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Looking for answers....[Questions About Benefits While Engaged And On Tour]

DirtyDog

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I recently became engaged and with tour coming up in early 2010 I (we) decided it would be best to wait until the summer of 2011 to have a wedding.  To do the wedding we want requires summer weather which we won’t see together again until 2011.  Also, neither of us wants to rush it before tour as we are both quite busy.  Her, with her final year of a degree, and me with work up.

However, lately my fiancé has become concerned that it would be more beneficial to be married before tour.  This is not simply a money issue and includes several factors.  I made few inquiries to my clerk as to what being married would mean to me and my fiancé and really didn't get a lot of answers.  My fiancé on the other hand got in touch with the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre as well as the Deployment Support Centre, who in turn, forwarded her to my chief clerk.  Both the PMFRC and DSC were quite helpful, but seemed to have no concrete, and sometimes conflicting, answers.  The chief clerk only said that she couldn't discuss anything with her and that I would have to talk to her.  The clerk also mentioned that if I "did my paperwork right" we wouldn't need to be married to receive all the benefits.  Since I met her while in the military, and despite living with her on weekends and leave, I believe we cannot claim common law status so that option is out.

A few of the issues we're wondering about:

• Separation pay: I was told by the clerk that I’d receive no separation pay since I was posted her well before being married.  Other sources noted above stated separation pay would begin immediately after we are married regardless of the posting calendar.

• HLTA: Some sources have said HLTA only covers a set cost (i.e. the amount it would take to return to a next of kin’s residence or Petawawa).  I could use that amount any way I wish, including paying for my fiancé to join me somewhere.  On the other hand, I’ve been told that HLTA will cover the cost (limited I’m sure) to fly a family member, but not a fiancé, to my destination of choice. 

• Family contact sheet and deployment support: Who is eligible for support from the DSC?  My fiancé is scared to death of tour and would appreciate any support the system has to help her deal with it.  Just not sure if a fiancé or “girlfriend” is eligible to the full benefits of the system.

• Medical/dental benefits: She graduates from university while I will be on tour and will lose the benefits she receives under her parents.  I’m fairly sure she is in no way eligible unless we are married.  What are the costs involved with adding someone?

• Primary Next of Kin: What would be the consequences of her becoming my PNoK whether we are married or not?  Is a PKoK basically just a 1rst contact?

• Supplementary Death Benefits: Would my death benefits still go to the person I designated no matter how the situation changes.  I wish to keep it as is and plan to deal with my will and life insurance separately.

Anyway, these are the main issues I can think of and it’s fairly frustrating to not be able to get any concrete answers.  We don’t want to have a quickie marriage simply to cash in on a few bucks.  She just wants to be treated as best as possible while I’m away and we would like to use HLTA as a honeymoon of sorts.  That being said, we feel we have a strong relationship that is hindered by the military and believe we should be able to enjoy some of the benefits available to married couples that some take advantage of rather flippantly.  This would not be an issue if it weren’t for tour as we would just be getting married next summer with little complication.  We are just unsure which direction to go (i.e. having a winter wedding, not a great prospect with both of us extremely busy) and are having trouble getting straight answers to help us make a decision.

Anyone have any advice? 

Thanks.
 

George Wallace

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DirtyDog said:
• Separation pay: I was told by the clerk that I’d receive no separation pay since I was posted her well before being married.  Other sources noted above stated separation pay would begin immediately after we are married regardless of the posting calendar.

I don't think you will get any Separation Pay for those reasons stated.  When you deploy, you will get allowances.

DirtyDog said:
• HLTA: Some sources have said HLTA only covers a set cost (i.e. the amount it would take to return to a next of kin’s residence or Petawawa).  I could use that amount any way I wish, including paying for my fiancé to join me somewhere.  On the other hand, I’ve been told that HLTA will cover the cost (limited I’m sure) to fly a family member, but not a fiancé, to my destination of choice.

Again, you are quoting what the clerks told you.  They would know.
 
DirtyDog said:
• Family contact sheet and deployment support: Who is eligible for support from the DSC?  My fiancé is scared to death of tour and would appreciate any support the system has to help her deal with it.  Just not sure if a fiancé or “girlfriend” is eligible to the full benefits of the system.

This is where the marriage would come into play.  Girlfriend's don't hold much water in these matters.

