Revising the Ticket to Work Program Rules, 7041-7044 [2016-02657]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 27 / Wednesday, February 10, 2016 / Proposed Rules developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal. Communications should identify both docket numbers and be submitted in triplicate to the address listed above. Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this notice must submit with those comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: ‘‘Comments to Docket No. FAA–2016–1288/Airspace Docket No. 15–ASW–23.’’ The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter. asabaliauskas on DSK9F6TC42PROD with PROPOSALS2 Availability of NPRMs An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA’s Web page at http:// www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_ traffic/publications/airspace_ amendments/. You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the Central Service Center, Operation Support Group, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177. Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future NPRMs should contact the FAA’s Office of Rulemaking (202) 267–9677, to request a copy of Advisory Circular No. 11–2A, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Distribution System, which describes the application procedure. Availability and Summary of Documents Proposed for Incorporation by Reference This document would amend FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015. FAA Order 7400.9Z is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points. The Proposal This action proposes to amend Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:36 Feb 09, 2016 Jkt 238001 CFR), Part 71 by establishing Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within an 6-mile radius of South Grand Lake Regional Airport, Ketchum, OK, to accommodate new standard instrument approach procedures. Controlled airspace is needed for the safety and management of IFR operations at the airport. Class E airspace areas are published in Section 6005 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designation listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order. Regulatory Notices and Analyses The FAA has determined that this proposed regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current, is noncontroversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. It, therefore: (1) Is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a ‘‘significant rule’’ under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that will only affect air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Environmental Review This proposal will be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, ‘‘Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures’’ prior to any FAA final regulatory action. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71 Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air) The Proposed Amendment In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows: PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for 14 CFR part 71 continues to read as follows: ■ PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 7041 Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959–1963 Comp., p. 389. § 71.1 [Amended] 2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: ■ Section 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. * * * * * ASW OK E5 Ketchum, OK [New] South Grand Lake Regional Airport, OK (Lat. 36°32′47″ N., long. 095°00′49″ W.) That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6-mile radius of South Grand Lake Regional Airport. Issued in Fort Worth, TX, on January 27, 2016. Robert W. Beck, Manager, Operations Support Group, ATO Central Service Center. [FR Doc. 2016–02549 Filed 2–9–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION [Docket No. SSA–2015–0025] 20 CFR Part 411 RIN 0960–AH50 Revising the Ticket to Work Program Rules Social Security Administration. Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM). AGENCY: ACTION: We are soliciting public input on whether and how we might revise the current Ticket to Work program rules. The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 established the Ticket to Work program to allow individuals with disabilities to seek services to obtain and retain employment in order to reduce dependency on cash benefit programs. In creating the program, Congress found that eliminating barriers to work and providing individuals with real choice in obtaining services and technology to find, enter, and maintain employment can greatly improve the short and longterm financial independence and personal well-being of our beneficiaries. We want to explore improving our Ticket to Work program as part of our ongoing effort to help our beneficiaries find and maintain employment that leads to increased independence and enhanced productivity. If we propose SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\10FEP1.SGM 10FEP1 7042 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 27 / Wednesday, February 10, 2016 / Proposed Rules specific revisions to our regulations, we will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register. To ensure that we consider your comments, we must receive them by no later than April 11, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by Internet, fax, or mail. Do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method. Regardless of which method you choose, please state that your comments refer to Docket No. SSA–2015–0025 so that we may associate your comments with this ANPRM. Caution: You should be careful to include in your comments only information you wish to make publicly available. We strongly urge you not to include in your comments any personal information, such as Social Security numbers or medical information. 1. Internet: We strongly recommend this method for submitting your comments. Visit the Federal eRulemaking portal at http:// www.regulations.gov. Use the Web page’s Search function to find docket number SSA–2015–0025. Once you submit your comment, the system will issue you a tracking number to confirm your submission. You will not be able to view your comment immediately because we post each comment manually. It may take up to a week for your comment to appear. 2. Fax: Fax comments to (410) 966– 2830. 