Normally Resident - Interpretation for Benefit purposes

Topic

Normally Resident - Interpretation for Benefit purposes

Case number

Description

Since 2006, the Board has reviewed a number of grievances where Canadian Forces (CF) members were denied benefits based on a flawed and overly restrictive interpretation of the term “normally resident” found in the definition of dependant (Compensation and Benefits Instruction (CBI) 208.80, formerly CBI 209.80).

In each of these individual grievances, the Board has reiterated that the term “normally resident” could not be interpreted simply on the basis of a mathematical calculation, but rather on a number of factors that must be considered in order to determine whether a CF member has dependants or not. In agreeing with the Board, several Chiefs of the Defense Staff (CDS) found the facts regarding a child’s residential situation to be determinative and that he/she may be “normally resident” even when the time spent with each parent is shared equally.

The CDS having provided clear guidance on the interpretation of a CBI, the grievance process should enable and lead CF authorities to be proactive and adopt the CDS’ position. CF members should not have to grieve issues already decided by the CDS.

Unfortunately, CF members are still being denied benefits to which they are entitled and cases involving the interpretation of a dependent “normally residing” with a CF member continue to be referred to the Board.

Recommendation

Therefore, the Board recommended that the CDS direct the Chief of Military Personnel to ensure that:

· CBI 208.80 (formerly CBI 209.80) be interpreted and applied in accordance with the CDS' decisions and directions; and

· CF members are made aware of the appropriate meaning of “normally resident” so that they may understand the conditions required for their children to be considered dependants according to the CBI.

Final Authority Decision

The CDS  agreed with the systemic recommendation and directed the DGCB to review the decisions on the definition of "normally resident" and advise CF members of the appropriate meaning of "normally resident".

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