Last Move Home

With more and more SES employees choosing to retire I have begun to get questions from a few members about a relatively obscure benefit that some career executives are entitled to: payment of travel, transportation and movement of household goods expenses upon retirement from government service to the place where the individual will reside (if different than the location where the individual resides at the time of retirement). This one-time benefit is commonly referred to as payment for eligible career SES employees' "last move home" (LMH) and was proposed by SEA, which succeeded in gaining enactment of the benefit in 1988. Needless to say, if an SES employee is eligible, payment for the executive's last move home can be of great benefit to the employee and his or her immediate family. Although this benefit determination is a bit complicated, here are some specifics.

Who is eligible? Individuals who are eligible are either:

• Career SES who were moved geographically (from one commuting area to another) by the federal government as the result of a reassignment or a transfer;
• Those who at the time of the geographical move were going from an appointment outside the SES (e.g., GS-15) to a career appointment in the SES; or
• Individuals who at the time of the geographical move were going from a limited term or non-career SES appointment to a career appointment in the SES;

Only those individuals in the above categories who were eligible for optional retirement, or within 5 years of optional retirement, or were eligible for discontinued retirement at the time of their last government-directed move can receive last move home benefits.

What is included in LMH benefits? The following expenses will be paid by the government for those eligible for last move home benefits: (1) travel expenses of the individual career SES to the new geographic living place, (2) transportation expenses of the immediate family of the career SES who are also moving to the new place, and (3) the expenses of moving the household goods (including packing, crating, transportation, temporary storage, and unpacking) of the individual (and members of his or her immediate family if applicable) not in excess of 18,000 pounds to the new geographic living place where the individual/family will reside.

What restrictions are placed on LMH benefits? The following major restrictions apply:

• Only geographic moves of 50 miles or more from the career SES' last official duty station are eligible for LMH benefits treatment
• The new residence must be within the continental United States
• All travel and transportation of household goods connected to the LMH must begin no later than six months after the SES' date of retirement separation

If I think I may be eligible what should I do? Before receiving reimbursement for LMH benefits, you must submit a request to your agency for authorization and approval with the tentative moving dates and the origin and destination locations of the planned move, within timeframes and formats specified by the agency. A good place to start this process is with a call to your agency's human resources office to ask questions and determine what forms need to be completed, what specific information must be provided, and the expected timeframe for review of your request. Beyond contacting your agency, additional guidance on last move home benefits is available in government-wide regulations at 5CFR Part 302 and on the General Service Administration's website at: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/ext/public/site/FTR/file/Chapter302p003.html/category/21869/#wp1119779.

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