Unsuccessful Work Attempts and Expedited Reinstatement Eligibility, 29212-29215 [2016-10932]

Download as PDF 29212 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 91 / Wednesday, May 11, 2016 / Proposed Rules mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS (h) Replacement If during the measurement required by paragraph (g) of this AD, any affected P/N specified in table 1, 2, or 3 to paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD is found to have a measured value greater than that specified in Figure A–GFAAA, Sheet 01, ‘‘Inspection Flowchart,’’ of the applicable service information identified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD: Before further flight, replace the affected part with the corresponding acceptable replacement part specified in table 1, 2, or 3 to paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service information identified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD. (i) Other FAA AD Provisions The following provisions also apply to this AD: (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM–116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it to ATTN: Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM–116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057–3356; telephone: 425–227–1405; fax: 425–227– 1149. Information may be emailed to: 9ANM-116-AMOC-REQUESTS@faa.gov. Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/ certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD. (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM– 116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Airbus’s EASA DOA. If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature. (3) Required for Compliance (RC): If any service information contains procedures or tests that are identified as RC, those procedures and tests must be done to comply with this AD; any procedures or tests that are not identified as RC are recommended. Those procedures and tests that are not identified as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator’s maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the procedures and tests identified as RC can be done and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition. Any substitutions or changes to procedures or tests identified as RC require approval of an AMOC. (j) Related Information (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2015–0219, dated November 3, 2015, for VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:58 May 10, 2016 Jkt 238001 related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2016–6431. (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone: +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax: +33 5 61 93 44 51; email: account.airworth-eas@ airbus.com; Internet: http://www.airbus.com. You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425–227–1221. Issued in Renton, Washington, on May 4, 2016. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. 2016–11094 Filed 5–10–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION 20 CFR Parts 404, 411, and 416 [Docket No. SSA–2014–0016] RIN 0960–AH66 Unsuccessful Work Attempts and Expedited Reinstatement Eligibility Social Security Administration. Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: ACTION: We propose to remove some of the requirements for evaluation of an unsuccessful work attempt (UWA) that lasts between 3 and 6 months. We also propose to allow previously entitled beneficiaries to apply for expedited reinstatement (EXR) in the same month they stop performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). Provisional benefits will begin the month after the request for EXR if the beneficiary stops performing SGA in the month of the EXR request. These changes would simplify our policies and make them easier for the public to understand. DATES: To ensure that your comments are considered, we must receive them no later than July 11, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any one of three methods—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–2014–0016 so that we may associate your comments with the correct regulation. CAUTION: You should be careful to include in your comments only information that you wish to make publicly available. We strongly urge you SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 not to include in your comments any personal information, such as Social Security numbers or medical information. 1. Internet: We strongly recommend that you submit your comments via the Internet. Please visit the Federal eRulemaking portal at http:// www.regulations.gov. Use the Search function to find docket number SSA– 2014–0016. The system will issue a tracking number to confirm your submission. You will not be able to view your comment immediately because we must post each comment manually. It may take up to a week for your comment to be viewable. 2. Fax: Fax comments to (410) 966– 2830. 3. Mail: Mail 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: Kristine Erwin-Tribbitt, Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, Office of Research, Demonstration, and Employment Support, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Robert Ball Building 3–A– 26, Baltimore, MD 21235–6401, (410) 965–3353. 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: SGA and UWA To be eligible for disability benefits, an individual must be unable to engage in any SGA.1 SGA is work activity that is both substantial and gainful.2 Work activity is substantial if it involves the performance of significant physical or mental activities.3 ‘‘Gainful work activity’’ is work done for pay or profit, or if it is the kind of work usually done for pay or profit, whether or not a profit is realized.4 We will not determine that an individual is disabled or continues to be disabled if he or she is able to perform SGA. We use several rules to decide whether an individual has performed 1 42 U.S.C. 223(d)(1), 42 U.S.C. 1382c(a)(3)(A). CFR 404.1572 and 416.972. 3 20 CFR 404.1572(a) and 416.972(a). 4 20 CFR 404.1572(b) and 416.972(b). 