Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Your Rights and Benefits as a Displaced Person under the Federal Relocation Assistance Program

Section 3 - Business, Farms, and Nonprofit Organizations

This publication was superseded October 2014. This version was retained for archival purposes.

Moving Cost Reimbursement

Owners or tenants may be paid on the basis of actual, reasonable moving costs and related expenses or, under certain circumstances, a fixed payment. Actual, reasonable moving expenses may be paid when the move is performed by a professional mover or if you move yourself. Related expenses, such as personal property losses, expenses in finding a replacement site, and reestablishment expenses may also be reimbursable.

You must provide the Agency with an inventory of the personal property to be moved and advance notice of the approximate date of the move, unless the Agency specifically tells you these notices are not necessary.

The Agency has the right to inspect the personal property at the displacement and replacement sites, and to monitor the move.

Actual Cost Move

You may be paid the actual, reasonable and necessary cost of your move when the move is performed by a professional mover or when you elect to move yourself, however, all your moving costs must be supported by paid receipts or other evidence of expenses incurred. In addition to the transportation costs of your personal property, certain other expenses may be reimbursable, such as packing, crating, unpacking and uncrating, and the disconnecting, dismantling, removing, reassembling, and reinstalling relocated machinery, equipment and other personal property.

Other expenses such as professional services necessary for planning and carrying out the move, temporary storage costs, and the cost of licenses, permits and certifications may also be reimbursable. This is not an inclusive list of moving related expenses. Your relocation counselor will provide you with a complete explanation of reimbursable expenses.

Estimated Cost Move

If you agree to take full responsibility for all or part of the move of your operation, the Agency may approve a payment not to exceed the lower of two acceptable bids or estimates obtained by the Agency from qualified moving firms, moving consultants, or a qualified Agency staff employee. A low cost or uncomplicated move may be based on a single bid or estimate at the Agency's discretion. The advantage of this moving option is that it relieves you from documenting all moving expenses because the payment is limited to the amount of the lowest acceptable bid or estimate. The Agency may make the payment without additional documentation.

Direct Loss of Tangible Personal Property

Displaced businesses, farms, and nonprofit organizations may be eligible for a payment for the actual direct loss of tangible personal property which is incurred as a result of the move or discontinuance of the operation. This payment is based on the lesser of the value of the item for continued use at the displacement site less the proceeds from its sale, or the estimated cost of moving the item. Your relocation counselor will explain this procedure in detail if this is a consideration for you.

Low Value High Bulk Property

If an Agency considers a personal property item to be of low value and high bulk, and moving costs are disproportionate to its value (such as minerals, metals, rock, or topsoil), the allowable moving cost payment shall not exceed the lesser of the amount which would be received if the property were sold at the site, or, the replacement cost of a comparable quantity delivered to the new business location.

Searching Expenses for Replacement Property

Displaced businesses, farms, and nonprofit organizations are entitled to reimbursement for actual, reasonable expenses incurred in searching for a replacement property, not to exceed $2,500. Expenses may include transportation, meals, and lodging when away from home; the reasonable value of the time spent during the search; and other expenses determined to be reasonable and necessary by the Agency.

Fees paid to real estate agents or brokers to locate a replacement site may be reimbursed, exclusive of any commissions or fees related to the purchase of the site. Commissions and fees related to the purchase of a replacement site are not eligible relocation expenses and will not be reimbursed.

Top of Page

Related Eligible Expenses

In addition to the moving expenses listed above, costs for these items may be reimbursed if the Agency determines they are actual, reasonable, and necessary

Please discuss this with your relocation counselor before incurring these costs to assure that they are reimbursable.

Reestablishment Expenses

A small business, farm, or nonprofit organization may be eligible for a payment, not to exceed $10,000, for expenses actually incurred in relocating and reestablishing the enterprise at a replacement site. To qualify, the business, farm, or nonprofit organization must have not more than 500 employees working at the site who will be displaced by a program or project.

Reestablishment expenses may include, but are not limited to

Fixed Payment For Actual Moving Expenses (In Lieu Payment)

Displaced businesses, farms, and nonprofit organizations may be eligible for a fixed payment in lieu of (in place of) actual moving expenses, personal property losses, searching expense, and reestablishment expenses. The fixed payment may not be less than $1,000 nor more than $20,000. For a business to be eligible for a fixed payment, the Agency must determine the following

Any business operation that is engaged solely in the rental of space to others is not eligible for a fixed payment. This includes the rental of space for residential or business purposes.

Eligibility requirements for farms and nonprofit organizations are slightly different than business requirements. The computation for nonprofit organizations differs in that the payment is computed on the basis of average annual gross revenues less administrative expenses for the two year period specified. If you are interested in a fixed payment, please consult your relocation counselor for additional information.

Computation of Your Fixed Payment

The fixed payment for a displaced business or farm is based upon the average annual net earnings of the operation for the two taxable years immediately preceding the taxable year in which it was displaced, or a two-year period deemed more representative by the Agency. You must provide the Agency with proof of net earnings to support your claim. Proof of net earnings can be documented by income tax returns, certified financial statements, or other reasonable evidence acceptable to the Agency.

Fixed Payment Example

2003 2004 2005
Annual Net Earnings
Annual Net Earnings
Year Displaced
Average annual net earnings
$16,500 + $18,500 = $35,000 / 2 = $17,500
Fixed Payment = $17,500
Top of Page

Project Office

The Agency may establish a relocation office near the project. Project relocation offices are usually open during hours convenient to persons being displaced, including evening hours when necessary. If the Agency opens a project office, the staff will be happy to assist you, answer questions, and will maintain various types of information.

Relocation Payments Are Not Considered To Be Income

No relocation payment received will be considered as income for the purpose of the Internal Revenue Code. No relocation payment received will be considered income for the purposes of determining eligibility or the extent of eligibility of any person for assistance under the Social Security Act or any other Federal law (except for any Federal law providing low-income housing assistance).

Right To Appeal

Any aggrieved person may file a written appeal with the head of the Agency if the person believes the Agency has failed to properly determine his or her eligibility for relocation assistance advisory services, or the amount of a relocation payment.

If you have a grievance, you will be given a prompt and full opportunity to be heard. You will also have the right to be represented by legal counsel or other representative in connection with the appeal, but solely at your own expense.

The Agency will promptly review your appeal and consider all pertinent justification and information available to ensure a fair and full review. The Agency will provide you with a written determination as well as an explanation of the decision. If you are still dissatisfied with the relief granted, the Agency will advise you of your right to seek judicial review of the Agency decision.

An alien not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible to receive relocation payments or any other assistance provided under 49 CFR Part 24.

This brochure is provided to assist you in understanding your rights and benefits. If you have questions regarding your relocation please contact your sponsoring Agency representative.

Additional information on Federal relocation and acquisition requirements, the law, and the regulation can be found at

Updated: 5/8/2015
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000