3. Mail: Address your comments to the Office of Regulations and Reports Clearance, Social Security Administration, 3100 West High Rise Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235–6401. Comments are available for public viewing on the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov or in person, during regular business hours, by arranging with the contact person identified below. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Green, Deputy Director, Office of Beneficiary Outreach and Employment Support, Office of Research, Demonstration and Employment Support, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235–6401, (410) 965–9852. For information on eligibility or filing for benefits, call our national toll-free number, 1–800–772– 1213 or TTY 1–800–325–0778, or visit our Internet site, Social Security Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: asabaliauskas on DSK9F6TC42PROD with PROPOSALS2 DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:36 Feb 09, 2016 Jkt 238001 What is the purpose of this ANPRM? The purpose of this ANPRM is to solicit ideas for improving the Ticket to Work program. We are considering whether and how we might update the Ticket to Work program rules to help both our beneficiaries and the providers that serve our beneficiaries in the program. The Ticket to Work program rules are contained in 20 CFR part 411. We last updated the program rules on May 20, 2008. Through this ANPRM, we are requesting comments and suggestions from the public on what we might include in new Ticket to Work program rules. Why are we considering new Ticket to Work program rules? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Current Population Survey (http://www.bls.gov/ news.release/empsit.t06.htm), the July 2015 unemployment rate for individuals with a disability 1 was 10.4 percent, compared to 5.4 percent for people without disability. This number refers to those who were actively seeking a job, and were willing, able and available to work, but unable to find a job in the month prior to the survey. The July 2015 employment-population ratio, which measures the percent of people in a given population who are working, was 17.7 percent for persons with a disability, versus 65.3 percent for those without a disability. Employment programs that assist people with finding jobs may focus on either short-term or long-term goals. For example, the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model emphasizes rapid job search and placement. Other models focus on equipping people with the education, skills, and supports that are building blocks of sustainable success in the labor market. We seek comments on the effectiveness of different employment support models and on how we can change the structure of the 1 The BLS uses a different definition of ‘‘disability’’ than we do. The BLS defines a person with disability as someone with at least one of the following conditions: Is deaf or has serious difficulty hearing; is blind or has serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses; has serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition; has serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs; has difficulty dressing or bathing; or has difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition. Sections 223(d)(1)(A) and 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A), define ‘‘disability’’ as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment. The impairment must be one that can be expected to result in death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous 12-month period. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Ticket to Work program to incorporate the most successful models. Since the last change in the Ticket to Work rules, there has been increased research in the fields of financial literacy, behavioral economics, and psychology. This could inform us on how to improve Ticket to Work program outcomes. For example, research shows that the way information is presented influences the decisions an individual makes. Therefore, it is essential to present information clearly and effectively, particularly for decisions that are complex or have long-term consequences. Beneficiaries in the Ticket to Work program face complex decisions regarding employment and benefits options. We are seeking your suggestions on effective ways to present information to beneficiaries to improve participation and outcomes in the Ticket to Work program. Further, beneficiaries may need other supports to manage their finances and benefits. In our preliminary research, we noticed three areas of possible interest to beneficiaries in the program: (1) Financial education and counseling, (2) access to financial services and products, and (3) asset building. We request comments on how the Ticket to Work program might assist beneficiaries in understanding the options for increasing their earnings and achieving/ sustaining greater financial independence, and whether financial education, financial services, and asset building are necessary to foster work outcomes that are likely to lead to exit from the disability rolls. We also welcome your ideas on fostering program success for and with employment networks (ENs), which are the approved service providers for the program. Beneficiaries may obtain assistance from ENs in locating, retaining, and advancing in jobs/careers. We want your input on how we can remove service barriers for and increase the effectiveness of ENs, and which services the ENs might provide to help beneficiaries to secure employment and increase their earnings. In particular, we welcome comments and actual examples of how ENs can best assist individuals—in concert with employers, VR agencies, public work force systems, WIPAs and other entities—to achieve and sustain our beneficiaries’ employment success. Under the current program rules, the amount of our payments to ENs remains the same as long as a beneficiary meets our earnings requirements. We do not increase EN payments when a beneficiary earns more than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level for sustained periods. (SGA describes a E:\FR\FM\10FEP1.SGM 10FEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 27 / Wednesday, February 10, 2016 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK9F6TC42PROD with PROPOSALS2 level of work activity and earnings, which we use as one factor to determine disability. We ordinarily consider an individual earning more than a certain