2 20 E:\FR\FM\11MYP1.SGM 11MYP1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 91 / Wednesday, May 11, 2016 / Proposed Rules SGA. Generally, our first consideration in evaluating work activity will be the earnings derived from the work activity.5 We use earnings guidelines to evaluate whether work activity is SGA.6 We ordinarily consider an individual who is earning more than a certain monthly amount to be engaged in SGA.7 For the self-employed, we consider income or the value of the individual’s activities to the business when determining whether he or she engaged in SGA.8 Disability evaluation is generally concerned with the ability to work over an extended period rather than in short, isolated periods. Disability claimants and beneficiaries may attempt to return to work and engage in SGA following a break in the continuity of their work. For SGA determination purposes, we may disregard work in employment or self-employment if a claimant or beneficiary, after working for a period of 6 months or less, stops working or reduces the amount of work so that the earnings fall below the SGA level because of the original impairment or the removal of special conditions that were essential to the performance of his or her work, and if there was a significant break in the continuity of work before this work attempt.9 We call this a UWA. Earnings from a UWA will not show that a claimant or beneficiary is able to do SGA.10 For purposes of the Social Security disability program under title II of the Act, we apply UWA policies when we determine initial entitlement to benefits as well as after approval for benefits. For purposes of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program under title XVI of the Act, we apply UWA only when determining initial entitlement to benefits. Under our current rules, we evaluate the success of a work attempt by its duration. We look at work attempts lasting less than 3 months and those lasting between 3 and 6 months. We consider work of 3 months or less to be a UWA if the claimant or beneficiary stopped working or reduced the work and earnings below the SGA earnings level because of the claimant or beneficiary’s impairment, or because of the removal of special conditions which took into account the claimant or beneficiary’s impairment and permitted the claimant or beneficiary to work. In contrast, to qualify as a UWA, we require the work attempt to last between CFR 404.1574(a)(1) and 416.974(a)(1). see also 20 CFR 404.1574(b) and 416.974(b). 7 20 CFR 404.1574(b)(2) and 416.974(b)(2). 8 20 CFR 404.1575(a)(2) and 416.975(a). 9 20 CFR 404.1574(c) and 416.974(c). 10 20 CFR 404.1574(a)(1) and 416.974(a)(1). 3 and 6 months to meet the same conditions for work attempts lasting 3 months or less and to also meet several additional conditions. The claimant or beneficiary must also have: (1) Been frequently absent from work because of his or her impairment, (2) performed the work unsatisfactorily because of his or her impairment, (3) worked during a period of temporary remission of his or her impairment, or (4) worked under special conditions essential to his or her performance and those conditions were removed.11 We propose to revise 20 CFR 404.1574(c), 404.1575(d), 416.974(c), and 416.975(d) to remove the additional conditions that we use when evaluating a work attempt in employment or selfemployment that lasts between 3 and 6 months. We propose to use the current 3-month standards for all work attempts that are 6 months or less. This change would apply to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI claimants and beneficiaries.12 Under the current rule, when an individual works between 3 and 6 months, we are required to perform additional development to determine if any of the additional conditions are met. This additional step delays case processing, in part, because we must contact the individual’s employer and physician for information to support the individual’s claim. Our proposed changes would result in simplified case processing and faster and better determinations and decisions. EXR Eligibility and Provisional Benefits Previously entitled individuals may request EXR within 60 months of their prior termination of benefits if their medical condition no longer permits them to perform SGA. To qualify for EXR, a previously entitled individual must be unable to perform SGA due to an impairment that is the same as or related to an impairment that was the basis for the previous entitlement.13 The standard for evaluating disability on an EXR claim may be more advantageous to the claimant than the standard for evaluating disability on a completely new claim for benefits.14 EXR applies to both SSDI and SSI programs. Currently, our regulations state that individuals are not eligible for EXR if they perform SGA during the month in which they apply for EXR.15 In many cases, a previously entitled individual will request EXR in the same month that 5 20 6 Id.; VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:58 May 10, 2016 Jkt 238001 11 20 CFR 404.1574(c)(4) and 416.974(c)(4). CFR 404.1574 (c)(3) and 416.974(c)(3). 13 20 CFR 404.1592c and 416.999a. 14 20 CFR 404.1592b and 416.999. 15 20 CFR 404.1592c and 416.999a. 12 20 PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 29213 he or she stopped working. However, since earnings already exceeded SGA for that month, the individual is not eligible to file for EXR until the following month. In such cases, we are required to deny the EXR request, and the individual can request EXR in the following month. We propose to revise 20 CFR 404.1592c and 416.999a to allow previously entitled individuals to request EXR in the same month they stop performing SGA. This change would apply to SSDI and SSI claimants and beneficiaries. This change would make requesting EXR easier as we will be able to accept the request at first contact. It would also allow us to forward the individual’s file immediately for a medical determination, reducing wait time and the possibility of a gap in benefit payments. For a beneficiary who has requested EXR, provisional benefits are available for a period of up to 6 months while we make a reinstatement determination.16 We stop paying provisional benefits when we send a notice of our determination on reinstatement, when the individual performs SGA, when the individual attains full retirement age, or when we have paid 6 months of provisional benefits. We also propose to revise 20 CFR 404.1592e(a)(1) to clarify that provisional benefits will begin the month after the individual files a request for EXR if the individual stops performing SGA in the month of request. Clarity of This Rule Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write all rules in plain language. In addition to your substantive comments on this proposed rule, we invite your comments on how to make rules easier to understand. For example: • Would more, but shorter, sections be better? • Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated? • Have we organized the material to suit your needs? • Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists, or diagrams? • What else could we do to make the rule easier to understand? • Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that is not clear? • Would a different format make the rule easier to understand, e.g. grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing? 16 20 E:\FR\FM\11MYP1.SGM CFR 404.1592e. 11MYP1 29214 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 91 / Wednesday, May 11, 2016 / Proposed Rules Regulatory Procedures Executive Order 12866 We consulted with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and determined that this proposed rule meets the criteria for a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, and was subject to OMB review. Regulatory Flexibility Act We certify that this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it affects individuals only. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended. Paperwork Reduction Act This rule does not create any new or affect any existing collections and, therefore, it does not require Office of Management and Budget approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act. (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 9601, Social Security— Disability Insurance; 96.006, Supplemental Security Income; 96.008, Social Security— Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Program.) List of Subjects 20 CFR Part 404 Administrative practice and procedure, Blind, Disability benefits, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Social security, Vocational rehabilitation. 20 CFR Part 416 Administrative practice and procedure, Medicaid, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Vocational rehabilitation. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS PART 404—FEDERAL OLD-AGE, SURVIVORS AND DISABILITY INSURANCE Subpart P—Determining Disability and Blindness 1. The authority citation for subpart P of part 404 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: Secs. 202, 205(a)–(b) and (d)– (h), 216(i), 221(a), (i), and (j), 222(c), 223, 225, and 702(a)(5) of the Social Security Act Jkt 238001 § 404.1574 employee. Evaluation guides if you are an * * * * * (c)* * * (1) General. Ordinarily, work you have done will not show that you are able to do substantial gainful activity if, after you worked for a period of 6 months or less, your impairment forced you to stop working or to reduce the amount of work you do so that your earnings from such work fall below the substantial gainful activity earnings level in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, and you meet the conditions described in paragraphs (c)(2), (3), and (4) of this section. * * * * * * * * (3) If you worked 6 months or less. We will consider work of 6 months or less to be an unsuccessful work attempt if you stopped working or you reduced your work and earnings below the substantial gainful activity earnings level because of your impairment or because of the removal of special conditions that took into account your impairment and permitted you to work. * * * * * ■ 3. Amend § 404.1575 by revising the first sentence of paragraph(d)(1), revising paragraph (d)(3), removing paragraph (d)(4), and redesignating paragraph (d)(5) as (d)(4). The revisions read as follows: * For the reasons set out in the preamble, we propose to amend 20 CFR part 404 subpart P and 20 CFR part 416 subpart I as set forth below: 16:58 May 10, 2016 2. Amend § 404.1574 by revising the first sentence of paragraph (c)(1), revising paragraph (c)(3), removing paragraph (c)(4), and redesignating paragraph (c)(5) as (c)(4). The revisions read as follows: ■ § 404.1575 Evaluation guides if you are self-employed. Dated: March 14, 2016. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. VerDate Sep<11>2014 (42 U.S.C. 402, 405(a)–(b) and (d)–(h), 416(i), 421(a), (i), and (j), 422(c), 423, 425, and 902(a)(5)); sec. 211(b), Pub. L. 104–193, 110 Stat. 2105, 2189; sec. 202, Pub. L. 108–203, 118 Stat. 509 (42 U.S.C. 902 note). * * * * (d) * * * (1) General. Ordinarily, work you have done will not show that you are able to do substantial gainful activity if, after working for a period of 6 months or less, you were forced by your impairment to stop working or to reduce the amount of work you do so that you are no longer performing substantial gainful activity and you meet the conditions described in paragraphs (d)(2), (3), and (4) of this section. * * * * * * * * (3) If you worked 6 months or less. We will consider work of 6 months or less to be an unsuccessful work attempt if you stopped working or you reduced your work and earnings below the PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 substantial gainful activity earnings level because of your impairment or because of the removal of special conditions that took into account your impairment and permitted you to work. * * * * * ■ 5. Amend § 404.1592c by revising paragraph (a)(4)(i) and (c)(2) to read as follows: § 404.1592c Who is entitled to expedited reinstatement? (a)* * * (4)* * * (i) You are not able or become unable to do substantial gainful activity because of your medical condition as determined under paragraph (c) of this section; * * * * * (c)* * * (2) You are not able or become unable to do substantial gainful activity in the month you file your request for reinstatement; and * * * * * ■ 6. Amend § 404.1592e by revising paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows: § 404.1592e How do we determine provisional benefits? (a) * * * (1) We will pay you provisional benefits, and reinstate your Medicare if you are not already entitled to Medicare, beginning with the month you file your request for reinstatement under § 404.1592c(a) if you do not perform substantial gainful activity in that month. We will pay you provisional benefits, and reinstate your Medicare if you are not already entitled to Medicare, beginning with the month after you file your request for reinstatement under § 404.1592c(a) if you perform substantial gainful activity in the month in which you file your request for reinstatement. * * * * * PART 416—SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME FOR THE AGED, BLIND, AND DISABLED Subpart I—Determining Disability and Blindness 13. The authority citation for subpart I of part 416 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: Secs. 221(m), 702(a)(5), 1611, 1614, 1619, 1631(a), (c), (d)(1), and (p), and 1633 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 421(m), 902(a)(5), 1382, 1382c, 1382h, 1383(a), (c), (d)(1), and (p), and 1383 (b); secs. 4(c) and 5, 6(c)–(e), 14(a), and 15, Pub. L. 98– 460, 98 Stat. 1794, 1801, 1802, and 1808 (42 U.S.C. 421 note, 423 note, and 1382h note). 