DirtyDog said:
• Medical/dental benefits: She graduates from university while I will be on tour and will lose the benefits she receives under her parents.  I’m fairly sure she is in no way eligible unless we are married.  What are the costs involved with adding someone?

Again, a point that marriage would solve.  You will have to start deductions from your pay to cover her and your insurance.

DirtyDog said:
• Primary Next of Kin: What would be the consequences of her becoming my PNoK whether we are married or not?  Is a PKoK basically just a 1rst contact?

Next of Kin are FAMILY or LEGAL GUARDIAN; not girl/boyfriends.

DirtyDog said:
• Supplementary Death Benefits: Would my death benefits still go to the person I designated no matter how the situation changes.  I wish to keep it as is and plan to deal with my will and life insurance separately.

You would be best to change your beneficiary to whom you want your Estate to go to before you leave.  Nothing like being married, and having your Estate go to your First wife, just because you didn't up date your SDB, SISIP, and Will.
 

PMedMoe

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To add a couple of points:

HLTA is either to fly you home to your next of kin, or have your next of kin flown to a third location.  For the second option, the transportation costs (flight, rental car, gas, ferries, etc) are covered up to the allowed amount.

As far as your SDB, you can designate anyone you want to receive it, as long as they are of legal age.  Your estate and life insurance can be left to a different person.  Just make sure you update things immediately.
 

DirtyDog

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George Wallace said:
I don't think you will get any Separation Pay for those reasons stated.  When you deploy, you will get allowances.
I got conflicting answers to this from diffrent people in the "system".  You say there are additional allwances upon deployment?  I have also heard that it is the same, regardless of marital status.

George Wallace said:
Again, you are quoting what the clerks told you.  They would know.
So if you only recieve a set amount for HLTA, how does being married make it any more benficial?  If flying your spouse or whoever to a 3rd location comes out of that amount, would you just buying that ticket anyway be the same thing?

George Wallace said:
This is where the marriage would come into play.  Girlfriend's don't hold much water in these matters.
So I can't simply add her to a "list" or anything to get deployment support?  This is one point she is very concerned about.

George Wallace said:
Again, a point that marriage would solve.  You will have to start deductions from your pay to cover her and your insurance.
What are the costs involved in adding a spouse under the benefits.  This influences our decisions as she will most likely get a job shortly after finishing school and be offered benefits there.  If it is preferable for her to covered under mine, then it wouldn’t make sense for her to pay into it at that job.

George Wallace said:
Next of Kin are FAMILY or LEGAL GUARDIAN; not girl/boyfriends.
So you just can’t make anyone your next of kin… obviously?

I want to keep my SDB as is and have other plans for SISIP and my will.

I do plan on going in and talking to the chief clerk and I would like to think she will have all the straight answers for me.  Clerks have been known to not always be right in the past however and I’m also just trying to get as many facts as I can before I approach this matter any further.  To me this is

Thanks for your replies. all just a PITA and I don’t have a lot of time for it.  Personally, I could really care a less for most of it and don’t really care about the financial aspect of it.  My fiancé just wants to be treated as importantly as she would be as if she was my wife as she feels, as do I, that we have a serious, stable relationship which would be a marriage sooner if it weren’t for tour.  I know all the horror stories, and have warned many a men from making bad woman decisions, only to see it go as I predicted.  I have also seen the men and women who are looking for a cash grab.  I like to think this is not our case.  We are simply trying to figure out if a rushed marriage (and when I say rushed I mean somewhere squeezed into the next  6 or 7 months or so before we deploy) is something we should consider in order to help her while I’m on tour.  She is worried about  being treated like a frivolous, second class citizen by the military while I am on tour and thinks we should take advantage of any benefits that come with a serious relationship such as ours.
 

DirtyDog

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PMedMoe said:
HLTA is either to fly you home to your next of kin, or have your next of kin flown to a third location.  For the second option, the transportation costs (flight, rental car, gas, ferries, etc) are covered up to the allowed amount.
I asked this above, but....

So do you get the same maximum amount regardless of the option?
 

exgunnertdo

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Just a thought - friends of mine did the quick city hall type marriage to get everything all legal for the military, then had the big party at the time they wanted to.  They even re-did their vows in the church.  They celebrate the second date as their anniversary, not the first.  Very very few people know that they had been "married" for months before that.
 

