Allowances and Benefits

Frequently asked questions


What is the Readjustment Allowance (RA)?

The Readjustment Allowance is a “payment authorized by the Peace Corps Act to assist returned Volunteers in their transition from Peace Corps Service to other endeavors.” RA begins accruing on the first day you began service and continues until your Completion of Service (COS) date.


How much Readjustment Allowance will I receive?

Trainees and Volunteers who have served less than 24 months since the date they swore in as Volunteers earn $375/month. Response Volunteers and Volunteers who have served more than 24 months since the date they swore in earn $475/month.

An easy way to see your accumulated RA is to take a look at your March Statement of Earnings (sent to your email in early March). It provides your RA balance, which reflects your total RA earnings since the start of your service, less federal tax withholding and any withdrawals or allotments you might have requested.


What is the Evacuation Allowance (EA) and who is eligible?

Evacuation Allowance is provided for Trainees and Volunteers who had to close their service due to a country evacuation or suspension, and is intended to provide support to you as you return to the US on very little notice. Everyone who was in service as a Peace Corps Trainee or Volunteer when the COVID-19 crisis required evacuation is eligible, including Response Volunteers and those on medevac, admin hold, or leave.

The EA is a separate allowance from Readjustment Allowance (RA), and is in addition to the RA you already earned. It is intended to replace the future RA you would have earned in the next 12 months of service but will not now earn due to the evacuation.


How much Evacuation Allowance will I receive?

The amount of EA you will receive is based on two things. The first is the monthly accrual rate of your RA on the date you COS’d due to the evacuation. As shown in section on RA, that rate is $375/month for Trainees and Volunteers who have not yet completed 24 months since their swear-in date. For Response Volunteers and Volunteers who have extended beyond 24 months since their swear-in date (e.g. Third Year Volunteers), the rate is $475/month.

The second thing affecting your EA is the time you had remaining in service when on the date of your COS due to the evacuation. If you were scheduled to serve for 12 or more months beyond that date, you will receive 12 months of EA. If you were scheduled to serve for less than 12 months beyond that COS date, you will receive EA for the number of months you had scheduled to remain in service (i.e. up until your original COS date).


What if I need to update or correct my US bank account in order to get my allowance payments?

Please direct your inquiry to update banking info to [email protected].


What are the tax implications of these allowance payments?

The IRS considers Readjustment Allowance to be taxable income. Social Security and Medicare were deducted from your RA earnings every month when they were credited to your RA account. Federal Income Tax was only withheld from RA if you requested Federal Income Tax to be withheld. Since taxes have already been withheld from your RA, there will not be additional tax withheld at the time of your RA payments.

The IRS considers EA to be taxable income. Unlike Readjustment Allowance, however, Evacuation Allowance does not qualify for Social Security and Medicare withholding. No taxes will be withheld from your Evacuation Allowance payment.


Will the full amount of my Readjustment Allowance payments be included on my 2020 W-2?

Only your Readjustment Allowance earnings for your service in 2020 – about 3 months of RA – will be reported on your W-2 for Tax Year 2020 that will be issued in January 2021. Your RA earnings for service in previous years was reported on the W-2 you received from Peace Corps for those Tax Years.


What if I don’t have a copy of my W-2?

Please send a request for your W-2, including your full name, complete dates of service, and country of service to [email protected].


If I reinstate, re-enroll, or become a Response Volunteer at a later date, would I be required to pay the evacuation or readjustment allowance back

Any and all allowances you were paid were intended to help you adjust to the end of your service and are yours to keep, regardless of whether or not you return to service.


Am I eligible for unemployment assistance, or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer?

The Department of Labor (DOL) has determined that Peace Corps Volunteers do not serve as employees and, therefore, do not qualify for unemployment insurance.

However, the DOL has agreed to include evacuated RPCVs in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). DOL issued guidance to the states on April 27 confirming that RPCVs evacuated due to the COVID-19 crisis are eligible for PUA, but systems at the state level are still being adapted to accommodate this new program.

We are aware many evacuees are having difficulty providing documentation sufficient to establish their eligibility for PUA at the state level, and therefore are issuing a letter to each evacuated RPCV to assist in establishing their status as a COVID-19 evacuee and therefore their eligibility under DOL guidance for PUA.

Please see this link to connect to the offices handling PUA in the state where you live or go directly to your state coronavirus website for more information:

https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus/unemployment-insurance


How will this affect noncompetitive eligibility (NCE)?

Get full details on how application of NCE differs for evacuated Volunteers, Peace Corps Response Volunteers, and Trainees.


How will this affect Coverdell Fellowships?

  • Peace Corps Volunteer: All Volunteers (i.e. those who started a two-year term of service and who swore in) are eligible for Coverdell Fellowships, regardless of how long they actually were able to serve before the COVID-19 evacuation.
  • Peace Corps Response Volunteers: On April 28, 2020, Director Olsen waived the 12 months minimum service requirement as set forth in Manual Section 126, Attachment A, 4.1(d), therefore allowing all COVID-19 evacuated Response Volunteers to have lifetime eligibility for the Coverdell Fellows Program.
  • Peace Corps Trainees: Evacuated Trainees are not eligible for the Coverdell Fellows program.

For more information about the Coverdell Fellows program, please explore the Introduction to Returned Volunteer Services courses in Learning Space where you will find the Continuing your Education with Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program course materials. You will also find useful information on the Peace Corps website Coverdell Fellows page: https://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/university-programs/coverdell-fellows/