# 2016-179 - Separation Expense (SE)
Separation Expense (SE)
F&R Date: 2016–12–28
The grievor, a member of a service couple, argued that she should be granted Separation Expense (SE) or Reimbursement of Additional Living Expenses for the time she and her spouse are posted apart. She also sought reimbursement of her Leave Travel Assistance (LTA) claim in order to cover expenses she incurred when travelling to meet her spouse.
The Acting Director General Compensation and Benefits, acting as the Initial Authority (IA), denied the grievance. He found that neither the grievor nor her spouse met all of the entitlement criteria for SE. With regards to the Reimbursement of Additional Living Expenses, the IA concluded that the policy does not apply to the grievor as her spouse remaining in his place of duty to perform his military service does not constitute a justifiable reason as required in Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) 208. Finally, the IA found that there is no entitlement for LTA as the grievor was not entitled to SE, nor was she absent from her place of duty for a period of sixty continuous days.
The Committee explained that the applicable policy no longer provides reimbursement for situations where the relocated service spouse assumes responsibility for the dependant and household goods and effects, while the other spouse remains in-situ. Therefore, the Committee found that the grievor was not entitled to SE in accordance with CBI 208.997.
On the issue of Reimbursement of Additional Living Expenses, the policy provides for financial compensation of additional expenses incurred by a dependant remaining at the former place of duty. The Committee found that the grievor's spouse met the definition for “dependant” and that military service was a reasonable reason for remaining in the former place of duty. Accordingly, the Committee found that the grievor was entitled to financial reimbursement under CBI 208.9963.
The Committee found that a member must be eligible for SE or away from their place of duty in order to claim LTA. Therefore, the Committee found that the grievor was not entitled to LTA.
Accordingly, the Committee recommended that the grievor be granted Reimbursement of Additional Living Expenses for the duration of her separation from her spouse.
FA Decision Summary
The Final Authority (FA) agreed with the Committee's recommendations regarding SE and LTA, but did not agree that the grievor was entitled to the Reimbursement of Additional Living Expenses.
The FA determined that the grievor was not entitled to SE benefits because she was not separated from her dependants, household goods and effects, which she had moved with her on her posting. The FA indicated that the grievor was not entitled to LTA as she did not meet the conditions listed in the relevant provision, which included SE eligibility and a 60 day absence from one's place of duty. Finally, he FA denied the grievor's request for the Reimbursement of Additional Living Expenses based on his finding that "the intent ... is to compensate the member for additional living expenses associated with a temporary separation from a dependant." The FA indicated that it could be many years before a married service couple was reunited on a posting, and accordingly, ALE was not intended for situations such as the grievor's.
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