# 2015-026 - Leave Travel Assistance

Leave Travel Assistance

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2015–06–09

The grievor, a single member with no dependents, sent a memo entitled “Request To Change Next of Kin (NOK) for Leave Travel Assistance” to his Commanding Officer (CO). The grievor explained that his mother had sold her home and purchased a recreational vehicle with the intent to permanently travel in the United States. Since she would have no fixed address, he was led to believe he may have difficulties if and when he attempted to claim Leave Travel Assistance (LTA) benefits. He identified his sister on the NOK form for LTA purposes. A few years later, before a visit to his sister, the grievor prepared and submitted a LTA claim form to the Unit Orderly Room (OR) and received an advance in the amount of $1,675.00. When he attempted to finalize his travel claim, he was informed that he was not entitled to claim LTA expenses for visiting his sister because his mother was still living. The full amount of the advance was then recovered. The grievor contended that it was unfair to deny his claim because he had received prior authorization from the CO to change his NOK for LTA purposes. He also pointed out that the clerk who gave him the advance of funds failed to verify his entitlement to LTA or detect any errors and, as such, he maintained that he was misled and had been provided with incorrect information.

The Initial Authority (IA), the Commander 4th Canadian Division Support Group, denied the grievance, stating that Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) 209.50(2) clearly defines “family member.” The IA found that the grievor did not meet the eligibility criteria for LTA since he could not substitute his sister for a living parent. The IA also noted that no CO has the authority to designate an alternative family member for LTA purposes. On the issue of the NOK form, the IA explained that the CAF uses this form in the event of death, serious injury or illness and, as such, several relatives can be listed; therefore, the form is not used to determine eligibility for LTA.

Based on the CBI 209.50(2) definition of “family member”, and given that the grievor's mother was still living, the Committee agreed with the IA that the option to designate his sister as his “family member” for LTA purposes was not open to the grievor. The Committee found that the grievor was not entitled to claim LTA expenses when he visited his sister. Further, because the grievor had prepared his own claim form and submitted it directly for an advance, thus negating the opportunity for a review by the OR clerks, the Committee found that the grievor had not been misled to his detriment in the matter. The Committee concluded that recovery of the overpayment was justified and recommended that the grievance be denied.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2015–10–06

The FA agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievance be denied.

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