14. Amend § 416.974 by revising paragraph (c)(3), removing paragraph ■ E:\FR\FM\11MYP1.SGM 11MYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 91 / Wednesday, May 11, 2016 / Proposed Rules (c)(4), and redesignating paragraph (c)(5) as (c)(4). The revisions read as follows: § 416.974 Evaluation guides if you are an employee. * * * * (c) * * * (3) If you worked 6 months or less. We will consider work of 6 months or less to be an unsuccessful work attempt if you stopped working or you reduced your work and earnings below the substantial gainful activity earnings level because of your impairment or because of the removal of special conditions that took into account your impairment and permitted you to work. * * * * * ■ 15. Amend § 416.975 by revising paragraph (d)(1) and (3), removing paragraph (d)(4), and redesignating paragraph (d)(5) as (d)(4). The revisions read as follows: month you file your request for reinstatement; and * * * * * [FR Doc. 2016–10932 Filed 5–10–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4191–02–P * § 416.975 Evaluation guides if you are selfemployed. * * * * * (d) * * * (1) General. Ordinarily, work you have done will not show that you are able to do substantial gainful activity if, after working for a period of 6 months or less, you were forced by your impairment to stop working or to reduce the amount of work you do so that you are no longer performing substantial gainful activity and you meet the conditions described in paragraphs (d)(2), (3), and (4) of this section. * * * * * (3) If you worked 6 months or less. We will consider work of 6 months or less to be an unsuccessful work attempt if you stopped working or you reduced your work and earnings below the substantial gainful activity earnings level because of your impairment or because of the removal of special conditions that took into account your impairment and permitted you to work. * * * * * ■ 16. Amend § 416.999a by revising paragraph (a)(4)(i) and (c)(2) to read as follows: mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS § 416.999a Who is eligible for expedited reinstatement? (a) * * * (4) * * * (i) You are not able or become unable to do substantial gainful activity because of your medical condition as determined under paragraph (c) of this section. * * * * * (c) * * * (2) You are not able or become unable to do substantial gainful activity in the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:58 May 10, 2016 Jkt 238001 DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE 28 CFR Part 90 [OVW Docket No. 120] RIN 1105–AB46 Conforming STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program Regulations to Statutory Change; Definitions and Confidentiality Requirements Applicable to All OVW Grant Programs Office on Violence Against Women, Justice. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: This rule proposes to amend the regulations for the STOP (Services— Training—Officers—Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program (STOP Program) and the general provisions governing Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Programs to comply with statutory changes and reduce repetition of statutory language. Also, this document would implement statutory requirements for nondisclosure of confidential or private information relating to all OVW grant programs. DATES: Written comments must be postmarked and electronic comments must be submitted on or before July 11, 2016. Comments received by mail will be considered timely if they are postmarked on or before that date. The electronic Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) will accept comments until Midnight Eastern Time at the end of that day. ADDRESSES: To ensure proper handling of comments, please reference ‘‘Docket No. OVW 120’’ on all electronic and written correspondence. The Department encourages the electronic submission of all comments through http://www.regulations.gov using the electronic comment form provided on that site. For easy reference, an electronic copy of this document is also available at the http:// www.regulations.gov Web site. It is not necessary to submit paper comments that duplicate the electronic submission, as all comments submitted to http://www.regulations.gov will be posted for public review and are part of the official docket record. However, should you wish to submit written comments through regular or express SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 29215 mail, they should be sent to Marnie Shiels, Office on Violence Against Women, United States Department of Justice, 145 N Street NE., 10W.100, Washington, DC 20530. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marnie Shiels, Office on Violence Against Women, 145 N Street NE., Suite 10W.100, Washington, DC 20530, by telephone (202) 307–6026 or by email at marnie.shiels@usdoj.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Posting of Public Comments. Please note that all comments received are considered part of the public record and made available for public inspection online at http:// www.regulations.gov. Such information includes personal identifying information (such as your name and address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter. You are not required to submit personal identifying information in order to comment on this rule. If you want to submit personal identifying information (such as your name and address) as part of your comment, but do not want it posted online, you must include the phrase ‘‘PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION’’ in the first paragraph of your comment. You also must locate all personal identifying information that you do not want posted online in the first paragraph of your comment and identify what information you want redacted. If you want to submit confidential business information as part of your comment, but do not want it to be posted online, you must include the phrase ‘‘CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS INFORMATION’’ in the first paragraph of your comment. You also must prominently identify confidential business information to be redacted within the comment. If a comment has so much confidential business information that it cannot be effectively redacted, all or part of that comment may not be posted on http:// www.regulations.gov. Personal identifying and confidential business information identified and located as set forth above will be placed in the agency’s public docket file, but not posted online. If you wish to inspect the agency’s public docket file in person by appointment, please see the paragraph above entitled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. I. Executive Summary The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was enacted on September 13, 1994, by title IV of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Public Law 103–322, 108 Stat. 1796. The STOP Program is codified at E:\FR\FM\11MYP1.SGM 11MYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 91 (Wednesday, May 11, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 29212-29215]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-10932]