Gunner98

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DirtyDog said:
So do you get the same maximum amount regardless of the option?

Short answer - yes, you get up to the same maximum amount - but are only reimbursed for what you spend - you do not automatically get the maximum.  There are many restrictions on how it can be spent and claimed.

Home option:
Travel by Air: If travelling by air, reimbursement is restricted to the following expenses, subject to the provision of receipts:
a) most economical direct routing airfare from the member's post to the member's home or previous place of duty.
b) ground transportation to and from the airport.
c) road and ferry tolls necessarily incurred
d) parking at the airport not to exceed 3 hours,
e) airport taxes, fuel and security surcharges when not included in airfare.

HLTA for travel to a 3rd location is a fixed allowance that is provided for the following expenses only:
a) airfare (economy class only);
b) ground transportation to and from the airport.
c) the low kilometric rate from where the travel began if a member uses a PMV;
d) road and ferry tolls necessarily incurred;
e) parking at the airport not to exceed 3 hours;
f) airport taxes, fuel and security surcharges when not included in airfare;
g) rail or bus pass
h) automobile or motorcycle rental including basic insurance required by law
i) the transportation portion only of a safari, cruise or tour, if the safari, cruise or tour includes meals, beverages or accommodation
j) public transit; and
k) any reasonable expense for a mode of transportation not listed above is to be sent to DCBA for approval.
 

Eye In The Sky

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I had my fiance (now my wife) as my PNok before we were married and she was living in NB.  My OR had no issue with it.  She was also listed as my beneficiary for my SDB, SISIP OGTI @ 400k and MC.  However, we weren't CL so until we married, I was effectively Single as far as the CF was concerned.

DirtyDog said:
What are the costs involved in adding a spouse under the benefits.  This influences our decisions as she will most likely get a job shortly after finishing school and be offered benefits there.  If it is preferable for her to covered under mine, then it wouldn’t make sense for her to pay into it at that job.

The Medical is called PSHCP (Public Service Health Care Plan) and I think it costs me about $5 a month (I opted for the Lev III hospital benefits, the most $).  I don't even notice it off my pay (obviously, for that amount).  The deductions are only for the Hospitalization coverage IIRC (private room vs semi-private, etc).

The Dental is a nice one, she would/will be covered automatically effective the date you are married (once you submit the proper paperwork to the OR of course) and there is no cost for the dental coverage.

Public Service Health Care Plan

On the menu on the left you'll see the link for the Public Service Dental Care Plan as well.

Hope this helps some. 

*editted to add


From the PSHCP site:

How much do I pay for my Health Care Plan?Once you have applied to be a Plan member, the Government as your employer pays the full cost of your Extended Health Care Benefit and Level I of your Hospital Benefit.

Employees who choose Level II Hospital Benefits will pay a premium of  $1.10 per month for Single coverage or $3.53 per month for Family Coverage.

Employees choosing Level III Hospital Benefits will pay  $5.31 per month for Single coverage or $10.34 for Family Coverage.



How much do I pay for my Dental Care Plan?The Government as your employer pays the full cost of your Dental Care Plan. However, if you live in the Province of Quebec, the contribution made by the Employer in your behalf is a taxable benefit.

For some types of leave without pay, you may be required to pay the full cost of your coverage. Your compensation advisor will provide you with further information.
 

PMedMoe

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I think I can answer the separation question.  According to the DCBA Aide Memoire*, Chapter 2, Section 3:

6.4 Marriage or Common Law After Change Of Strength (COS) Date
There is no entitlement to SA, except for service couples as per paragraph 2.2 above.

Since you are not a service couple, you have no entitlement.  I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be entitled to the R&Q either, since you're the one with the HG&E (formerly F&E).

Allowances when on tour do not differ between single and married personnel.  There is no SA on tour.

Frostnipped Elf answered the HLTA one with one exception.  I think only your next of kin can be flown to a third location.

*Memoire possibly only accessible on DWAN.
 

