Home Equity Assistance

100% Home Equity Assistance in CFIRP

CAF OMBUDSMAN on Home Equity Assistance Systemic Denial

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The Board indicated that it previously made a systemic recommendation regarding the need to have the HEA program reviewed; the Board added that, in a recent decision, the CDS agreed and directed the Director General Compensation and Benefits (DGCB) to review the HEA provisions with the TBS with a view to reducing the impact of losses on sale of a residence to a reasonable and minimally detrimental level. The Board expressed the hope that this matter will be treated as a priority by both the CDS and the DGCB, given the prospect of further similar grievances due to the current trends in the real estate market.[i]

[i] http://mgerc-ceegm.gc.ca/cs-sc/2012-058-eng.html

“While the average price of a house has tripled since then (as per statistics from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation), the benefits under the policy have not been amended to more adequately respond to the needs of Canadian Forces members and their families,” Daigle wrote in a letter to Lawson, dated Dec. 21, 2012.

“Times are tough for everybody,” Daigle said.

“But what we demand of military people in this country we don’t demand the same for the rest. If you’re told you go to one place to do that job, and you’ve got to be loyal and agree to that, why would you pick up the bill at the end?”

 

Over the years, the office has identified serious concerns with the Home Equity Assistance policy within the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CFIRP).
When posted, Canadian Forces members can be faced with volatile market conditions, a lack of availability of military housing, limited housing options in the open market, low rental vacancy rates and a short time-frame in which to decide where to live. Many of these circumstances are beyond the control of Canadian Forces members and can have severe and long-lasting financial and personal consequences.
Under the Home Equity Assistance policy, Canadian Forces members are only compensated for the full loss on the sale of a home if it is located in a community where Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) – the authority on the government’s relocation policy – has determined that the housing market has dropped by more than 20 percent. The CFIRP requires that a military member, who wishes to apply for depressed market status due to a home equity loss, must substantiate his/her case and submit it to the Director of Compensation and Benefits Administration for consideration and possible submission to TBS.
As a result of the Home Equity Assistance policy, a number of Canadian Forces members have incurred significant financial hardship. Between 2008 and 2012, 118 Canadian Forces members suffered losses greater than $15,000 and, in some cases, losses greater than $80,000. In comparison, only two received a full reimbursement.
The former Chief of Defence Staff supported a number of grievances as valid claims for Canadian Forces members’ loss of equity as a result of the sale of their home; however, he lacked the financial authority to reimburse these losses.
The Ombudsman appeared before the Parliamentary Defence Committee in February 2013 and recommended that the Chief of Defence Staff be given financial authority to resolve financial unfairness. Several other witnesses made the same recommendation.
The Ombudsman’s office remains concerned by the financial losses and the resulting distress being placed on military members and their families as a result of relocation. The office will continue to investigate complaints that relate to the Home Equity Assistance policy and will submit recommendations as appropriate. [1]

[1] http://www.ombudsman.forces.gc.ca/en/ombudsman-reports-stats-reports/2012-2013-full-annual-report.page

 

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Written by Major Marcus Brauer

February 22, 2015 at 15:19

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] Source: CAF OMBUDSMAN on Home Equity Assistance Systemic Denial […]

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