monthly amount, excluding impairment-related work expenses, as engaging in SGA.) For 2015, earnings of more than $1,090 per month for nonblind individuals or $1,820 per month for blind individuals indicate SGA. We invite your comments on whether we should structure the payment system to provide ENs with increased payments for helping beneficiaries locate and keep higher paying jobs. In general, with regard to removing service barriers for the ENs or changing the payment structure, we seek comments on how to foster a robust market of employment support services for our beneficiaries. We are committed to identifying strategies that help people find and maintain employment and improve their economic status. Any changes we make to the Ticket to Work program should be based on strong research and effective practices that are evidencebased and data-driven. By adapting these practices to the Ticket to Work program, we hope to improve the longterm employment and economic prospects of our beneficiaries. If we propose specific revisions, we will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register. On which rules are we inviting comments and suggestions? We are interested in any comments and suggestions you have on whether and how we should revise our Ticket to Work rules found in 20 CFR part 411. You can find the current rules for the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program on the Internet at: http:// www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2009title20-vol2/pdf/CFR-2009-title20-vol2part411.pdf. We issued initial Ticket to Work program rules on December 28, 2001 (66 FR 67370). Based on our experience administering the program, we published amendments to those rules on May 20, 2008 (73 FR 29324). The revised rules simplified the program and made it more attractive to beneficiaries and potential service providers. In our ongoing effort to improve employment outcomes for beneficiaries, we are inviting your comments on whether and how we should revise the rules again. We would like your comments on the program rules and your thoughts on our specific questions below. If you know of research studies supporting your recommendations, please attach the study to your comments or provide the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:36 Feb 09, 2016 Jkt 238001 name of the study, date of publication, and name(s) of the researcher(s) in your response. Who should send us comments and suggestions? We invite comments and suggestions from the following individuals and groups: Current and former beneficiaries, State Agencies (particularly State Vocational Agencies and Job Development Programs), advocates, current and former employment networks, and interested members of the public. What should you comment about? We are interested in any comments and suggestions on ways to improve the Ticket to Work program. For example: 1. Overall, how can we support the employment goals of social security beneficiaries through the Ticket to Work program? 2. How could we structure and present information to increase participation in and effectiveness of the program? 3. What employment support models are likely to be most effective in achieving the intent and goals of the program? 4. What incentives could we offer to help ensure ENs are financially and organizationally viable? 5. What incentives could we offer ENs for collaborating effectively with employers, VR agencies, public work force systems, WIPAs and other entities assisting our disability beneficiaries? 6. How could the program encourage youth with disabilities to pursue apprenticeships, career development programs, post-secondary education, and other work-related opportunities in a manner similar to their peers without disabilities? 7. How could ENs become integral to transition planning with youth who have disabilities, their families, and local schools? 8. Would offering beneficiaries financial education and planning services be appropriate for the program? If so, how could we accomplish this through changes to the program regulations? 9. What service barriers or administrative complexities do ENs face that inhibit their ability to serve our beneficiaries? 10. How might we encourage more organizations that can provide appropriate services to our beneficiaries to participate as ENs? 11. Should we adjust our payment systems to increase EN payments when a beneficiary earns more than the SGA level for sustained periods? If so, what PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 7043 adjustments could we make without increasing overall program costs? 12. Should we adjust our payment systems to provide even more EN payments than we currently do for helping a beneficiary secure and maintain part-time employment below the SGA level? If so, how might such a payment differ from the EN payments for a beneficiary earning at or above the SGA level? 13. The blanket purchase agreement we award to contractors to serve as ENs outlines their requirements to provide ongoing support services to beneficiaries. How should we define ‘‘ongoing support services’’ for the ENs? What ongoing services are necessary to support beneficiaries in jobs above SGA levels for sustained periods? 14. Under the program, State VR agencies participate either as ENs or under the cost reimbursement payment system (20 CFR 411.355) applicable to them. Should State VR agencies participating as ENs offer the same services and have the same responsibilities as other ENs? If not, what services and supports should State VR agencies participating as ENs provide? 15. In measuring EN performance, we consider factors such as: • Completing employment support services as planned; • the percentage of Ticket to Work clients who were placed in a job within 9–12 months; • the percentage of clients who retained their jobs for significant periods; and • the percentage of clients who progressed to long-term earnings above SGA. Are these appropriate measures and, if not, what measures should we use? 16. What are some barriers that ENs face? How might we adjust our rules to help ENs succeed at providing the services and support beneficiaries need to find and maintain employment? Will we respond to your comments from this notice? We will consider all comments and suggestions we receive. However, we will not respond directly to the comments you send in response to this ANPRM. What will we consider when we decide whether to propose revisions? When we decide whether to propose revisions to our rules for the program, we will consider: • All comments and suggestions we receive in response to this notice, and • Our own experience working with the program. E:\FR\FM\10FEP1.SGM 10FEP1 7044 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 27 / Wednesday, February 10, 2016 / Proposed Rules rulemaking, call or email Lieutenant John Downing, Sector Charleston Office of Waterways Management, Coast Guard; telephone (843) 740–3184, email John.Z.Downing@uscg.mil. If we decide to propose specific revisions, we will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register, and you will have an opportunity to comment on the revisions we propose. