|Separate Maintenance Allowance
(SMA): SMA is designed to help an employee who is
compelled by reasons of dangerous, notably unhealthful or excessively adverse
living conditions at the foreign post of assignment, or for convenience of the
Government, or because of family considerations, to defray the additional
expense of maintaining family members at another location.
There are three types of SMA:
Involuntary, Voluntary and Transitional.
Involuntary SMA may be granted when an agency determines that adverse, dangerous, unhealthful living conditions, such as lack of medical facilities, warrant exclusion of your family from your post of assignment or when the agency determines that there is a need to exclude family members from accompanying an employee to the area. Children are
eligible for Involuntary SMA until they reach 21 years of age.
Voluntary SMA may be authorized when there are special family needs or hardship prior to or after arrival at post for reasons including but not limited to career, health, educational or family considerations for the spouse, children, or other family members. Dependent children must be under age 18 or incapable of self-support to receive voluntary SMA, unless they are attending secondary school.
Transitional SMA may be paid for reasons following the termination
of an evacuation (a) through (c) or in connection with
commencement/termination of an unaccompanied tour of duty (d) and
(a) following termination of an evacuation and conversion of a post to an
(b) following termination of an evacuation and reversion of post to accompanied
status, to allow a child in the final semester of the current school year
to complete that school year;
(c) following termination of an evacuation and reversion of post to accompanied
status but an employee and/or family members cannot return to post for
reason(s) beyond the employee's control;
(d) when family members must depart from an accompanied foreign post because
the employee's next foreign post is unaccompanied; or
(e) when family members on ISMA prepare to depart the ISMA point for the
employee's next foreign post or domestic post (accompanied).
The rates for Involuntary and Voluntary SMA are at DSSR 267.1a. The rates for Transitional SMA
are at DSSR 267.1b.
Please see DSSR 260 for
details on each type of SMA. Note carefully the limits on some types of SMA,
particularly the 90-day separation requirement, the one-change-of-election
provision and separation/divorce/dissolution and legal-custody-of-child
Education Allowance Reference Guide for Evacuation and Separate Maintenance Situations
guide if you have questions regarding how education allowances are affected by
Evacuation status, Separate Maintenance Allowance (SMA) and Transitional
Separate Maintenance Allowance (TSMA).
Sample tables for Subsistence Expense
Allowance (SEA) & Separate Maintenance Allowance (SMA) rates: Daily Rates By Family Size or Monthly Rates By Family Size
SF-1190 (07/2009) - Foreign Allowances Application, Grant and Report
--SF-1190 example with instructions (Intranet ONLY)
OF-126 (12/2015) - Foreign Service Residence and Dependency Report
*Department of State employees should fill out the form on HROnline/eOPF/Travel/Additional Travel Documents
VSMA One-Change RuleConfirmation of Understanding (01/2009) (Intranet ONLY)
Page, attach to SF-1190
Voluntary SMA Certification(04/2017) (Intranet ONLY)
Involuntary SMA Certification(04/2017) (Intranet ONLY)
SMA Application Process (06/2017) (Intranet ONLY)
FAQ - Separate Maintenance
FAQ - Involuntary Separate
FAQ - Transitional Separate
SMA - Diplopedia (Intranet ONLY)
Foreign Service Assignment Notebook
To apply for SMA, please contact the SMA Coordinator in your bureau of assignment using the following links (Intranet ONLY):
For Standardized Regulation