U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Was this page helpful?

Performance management handbook (recognition) - chapter 6

Chapter 6. Superior Accomplishment Awards (Special Act, Suggestion, or Invention)


A superior accomplishment award is a monetary or nonmonetary award for a contribution resulting in tangible benefits or savings or intangible benefits to the Government. There are three types of superior accomplishment awards: special act awards, suggestion awards, and invention awards. Suggestion awards are given through suggestion programs developed and implemented by individual operating units. Invention awards are covered in DAO 202-452. 


To be eligible for a special act or service award, an employee must have a current rating of record of at least Level 3 or higher. 

Group Awards

When a cash award is granted to a group for superior accomplishments, the following provisions apply:

  • The accomplishments must have substantially exceeded normal expectations for the group as a whole; 
  • All employees to whom the accomplishment or contribution is creditable, including a supervisor, may share in the award; 
  • A cash award may be divided in equal shares or allotted to each member in proportion to his or her share of credit for the contribution; 
  • Separate justifications for each member of the group must be included with the overall description of the accomplishment if the members of the group receive different dollar amounts; and 
  • The total amount of a cash award to a group should be based solely on the value of tangible and intangible benefits accruing from the contribution; the total amount of the award may not exceed the amount that would be authorized if the contribution had been made by one individual; and exceptions should be justified in writing. 

Scale of Tangible and Intangible Benefits

The award scales in Appendix C offer guidelines for determining awards based on tangible and intangible benefits to the Government.