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: List of Subjects in 20 CFR Part 411 Administrative practice and procedure, Blind, Disability benefits, Public assistance programs, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Social security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Vocational rehabilitation. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. [FR Doc. 2016–02657 Filed 2–9–16; 8:45 am] I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security E.O. Executive order FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking Pub. L. Public Law § Section U.S.C. United States Code COTP Captain of the Port BILLING CODE 4191–02–P II. Background, Purpose, and Legal Basis DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY On December 27, 2015, the Bucksport Marina notified the Coast Guard that it will be sponsoring a series of drag boat races from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 4 and June 5, 2016. The legal basis for the proposed rule is the Coast Guard’s Authority to establish special local regulations: 33 U.S.C. 1233. The purpose of the proposed rule is to ensure safety of life on the navigable water of the United States during the Bucksport/Lake Murray Drag Boat Spring Nationals, a series of high speed boat races. Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 100 [Docket Number USCG–2016–0009] RIN 1625–AA08 Special Local Regulation; Bucksport/ Lake Murray Drag Boat Spring Nationals, Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway; Bucksport, SC Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: ACTION: The Coast Guard proposes to establish a special local regulation on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in Bucksport, South Carolina during the Bucksport/Lake Murray Drag Boat Spring Nationals, on June 4 and June 5, 2016. This special local regulation is necessary to ensure the safety of participants, spectators, and the general public during the event. This proposed rulemaking would prohibit persons and vessels from being in the regulated area unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative. DATES: Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before March 11, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG– 2016–0009 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov. See the ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions about this proposed asabaliauskas on DSK9F6TC42PROD with PROPOSALS2 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:14 Feb 09, 2016 Jkt 238001 III. Discussion of Proposed Rule The Coast Guard proposes to establish a special local regulation on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in Bucksport, South Carolina during the Bucksport/ Lake Murray Drag Boat Spring Nationals, on June 4 and June 5, 2016. Approximately 50 powerboats are anticipated to participate in the races and approximately 35 spectator vessels are expected to attend the event. Persons and vessels desiring to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the regulated area may contact the Captain of the Port Charleston by telephone at (843) 740–7050, or a designated representative via VHF radio on channel 16, to request authorization. If authorization to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the regulated area is granted by the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative, all persons and vessels receiving such authorization must comply with the instructions of the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative. The Coast Guard will provide notice of the special local regulation by Local Notice to Mariners, Broadcast Notice to Mariners, and on-scene designated representatives. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 IV. Regulatory Analyses We developed this proposed rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and executive orders. A. Regulatory Planning and Review E.O.s 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits. E.O.13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This NPRM has not been designated a ‘‘significant regulatory action,’’ under E.O. 12866. Accordingly, the NPRM has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of Executive Order 12866 or under section 1 of Executive Order 13563. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under those Orders. The economic impact of this proposed rule is not significant for the following reasons: (1) The special local regulation would be enforced for only six hours a day over a two-day period; (2) although persons and vessels would not be able to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the regulated area without authorization from the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative, they would be able to operate in the surrounding area during the enforcement periods; (3) persons and vessels would still be able to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the regulated area if authorized by the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative; and (4) the Coast Guard would provide advance notification of the regulated area to the local maritime community by Local Notice to Mariners and Broadcast Notice to Mariners. B. Impact on Small Entities The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, (5 U.S.C. 601–612), as amended requires Federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on ‘‘small entities’’ comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and E:\FR\FM\10FEP1.SGM 10FEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 27 (Wednesday, February 10, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 7041-7044]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-02657]