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SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

20 CFR Parts 404, 411, and 416

[Docket No. SSA-2014-0016]
RIN 0960-AH66


Unsuccessful Work Attempts and Expedited Reinstatement 
Eligibility

AGENCY: Social Security Administration.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: We propose to remove some of the requirements for evaluation 
of an unsuccessful work attempt (UWA) that lasts between 3 and 6 
months. We also propose to allow previously entitled beneficiaries to 
apply for expedited reinstatement (EXR) in the same month they stop 
performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). Provisional benefits 
will begin the month after the request for EXR if the beneficiary stops 
performing SGA in the month of the EXR request. These changes would 
simplify our policies and make them easier for the public to 
understand.

DATES: To ensure that your comments are considered, we must receive 
them no later than July 11, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any one of three methods--
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-2014-0016 so 
that we may associate your comments with the correct regulation.
    CAUTION: You should be careful to include in your comments only 
information that 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 that you submit your comments 
via the Internet. Please visit the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Use the Search function to find docket number 
SSA-2014-0016. The system will issue a tracking number to confirm your 
submission. You will not be able to view your comment immediately 
because we must post each comment manually. It may take up to a week 
for your comment to be viewable.
    2. Fax: Fax comments to (410) 966-2830.
    3. Mail: Mail 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: Kristine Erwin-Tribbitt, Office of 
Retirement and Disability Policy, Office of Research, Demonstration, 
and Employment Support, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security 
Boulevard, Robert Ball Building 3-A-26, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401, (410) 
965-3353. 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:

SGA and UWA

    To be eligible for disability benefits, an individual must be 
unable to engage in any SGA.\1\ SGA is work activity that is both 
substantial and gainful.\2\ Work activity is substantial if it involves 
the performance of significant physical or mental activities.\3\ 
``Gainful work activity'' is work done for pay or profit, or if it is 
the kind of work usually done for pay or profit, whether or not a 
profit is realized.\4\ We will not determine that an individual is 
disabled or continues to be disabled if he or she is able to perform 
SGA.
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    \1\ 42 U.S.C. 223(d)(1), 42 U.S.C. 1382c(a)(3)(A).
    \2\ 20 CFR 404.1572 and 416.972.
    \3\ 20 CFR 404.1572(a) and 416.972(a).
    \4\ 20 CFR 404.1572(b) and 416.972(b).
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    We use several rules to decide whether an individual has performed

