# 2016-091 - Allowances and Benefits, Release - Medical

Allowances and Benefits, Release - Medical

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2016–12–14

The Director Casualty Support Management (DCSM) refused to recognize the grievor's mother as next of kin (NOK) because her mother's name was not on the NOK form DND) form 2587> As a result, the DCSM refused to pay the grievor Next of Kin Travel Benefits (NKTB) to reimburse her mother's travel expenses.

The grievor argued that she had listed her father on the NOK form rather than her mother because he had a more stable address. She also complained that she was not made aware by her chain of command that the NOK form had changed in 2013 and that she could have listed several individuals on her form.

The Initial Authority, the Director General Morale and Welfare Services, rejected the grievance on the grounds that it was submitted beyond the three month time limit set out in the Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces, article 7.06. However, the file was accepted for adjudication at the Final Authority (FA) level in the interests of justice.

The Committee first reviewed the NKTB policy, as set out in Compensation and Benefits Instruction (CBI) 211.07, and found that, to be eligible, the person undertaking the travel must be designated by the member as NOK on the DND 2587 form. Since the grievor's mother was not designated, her travel expenses could not be claimed as NKTB expenses.

The Committee then considered the grievor's reason for listing her father rather than her mother as her NOK and found that her choice to do so could not be attributed to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

Finally, the Committee considered the grievor's contention that she was unaware that a change in the NOK form allowed her to list more than one person on her NOK form. The Committee found that both the current and the previous versions of the NOK form allowed for the designation of several persons as NOK and included instructions specifying that members can identify as many individuals as they consider appropriate. The Committee concluded that reading the NOK form instructions and then completing the form to reflect her preference was entirely the responsibility of the grievor. Therefore, the absence of the mother's name on the NOK form was not in any way the fault of the CAF or the chain of command.

The Committee noted that the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) has previously exercised some flexibility in what he is willing to accept as a “NOK form” by considering a written intent to add names to a NOK form to be sufficient for NKTB eligibility. However, in examining the present case, the Committee found that the grievor's earliest written expression of intent to add her mother as a caregiver was issued after her mother's travels. Consequently, there would still be no entitlement to reimbursement of the travel expenses.

The Committee, concluding that the CAF decision to deny the NKTB claim was appropriate and in accordance with policy, recommended that the CDS deny the grievance.

FA Decision Summary

The CDS did not agree with the Committee's recommendation. Although the grievor's mother was not include on the form as required by CBI 211.07 - Next of Kin Travel Benefit (NKTB), the CDS considered the grievor's medical crisis and found that the mother met the NOK as defined by QR&O 1.02 (Definitions). Ultimately, the CDS found that it was unreasonable that CAF members could have been denied the NKTB solely based on being remiss in ensuring that the NOK forms are updated or amended. Therefore, the CDS directed the Chief of Military Personnel to explore with TBS a less constraining framework for the NKTB by de-linking it to the NOK form.

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