George Wallace

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DirtyDog said:
Thanks for your replies. all just a PITA and I don’t have a lot of time for it.  Personally, I could really care a less for most of it and don’t really care about the financial aspect of it.  My fiancé just wants to be treated as importantly as she would be as if she was my wife as she feels, as do I, that we have a serious, stable relationship which would be a marriage sooner if it weren’t for tour.  I know all the horror stories, and have warned many a men from making bad woman decisions, only to see it go as I predicted.  I have also seen the men and women who are looking for a cash grab.  I like to think this is not our case.  We are simply trying to figure out if a rushed marriage (and when I say rushed I mean somewhere squeezed into the next  6 or 7 months or so before we deploy) is something we should consider in order to help her while I’m on tour.  She is worried about  being treated like a frivolous, second class citizen by the military while I am on tour and thinks we should take advantage of any benefits that come with a serious relationship such as ours.

You are receiving some good advice in the above posts.  Just a couple of thoughts: 1.  What happens should something happen to you on Tour?  Would your wife be taken care of better than your girlfriend/fiance would?  2.  If you are married prior to Tour, do you necessarily have to go on a 'Honeymoon' right away, or could you go on a longer one, with the extra cash you earned on Tour, at a later date?
 

gaspasser

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My  :2c: from the peanut gallery.
Get a quickie wedding at city hall, use your HLTA to a third location for you honeymoon all paid for. (Cyprus, Greece, Japan, etc-etc-etc...you're already in that part of the world anyways..) She'll never forget it (mine still talks about our second HM to Isreal  ;D ) and love you forever, big time GI...  8)
And, if anything unfortunate may happen, she is taken care off... (morbid thoughts, I know) and so is the rest of your family. As many folks have learned from being in and from this site, girlfriends and boyfriends have no status in the eyes of the military bureaucrazy (sp mistake intended).
She seems like she has a good head on her shoulders with getting her schooling; and you too with your great questions.
Regards, BYTD
 

Gunner98

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At too many memorial services, I have seen a fiancée regretting that they did not tie the knot before he deployed.  They planned to do it after the tour and he did not come home.  If you love her, make it permanent rather than waiting, you won't regret it and then you both will have will have the peace-of-mind and a support system should anything unpleasant occur.
 

helpup

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I echo's Elf statement.  To add, try a JP ( city hall ) quicky one and then when you come back fall back to the big wedding plans you were orriginally thinking of.  I recommend you talk to your parents at least about this so there is not suprises worse case scenario.  Everything else has been covered pretty well by previous posts
 

beach_bum

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Just a note on the DSC side.  You most certainly CAN put your girlfriend on your Family Information Sheet and DSC WILL support her.  You do not have to be married or family to receive support.
 

helpup

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beach_bum said:
Just a note on the DSC side.  You most certainly CAN put your girlfriend on your Family Information Sheet and DSC WILL support her.  You do not have to be married or family to receive support.

You can but that does not stop the bun fights that happen with Family vs Girlfreind regardless of what the members wishes were.  I have seen enough of them.  It is fine to say that the army only follows the members Family plan laid out prior to deployment.  And in that they are right we do try to. However AO's and various CoC are very sensitive to the perception that can reach the general public if a GF or Family member feels slighted.  Due to that more then anything else the tendancy to bend over backwards to please everyone tends to take shape. 

If your not going to get a quicky wedding and inform parents then at least make sure your parents are fully aware of what your wishes are.  It may not stop some of the problems but it would prevent most. 
 

CountDC

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and from a clerks point of view....

Get married, save her and everyone else a lot of hassle if something should happen.

I know someone mentioned the clerk at the unit having no problem with them putting the GF on their next of kin form - I hope that they mean as #3 person to contact as a GF does not qualify as NOK. CFAO 26-18 spells it out:

The person designated as PEN contact or NOK should be capable of
making decisions in an emergency, especially in respect of funeral and
burial NOK should be:
    a.  a spouse normally resident with the member;

    b.  a spouse not residing with the member if separation is due to
          military or family requirements;

    c.  a common-law spouse; or

    d.  an adult child or step-child.

8.    The usual practice is to designate as primary NOK the person most
closely related to the member and, as secondary NOK, another person as
suggested in paragraph 7.

PEN CONTACT
9.    The PEN allows for the designation of a PEN contact. Normally the PEN
contact designated will be either the primary or secondary NOK; however,
another person may be designated where:
    a.  a member does not wish the NOK to receive initial notification of
          a casualty;

    b.  there is no NOK; or

    c.  the responsibilities involved cannot be fulfilled by the NOK,
          such as when there are elderly parents, infant children, or the
          NOK is living outside Canada.

