommend that you discuss how the pledge applies to you personally with SOCO.

  • There are no restrictions on personal communication with former colleagues.

  • Because the application of the “representing back” restrictions to an individual situation can be fairly complicated, contact the SOCO office to discuss how the pledge applies to you personally.

Am I required to obtain a security review of future publications such as a book or article? 

Yes. The Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review is responsible for the reviews.

For more information, you should refer to DoD Directives 5230.09, “Clearance of Department of Defense (DoD) Information for Public Release,” and DoD Instruction 5230.29, “Security and Policy Review of DoD Information for Public Release.”

Are there any post-employment restrictions I should be aware of?

Yes. The Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review is responsible for the reviews.

More information on post-employment restrictions can be found on the DoD Standards of Conduct Office website


When will someone tell us about our responsibility for cleaning our offices and packing/archiving papers and other materials?

You will receive instruction on document preservation and archiving as we get closer to the transition.

What papers am I permitted to take with me when I leave?

  • Officials and employees may not remove federal records from government custody. Only the Archivist of the United States has the authority to approve the removal of federal records from government custody.

  • Classified information may not under any circumstances be removed from control of the U.S. Government.

  • You may remove materials that are of a purely personal nature when you leave. Personal materials include family and personal correspondence and materials documenting professional activities and outside business pursuits.

  • You will also be required to return any access control cards, credentials, badges, etc. before departing.

If I’m transferring to another government agency, may I keep my blackberry and other wireless devices?

No. Wireless devices are not typically transferred. However, under certain circumstances component approval may be obtained to allow for a transfer. In addition, you may request the phone number assigned to your current device be transferred and assigned to the new device.

What do I do with my computer equipment, blackberry, cell phone, wireless card and other IT and communication equipment?

You should work with your organizational Administrative Officer to return all devices prior to your departure.

Can I forward my current email account or set an out of office notice that I am no longer with DoD? 

No. Your email account will be disabled and will no longer be available to receive mail; senders will receive a “message undeliverable” reply.


When must a departing rating official provide a summary rating for a General Schedule employee outside the scheduled appraisal period? 

A departing rating official must rate subordinate employees if he/she leaves less than 90 days before the end of the scheduled appraisal period and the employee has been under an approved performance plan for at least 90 days.

Specific requirements pertaining to performance rating for General Schedule employees may differ depending on the personnel system / performance management program they belong to.

What are the rating requirements for members of the Senior Executive Service (SES), Scientific and Professional (ST) employees, and Senior Level (SL) employees? 

Rating officials who leave their positions should issue interim appraisals for all SES officials and ST and SL employees who have been under approved performance plans for at least 90 days. Additionally, they must issue annual appraisals for those ratees who have 90 days or less remaining in their current rating periods.

What are the requirements related to officer evaluation reports?

Requirements vary between military services. Therefore, please check with your Administrative Officer for specific requirements on military members in your chain of command.


Will I lose my security clearance when I resign? 

You will receive a formal debriefing and be required to sign the “Security Debriefing Acknowledgement” section of SF-312, the Classified Non-Disclosure Agreement you signed when your access to classified national security information was granted. The security clearance is then deactivated / archived for security clearance reciprocation by any Executive Branch Agency.

You will receive a formal debriefing and be required to sign the “Security Debriefing Acknowledgement” section of SF-312, the Classified Non-Disclosure Agreement you signed when your access to classified national security information was granted. The security clearance is then deactivated / archived for security clearance reciprocation by any Executive Branch Agency.


Can I receive travel and transportation expenses when I leave Government service? No. The Government is not authorized to pay relocation expenses for separating Presidential appointees, non-career SES appointees, or Schedule C employees to return to private industry or to place of actual residence.

See the GSA’s website ( for additional information about travel and transportation allowances.


Contact Information: 
Telephone: 703-692-5121



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