# 2015-041 - Recovery of Overpayment , Separation Expense (SE)
F&R Date: 2015–06–08
The grievor submitted that the recovery of separation expense (SE) benefits he had received to pay for the rent and utilities of a two bedroom apartment he leased while serving on imposed restriction (IR), was unjust. He argued that he chose a two bedroom apartment with a rent that was below the monthly rental cap and that his claims were approved without question for the duration of his IR status. He said that he was never advised of any one bedroom limitation for personnel on IR and requested that 100% of the recovery be cancelled and that any recovered funds be returned to him.
Although there was no Initial Authority (IA) decision, a synopsis was prepared by the IA's staff. The synopsis stated that there was no specified requirement for one bedroom accommodation in Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) 209.997 (2007 version). This requirement only came into effect on 1 January 2012 in CBI 208.997. Even after this date, the grievor continued to submit his two bedroom rental claims which were approved. Furthermore, the synopsis noted that CANFORGEN 008/12 had announced the new CBI 208.997, indicating that “SE benefits detailed in the previous CBI 209.997 …remain unchanged with the exception of the incidental allowance and dinner meal rate.” Thus, the grievor had no reason to believe there were other changes to the relevant CBI. The synopsis recommended that the recovery be cancelled for the period prior to 1 January 2012 but not thereafter.
The Committee noted that the new CBI was promulgated on 12 January 2012, retroactive to 1 January 2012. The Committee was of the opinion that the earliest the grievor could have relocated to a one bedroom apartment would have been April 2012, taking into account the time necessary to find another apartment and to provide the required 60 days' notice to terminate his two bedroom tenancy. Thus, the Committee recommended that the grievor's SE benefits not be recovered for any period prior to 1 April 2012.
For the period of recovery falling after 1 April 2012, the Committee noted that although the grievor was in contravention of CBI 208.997, he was never advised of the new restriction and his claims continued to be approved without question until after he ceased to be on IR/SE. Because the grievor relied to his detriment on staff advice and the continued payment of his claims, the Committee recommended that the portion of the grievor's SE benefits, equal to the average monthly cost of a one bedroom apartment, for the period after 1 April 2012, not be recovered.
CDS Decision Summary
CDS Decision Date: 2015–07–28
Case withdrawn at Final Authority level.
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