Another point you should consider as it has come up with my current job - if you were injured, in a comma and someone had to decide if they should continue with life support.  The hospitals will require your NOK to make the choice and they usually do not recognize GFs as NOK either. She will have no say, other than what your family allows her to, in anything to do with your care or funeral unless you are married/common law.

HLTA - unless the rules have changed recently is again for family and GF does not qualify.

Do the quick fix, get married, take a HLTA honeymoon and bank your allowances.  When you come home have the big do for the families, mayber even take a second honeymoon.  Just don't leave her hanging on the outside.

 

Eye In The Sky

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CountDC,

That was me that had my GF/fiance down as my NOK.  I have to note in the cut/paste of the CFAO that the word "shall" is not there in Para 7/8/9.

As I mentioned in my case, my then-GF/fiance was also my beneficiary for SDB, first on my MC form, my SISIP OGTI and the Executor of my Will.  I guess they took that all into consideration when they allowed her to be my PNOK/PEN info? 
 

PMedMoe

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Even in the post from CountDC. "should" and "the usual practice" does not make it mandatory for the NOK to be a blood relative, spouse or adult child.

What if a member's parents/grandparents are deceases and they have no siblings, spouse or children?  I would think they'd would name a close personal friend as their NOK.
 

Greymatters

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Simian Turner said:
At too many memorial services, I have seen a fiancée regretting that they did not tie the knot before he deployed.  They planned to do it after the tour and he did not come home.  If you love her, make it permanent rather than waiting, you won't regret it and then you both will have will have the peace-of-mind and a support system should anything unpleasant occur.

Regret is a horrible thing, but taking care of your current love interest prior to a deployment is not a good reason to get married.  You should be getting married because you're ready to get married and have a family, not just for a few benefits in case you die.  See related threads from numerous soldiers who did the same and ended up divorced afterwards because their new spouse couldn't handle a six-month+ separation. 

I would also caution that you shouldn't look at your HLTA as a 'vacation' or a perfect time for a loving honeymoon, especially if youve been working on a deployment where youre under a lot of pressure or undegone some stressful events...

Yes, it sounds pretty negative, but these are life lessons from many who have deployed before you...
 

CountDC

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ah - forgot about all those shall/should people.  Sometimes it is not that word alone that decides.  Put together with:

should be capable of making decisions in an emergency, especially in respect of funeral and burial

then you understand what they are looking for and a GF does not qualify.  Also look at the form itself - it clearly says NEXT OF KIN for section 1 and 2, GF does not qualify. The back of the form also states it:

Next of Kin (NOK) – Sections 1 & 2
2. For the purpose of this form only, a Next of Kin is defined as a
spouse, common law partner, an adult child, or a parent (where parents
are separated or divorced, the parent indicated as the member's primary
NOK).


search through the pubs and often you will find such terms as nok refers to or means spouse, common-law partner, child or parent.

In one of the pubs it has (or at least use to) a complete list of who qualifies as nok and order,  something like

spouse
children
parents
grandparents
siblings
uncle/aunt
niece/nephew

The main thing is - save people the hassle and her the possible suffering - put her in part 3 as PEN. If something should happen and they have to contact your NOK and if the person dealing with the case is keen and realize the form is not completed correctly then there could be delays in making contact. To be honest - I hate it when I have to search through a persons records hoping to find a parents information so that the NOK can be contacted because Capt so and so will not use the incorrectly completed form.

The others you mentioned have no restrictions on who you name as they do not require NOK so they are not comparable. To draw a comparision you would have to look at LTA, Moves, HHT, Dental Coverage, PSHCP.  In other words compare apples to apples.

Might as will try to start this person off on the right foot and have him complete his paperwork correctly.


PMED:  What if a member's parents/grandparents are deceases and they have no siblings, spouse or children?  I would think they'd would name a close personal friend as their NOK.

Had similar with an officer clearing in at Stad - NOK is left blank and part 3 - PEN is completed.  His case was a little better - he handed me the form with no NOK or PEN - no family or friends, let the military decide.

Simian: Regret is a horrible thing, but taking care of your current love interest prior to a deployment is not a good reason to get married.  You should be getting married because you're ready to get married

he did indicate that they were ready to get married, they thought of putting it off until after the deployment so they could have the ideal summer wedding.


 
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