[[Page 29213]]

SGA. Generally, our first consideration in evaluating work activity 
will be the earnings derived from the work activity.\5\ We use earnings 
guidelines to evaluate whether work activity is SGA.\6\ We ordinarily 
consider an individual who is earning more than a certain monthly 
amount to be engaged in SGA.\7\ For the self-employed, we consider 
income or the value of the individual's activities to the business when 
determining whether he or she engaged in SGA.\8\
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    \5\ 20 CFR 404.1574(a)(1) and 416.974(a)(1).
    \6\ Id.; see also 20 CFR 404.1574(b) and 416.974(b).
    \7\ 20 CFR 404.1574(b)(2) and 416.974(b)(2).
    \8\ 20 CFR 404.1575(a)(2) and 416.975(a).
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    Disability evaluation is generally concerned with the ability to 
work over an extended period rather than in short, isolated periods. 
Disability claimants and beneficiaries may attempt to return to work 
and engage in SGA following a break in the continuity of their work. 
For SGA determination purposes, we may disregard work in employment or 
self-employment if a claimant or beneficiary, after working for a 
period of 6 months or less, stops working or reduces the amount of work 
so that the earnings fall below the SGA level because of the original 
impairment or the removal of special conditions that were essential to 
the performance of his or her work, and if there was a significant 
break in the continuity of work before this work attempt.\9\ We call 
this a UWA. Earnings from a UWA will not show that a claimant or 
beneficiary is able to do SGA.\10\ For purposes of the Social Security 
disability program under title II of the Act, we apply UWA policies 
when we determine initial entitlement to benefits as well as after 
approval for benefits. For purposes of the Supplemental Security Income 
(SSI) program under title XVI of the Act, we apply UWA only when 
determining initial entitlement to benefits.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ 20 CFR 404.1574(c) and 416.974(c).
    \10\ 20 CFR 404.1574(a)(1) and 416.974(a)(1).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Under our current rules, we evaluate the success of a work attempt 
by its duration. We look at work attempts lasting less than 3 months 
and those lasting between 3 and 6 months. We consider work of 3 months 
or less to be a UWA if the claimant or beneficiary stopped working or 
reduced the work and earnings below the SGA earnings level because of 
the claimant or beneficiary's impairment, or because of the removal of 
special conditions which took into account the claimant or 
beneficiary's impairment and permitted the claimant or beneficiary to 
work. In contrast, to qualify as a UWA, we require the work attempt to 
last between 3 and 6 months to meet the same conditions for work 
attempts lasting 3 months or less and to also meet several additional 
conditions. The claimant or beneficiary must also have: (1) Been 
frequently absent from work because of his or her impairment, (2) 
performed the work unsatisfactorily because of his or her impairment, 
(3) worked during a period of temporary remission of his or her 
impairment, or (4) worked under special conditions essential to his or 
her performance and those conditions were removed.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ 20 CFR 404.1574(c)(4) and 416.974(c)(4).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We propose to revise 20 CFR 404.1574(c), 404.1575(d), 416.974(c), 
and 416.975(d) to remove the additional conditions that we use when 
evaluating a work attempt in employment or self-employment that lasts 
between 3 and 6 months. We propose to use the current 3-month standards 
for all work attempts that are 6 months or less. This change would 
apply to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI claimants 
and beneficiaries.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ 20 CFR 404.1574 (c)(3) and 416.974(c)(3).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Under the current rule, when an individual works between 3 and 6 
months, we are required to perform additional development to determine 
if any of the additional conditions are met. This additional step 
delays case processing, in part, because we must contact the 
individual's employer and physician for information to support the 
individual's claim. Our proposed changes would result in simplified 
case processing and faster and better determinations and decisions.