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SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

[Docket No. SSA-2015-0025]

20 CFR Part 411

RIN 0960-AH50


Revising the Ticket to Work Program Rules

AGENCY: Social Security Administration.

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We are soliciting public input on whether and how we might 
revise the current Ticket to Work program rules. The Ticket to Work and 
Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 established the Ticket to Work 
program to allow individuals with disabilities to seek services to 
obtain and retain employment in order to reduce dependency on cash 
benefit programs. In creating the program, Congress found that 
eliminating barriers to work and providing individuals with real choice 
in obtaining services and technology to find, enter, and maintain 
employment can greatly improve the short and long-term financial 
independence and personal well-being of our beneficiaries.
    We want to explore improving our Ticket to Work program as part of 
our ongoing effort to help our beneficiaries find and maintain 
employment that leads to increased independence and enhanced 
productivity. If we propose

[[Page 7042]]

specific revisions to our regulations, we will publish a notice of 
proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register.

DATES: To ensure that we consider your comments, we must receive them 
by no later than April 11, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by Internet, fax, or mail. Do not 
submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method. 
Regardless of which method you choose, please state that your comments 
refer to Docket No. SSA-2015-0025 so that we may associate your 
comments with this ANPRM.
    Caution: You should be careful to include in your comments only 
information you wish to make publicly available. We strongly urge you 
not to include in your comments any personal information, such as 
Social Security numbers or medical information.
    1. Internet: We strongly recommend this method for submitting your 
comments. Visit the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Use the Web page's Search function to find docket 
number SSA-2015-0025. Once you submit your comment, the system will 
issue you a tracking number to confirm your submission. You will not be 
able to view your comment immediately because we post each comment 
manually. It may take up to a week for your comment to appear.
    2. Fax: Fax comments to (410) 966-2830.
    3. Mail: Address your comments to the Office of Regulations and 
Reports Clearance, Social Security Administration, 3100 West High Rise 
Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401.
    Comments are available for public viewing on the Federal 
eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov or in person, during 
regular business hours, by arranging with the contact person identified 
below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Green, Deputy Director, Office of 
Beneficiary Outreach and Employment Support, Office of Research, 
Demonstration and Employment Support, Social Security Administration, 
6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401, (410) 965-9852. For 
information on eligibility or filing for benefits, call our national 
toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778, or visit our 
Internet site, Social Security Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What is the purpose of this ANPRM?

    The purpose of this ANPRM is to solicit ideas for improving the 
Ticket to Work program. We are considering whether and how we might 
update the Ticket to Work program rules to help both our beneficiaries 
and the providers that serve our beneficiaries in the program. The 
Ticket to Work program rules are contained in 20 CFR part 411. We last 
updated the program rules on May 20, 2008. Through this ANPRM, we are 
requesting comments and suggestions from the public on what we might 
include in new Ticket to Work program rules.

Why are we considering new Ticket to Work program rules?

