# 2015-040 - Recovery of Overpayment , Separation Expense (SE)

Recovery of Overpayment , Separation Expense (SE)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2015–08–19

Upon being posted on an imposed restriction, the grievor obtained approval from the appropriate local authorities to co-lease an apartment with another individual, as the overall cost was within the allowable limits. Four months later, the grievor was advised that he was considered to be in a “boarding arrangement” and was therefore entitled to significantly less for his Separation Expense (SE). Five months after that, the grievor was advised that recovery action of the overpayments would be taken. The grievor requested reversal of the recovery action taken for the portion of his SE benefits relating to accommodation.

Staff at the Director of Compensation and Benefits Administration (DCBA) concluded that the grievor's co-renter was not a member of the CAF. Therefore, he was considered to be living in a boarding situation and was only entitled to the lower rate of SE. There was no initial authority decision on the grievance.

The Committee found that none of the applicable policies or documents contained a definition of “boarding arrangement,” nor was there any explanation for how DCBA staff came to this conclusion. In reviewing dictionary definitions of “boarding” and “boarders,” the Committee concluded that the grievor was not in a boarding arrangement. He was in fact a co-renter of an apartment, not a boarder.

The Committee found that the grievor should be entitled to reimbursement for his share of the expenses as detailed in the lease he signed with his landlord.

The Committee recommended that the grievor be reimbursed for the portion of the actual and reasonable expenses he incurred and that had been recovered.

FA Decision Summary

The FA agreed with the Committee's recommendation that the grievor be reimbursed for his share of the expenses as detailed in the lease. The FA disagreed with the Committee's finding regarding the applicable policy: he found that the calculation of the grievor's SE entitlements could only be made according to CBI 209.997(3). The FA found that the grievor has demonstrated that the lodgings he secured were commercial and available to the general public, because there was a lease between a landlord and a tenant, not a boarding arrangement. Therefore, he found that the lodgings fitted under the "commercial" category.

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