EXR Eligibility and Provisional Benefits

    Previously entitled individuals may request EXR within 60 months of 
their prior termination of benefits if their medical condition no 
longer permits them to perform SGA. To qualify for EXR, a previously 
entitled individual must be unable to perform SGA due to an impairment 
that is the same as or related to an impairment that was the basis for 
the previous entitlement.\13\ The standard for evaluating disability on 
an EXR claim may be more advantageous to the claimant than the standard 
for evaluating disability on a completely new claim for benefits.\14\ 
EXR applies to both SSDI and SSI programs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ 20 CFR 404.1592c and 416.999a.
    \14\ 20 CFR 404.1592b and 416.999.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Currently, our regulations state that individuals are not eligible 
for EXR if they perform SGA during the month in which they apply for 
EXR.\15\ In many cases, a previously entitled individual will request 
EXR in the same month that he or she stopped working. However, since 
earnings already exceeded SGA for that month, the individual is not 
eligible to file for EXR until the following month. In such cases, we 
are required to deny the EXR request, and the individual can request 
EXR in the following month.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ 20 CFR 404.1592c and 416.999a.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We propose to revise 20 CFR 404.1592c and 416.999a to allow 
previously entitled individuals to request EXR in the same month they 
stop performing SGA. This change would apply to SSDI and SSI claimants 
and beneficiaries. This change would make requesting EXR easier as we 
will be able to accept the request at first contact. It would also 
allow us to forward the individual's file immediately for a medical 
determination, reducing wait time and the possibility of a gap in 
benefit payments.
    For a beneficiary who has requested EXR, provisional benefits are 
available for a period of up to 6 months while we make a reinstatement 
determination.\16\ We stop paying provisional benefits when we send a 
notice of our determination on reinstatement, when the individual 
performs SGA, when the individual attains full retirement age, or when 
we have paid 6 months of provisional benefits. We also propose to 
revise 20 CFR 404.1592e(a)(1) to clarify that provisional benefits will 
begin the month after the individual files a request for EXR if the 
individual stops performing SGA in the month of request.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ 20 CFR 404.1592e.
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Clarity of This Rule

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write all rules in 
plain language. In addition to your substantive comments on this 
proposed rule, we invite your comments on how to make rules easier to 
understand.
    For example:
     Would more, but shorter, sections be better?
     Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated?
     Have we organized the material to suit your needs?
     Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists, or 
diagrams?
     What else could we do to make the rule easier to 
understand?
     Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that is 
not clear?
     Would a different format make the rule easier to 
understand, e.g. grouping and order of sections, use of headings, 
paragraphing?

[[Page 29214]]

Regulatory Procedures

Executive Order 12866

    We consulted with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and 
determined that this proposed rule meets the criteria for a significant 
regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by 
Executive Order 13563, and was subject to OMB review.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    We certify that this proposed rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it 
affects individuals only. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis 
is not required under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not create any new or affect any existing 
collections and, therefore, it does not require Office of Management 
and Budget approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 9601, Social 
Security--Disability Insurance; 96.006, Supplemental Security 
Income; 96.008, Social Security--Work Incentives Planning and 
Assistance Program.)

List of Subjects

20 CFR Part 404

    Administrative practice and procedure, Blind, Disability benefits, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Social security, Vocational 
rehabilitation.

20 CFR Part 416

    Administrative practice and procedure, Medicaid, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), 
Vocational rehabilitation.

    Dated: March 14, 2016.
Carolyn W. Colvin,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, we propose to amend 20 CFR 
part 404 subpart P and 20 CFR part 416 subpart I as set forth below:

PART 404--FEDERAL OLD-AGE, SURVIVORS AND DISABILITY INSURANCE

Subpart P--Determining Disability and Blindness

0
1. The authority citation for subpart P of part 404 continues to read 
as follows:

    Authority:  Secs. 202, 205(a)-(b) and (d)-(h), 216(i), 221(a), 
(i), and (j), 222(c), 223, 225, and 702(a)(5) of the Social Security 
Act (42 U.S.C. 402, 405(a)-(b) and (d)-(h), 416(i), 421(a), (i), and 
(j), 422(c), 423, 425, and 902(a)(5)); sec. 211(b), Pub. L. 104-193, 
110 Stat. 2105, 2189; sec. 202, Pub. L. 108-203, 118 Stat. 509 (42 
U.S.C. 902 note).

0
2. Amend Sec.  404.1574 by revising the first sentence of paragraph 
(c)(1), revising paragraph (c)(3), removing paragraph (c)(4), and 
redesignating paragraph (c)(5) as (c)(4).
    The revisions read as follows:


Sec.  404.1574  Evaluation guides if you are an employee.