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Current 
Population Survey (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t06.htm), the 
July 2015 unemployment rate for individuals with a disability \1\ was 
10.4 percent, compared to 5.4 percent for people without disability. 
This number refers to those who were actively seeking a job, and were 
willing, able and available to work, but unable to find a job in the 
month prior to the survey. The July 2015 employment-population ratio, 
which measures the percent of people in a given population who are 
working, was 17.7 percent for persons with a disability, versus 65.3 
percent for those without a disability.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The BLS uses a different definition of ``disability'' than 
we do. The BLS defines a person with disability as someone with at 
least one of the following conditions: Is deaf or has serious 
difficulty hearing; is blind or has serious difficulty seeing even 
when wearing glasses; has serious difficulty concentrating, 
remembering, or making decisions because of a physical, mental, or 
emotional condition; has serious difficulty walking or climbing 
stairs; has difficulty dressing or bathing; or has difficulty doing 
errands alone such as visiting a doctor's office or shopping because 
of a physical, mental, or emotional condition. Sections 223(d)(1)(A) 
and 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 
423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A), define ``disability'' as the inability 
to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any 
medically determinable physical or mental impairment. The impairment 
must be one that can be expected to result in death or that has 
lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous 12-month period.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Employment programs that assist people with finding jobs may focus 
on either short-term or long-term goals. For example, the Individual 
Placement and Support (IPS) model emphasizes rapid job search and 
placement. Other models focus on equipping people with the education, 
skills, and supports that are building blocks of sustainable success in 
the labor market. We seek comments on the effectiveness of different 
employment support models and on how we can change the structure of the 
Ticket to Work program to incorporate the most successful models.
    Since the last change in the Ticket to Work rules, there has been 
increased research in the fields of financial literacy, behavioral 
economics, and psychology. This could inform us on how to improve 
Ticket to Work program outcomes. For example, research shows that the 
way information is presented influences the decisions an individual 
makes. Therefore, it is essential to present information clearly and 
effectively, particularly for decisions that are complex or have long-
term consequences. Beneficiaries in the Ticket to Work program face 
complex decisions regarding employment and benefits options. We are 
seeking your suggestions on effective ways to present information to 
beneficiaries to improve participation and outcomes in the Ticket to 
Work program.
    Further, beneficiaries may need other supports to manage their 
finances and benefits. In our preliminary research, we noticed three 
areas of possible interest to beneficiaries in the program: (1) 
Financial education and counseling, (2) access to financial services 
and products, and (3) asset building. We request comments on how the 
Ticket to Work program might assist beneficiaries in understanding the 
options for increasing their earnings and achieving/sustaining greater 
financial independence, and whether financial education, financial 
services, and asset building are necessary to foster work outcomes that 
are likely to lead to exit from the disability rolls.
    We also welcome your ideas on fostering program success for and 
with employment networks (ENs), which are the approved service 
providers for the program. Beneficiaries may obtain assistance from ENs 
in locating, retaining, and advancing in jobs/careers. We want your 
input on how we can remove service barriers for and increase the 
effectiveness of ENs, and which services the ENs might provide to help 
beneficiaries to secure employment and increase their earnings. In 
particular, we welcome comments and actual examples of how ENs can best 
assist individuals--in concert with employers, VR agencies, public work 
force systems, WIPAs and other entities--to achieve and sustain our 
beneficiaries' employment success.
    Under the current program rules, the amount of our payments to ENs 
remains the same as long as a beneficiary meets our earnings 
requirements. We do not increase EN payments when a beneficiary earns 
more than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level for sustained 
periods. (SGA describes a

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level of work activity and earnings, which we use as one factor to 
determine disability. We ordinarily consider an individual earning more 
than a certain monthly amount, excluding impairment-related work 
expenses, as engaging in SGA.) For 2015, earnings of more than $1,090 
per month for non-blind individuals or $1,820 per month for blind 
individuals indicate SGA. We invite your comments on whether we should 
structure the payment system to provide ENs with increased payments for 
helping beneficiaries locate and keep higher paying jobs.
    In general, with regard to removing service barriers for the ENs or 
changing the payment structure, we seek comments on how to foster a 
robust market of employment support services for our beneficiaries.
    We are committed to identifying strategies that help people find 
and maintain employment and improve their economic status. Any changes 
we make to the Ticket to Work program should be based on strong 
research and effective practices that are evidence-based and data-
driven. By adapting these practices to the Ticket to Work program, we 
hope to improve the long-term employment and economic prospects of our 
beneficiaries. If we propose specific revisions, we will publish a 
notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register.

On which rules are we inviting comments and suggestions?

    We are interested in any comments and suggestions you have on 
whether and how we should revise our Ticket to Work rules found in 20 
CFR part 411. You can find the current rules for the Ticket to Work and 
Self-Sufficiency Program on the Internet at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2009-title20-vol2/pdf/CFR-2009-title20-vol2-part411.pdf.
    We issued initial Ticket to Work program rules on December 28, 2001 
(66 FR 67370). Based on our experience administering the program, we 
published amendments to those rules on May 20, 2008 (73 FR 29324). The 
revised rules simplified the program and made it more attractive to 
beneficiaries and potential service providers. In our ongoing effort to 
improve employment outcomes for beneficiaries, we are inviting your 
comments on whether and how we should revise the rules again.
    We would like your comments on the program rules and your thoughts 
on our specific questions below. If you know of research studies 
supporting your recommendations, please attach the study to your 
comments or provide the name of the study, date of publication, and 
name(s) of the researcher(s) in your response.

