Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Double Dipping Definition:

Double recovery of funds or property through two different sources effectively or potentially doubling the entitlement.

Related Terms: Pension, Double Recovery, Collateral Source Rule

Also known as double recovery.

In Boston v Boston, Justice Major of Canada's Supreme Court wrote, at ¶1:

"Double recovery or double dipping are terms that have come to describe the situation where, after an equal division of assets on marriage breakdown, one spouse claims continued support from the previously divided or equalized assets of the other spouse.  This usually arises, as here, when a pension is involved."

Similarly, in Brown v Rae, Justice Coutu of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench wrote, at ¶94:

"The concept of double dipping or double recovery usually arises in pension cases. The argument is that double dipping occurs when a pension that has been distributed as an asset in a matrimonial property division, is sought to be divided as income on a support application, at a later date, when the pension is paid. The party who owns the pension in effect can end up dividing the asset twice - once as property and once as income."

For example, a person who seeks and obtains permanent disability insurance benefits as a result of a workplace injury and then seeks also to receive full retirement benefits even while and overlapping with disability benefits.

In Mansell v Mansell, Justice Marshall of the United States Supreme Court wrote:

"In order to prevent double dipping, a military retiree may receive disability benefits only to the extent that he waives a corresponding amount of his military retirement pay."

Another example of double dipping is where a child support recipient receives child support from the natural father of a child and then seeks to recover further child support from a subsequent step-father to the child, without revealing the flow of child support from the natural father.


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