Who should send us comments and suggestions?

    We invite comments and suggestions from the following individuals 
and groups: Current and former beneficiaries, State Agencies 
(particularly State Vocational Agencies and Job Development Programs), 
advocates, current and former employment networks, and interested 
members of the public.

What should you comment about?

    We are interested in any comments and suggestions on ways to 
improve the Ticket to Work program. For example:
    1. Overall, how can we support the employment goals of social 
security beneficiaries through the Ticket to Work program?
    2. How could we structure and present information to increase 
participation in and effectiveness of the program?
    3. What employment support models are likely to be most effective 
in achieving the intent and goals of the program?
    4. What incentives could we offer to help ensure ENs are 
financially and organizationally viable?
    5. What incentives could we offer ENs for collaborating effectively 
with employers, VR agencies, public work force systems, WIPAs and other 
entities assisting our disability beneficiaries?
    6. How could the program encourage youth with disabilities to 
pursue apprenticeships, career development programs, post-secondary 
education, and other work-related opportunities in a manner similar to 
their peers without disabilities?
    7. How could ENs become integral to transition planning with youth 
who have disabilities, their families, and local schools?
    8. Would offering beneficiaries financial education and planning 
services be appropriate for the program? If so, how could we accomplish 
this through changes to the program regulations?
    9. What service barriers or administrative complexities do ENs face 
that inhibit their ability to serve our beneficiaries?
    10. How might we encourage more organizations that can provide 
appropriate services to our beneficiaries to participate as ENs?
    11. Should we adjust our payment systems to increase EN payments 
when a beneficiary earns more than the SGA level for sustained periods? 
If so, what adjustments could we make without increasing overall 
program costs?
    12. Should we adjust our payment systems to provide even more EN 
payments than we currently do for helping a beneficiary secure and 
maintain part-time employment below the SGA level? If so, how might 
such a payment differ from the EN payments for a beneficiary earning at 
or above the SGA level?
    13. The blanket purchase agreement we award to contractors to serve 
as ENs outlines their requirements to provide ongoing support services 
to beneficiaries. How should we define ``ongoing support services'' for 
the ENs? What ongoing services are necessary to support beneficiaries 
in jobs above SGA levels for sustained periods?
    14. Under the program, State VR agencies participate either as ENs 
or under the cost reimbursement payment system (20 CFR 411.355) 
applicable to them. Should State VR agencies participating as ENs offer 
the same services and have the same responsibilities as other ENs? If 
not, what services and supports should State VR agencies participating 
as ENs provide?
    15. In measuring EN performance, we consider factors such as:
     Completing employment support services as planned;
     the percentage of Ticket to Work clients who were placed 
in a job within 9-12 months;
     the percentage of clients who retained their jobs for 
significant periods; and
     the percentage of clients who progressed to long-term 
earnings above SGA.
    Are these appropriate measures and, if not, what measures should we 
use?
    16. What are some barriers that ENs face? How might we adjust our 
rules to help ENs succeed at providing the services and support 
beneficiaries need to find and maintain employment?

Will we respond to your comments from this notice?

    We will consider all comments and suggestions we receive. However, 
we will not respond directly to the comments you send in response to 
this ANPRM.

What will we consider when we decide whether to propose revisions?

    When we decide whether to propose revisions to our rules for the 
program, we will consider:
     All comments and suggestions we receive in response to 
this notice, and
     Our own experience working with the program.

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    If we decide to propose specific revisions, we will publish a 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register, and you will 
have an opportunity to comment on the revisions we propose.

List of Subjects in 20 CFR Part 411

    Administrative practice and procedure, Blind, Disability benefits, 
Public assistance programs, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Social security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Vocational 
rehabilitation.

Carolyn W. Colvin,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security.
[FR Doc. 2016-02657 Filed 2-9-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4191-02-P