* * * * *
    (c)* * *
    (1) General. Ordinarily, work you have done will not show that you 
are able to do substantial gainful activity if, after you worked for a 
period of 6 months or less, your impairment forced you to stop working 
or to reduce the amount of work you do so that your earnings from such 
work fall below the substantial gainful activity earnings level in 
paragraph (b)(2) of this section, and you meet the conditions described 
in paragraphs (c)(2), (3), and (4) of this section. * * *
* * * * *
    (3) If you worked 6 months or less. We will consider work of 6 
months or less to be an unsuccessful work attempt if you stopped 
working or you reduced your work and earnings below the substantial 
gainful activity earnings level because of your impairment or because 
of the removal of special conditions that took into account your 
impairment and permitted you to work.
* * * * *
0
3. Amend Sec.  404.1575 by revising the first sentence of 
paragraph(d)(1), revising paragraph (d)(3), removing paragraph (d)(4), 
and redesignating paragraph (d)(5) as (d)(4).
    The revisions read as follows:


Sec.  404.1575  Evaluation guides if you are self-employed.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (1) General. Ordinarily, work you have done will not show that you 
are able to do substantial gainful activity if, after working for a 
period of 6 months or less, you were forced by your impairment to stop 
working or to reduce the amount of work you do so that you are no 
longer performing substantial gainful activity and you meet the 
conditions described in paragraphs (d)(2), (3), and (4) of this 
section. * * *
* * * * *
    (3) If you worked 6 months or less. We will consider work of 6 
months or less to be an unsuccessful work attempt if you stopped 
working or you reduced your work and earnings below the substantial 
gainful activity earnings level because of your impairment or because 
of the removal of special conditions that took into account your 
impairment and permitted you to work.
* * * * *
0
5. Amend Sec.  404.1592c by revising paragraph (a)(4)(i) and (c)(2) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  404.1592c  Who is entitled to expedited reinstatement?

    (a)* * *
    (4)* * *
    (i) You are not able or become unable to do substantial gainful 
activity because of your medical condition as determined under 
paragraph (c) of this section;
* * * * *
    (c)* * *
    (2) You are not able or become unable to do substantial gainful 
activity in the month you file your request for reinstatement; and
* * * * *
0
6. Amend Sec.  404.1592e by revising paragraph (a)(1) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  404.1592e  How do we determine provisional benefits?

    (a) * * *
    (1) We will pay you provisional benefits, and reinstate your 
Medicare if you are not already entitled to Medicare, beginning with 
the month you file your request for reinstatement under Sec.  
404.1592c(a) if you do not perform substantial gainful activity in that 
month. We will pay you provisional benefits, and reinstate your 
Medicare if you are not already entitled to Medicare, beginning with 
the month after you file your request for reinstatement under Sec.  
404.1592c(a) if you perform substantial gainful activity in the month 
in which you file your request for reinstatement.
* * * * *

PART 416--SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME FOR THE AGED, BLIND, AND 
DISABLED

Subpart I--Determining Disability and Blindness

0
13. The authority citation for subpart I of part 416 continues to read 
as follows:

    Authority:  Secs. 221(m), 702(a)(5), 1611, 1614, 1619, 1631(a), 
(c), (d)(1), and (p), and 1633 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 
421(m), 902(a)(5), 1382, 1382c, 1382h, 1383(a), (c), (d)(1), and 
(p), and 1383 (b); secs. 4(c) and 5, 6(c)-(e), 14(a), and 15, Pub. 
L. 98-460, 98 Stat. 1794, 1801, 1802, and 1808 (42 U.S.C. 421 note, 
423 note, and 1382h note).

0
14. Amend Sec.  416.974 by revising paragraph (c)(3), removing 
paragraph

[[Page 29215]]

(c)(4), and redesignating paragraph (c)(5) as (c)(4).
    The revisions read as follows:


Sec.  416.974  Evaluation guides if you are an employee.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) If you worked 6 months or less. We will consider work of 6 
months or less to be an unsuccessful work attempt if you stopped 
working or you reduced your work and earnings below the substantial 
gainful activity earnings level because of your impairment or because 
of the removal of special conditions that took into account your 
impairment and permitted you to work.
* * * * *
0
15. Amend Sec.  416.975 by revising paragraph (d)(1) and (3), removing 
paragraph (d)(4), and redesignating paragraph (d)(5) as (d)(4).
    The revisions read as follows:


Sec.  416.975  Evaluation guides if you are self-employed.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (1) General. Ordinarily, work you have done will not show that you 
are able to do substantial gainful activity if, after working for a 
period of 6 months or less, you were forced by your impairment to stop 
working or to reduce the amount of work you do so that you are no 
longer performing substantial gainful activity and you meet the 
conditions described in paragraphs (d)(2), (3), and (4) of this 
section.
* * * * *
    (3) If you worked 6 months or less. We will consider work of 6 
months or less to be an unsuccessful work attempt if you stopped 
working or you reduced your work and earnings below the substantial 
gainful activity earnings level because of your impairment or because 
of the removal of special conditions that took into account your 
impairment and permitted you to work.
* * * * *
0
16. Amend Sec.  416.999a by revising paragraph (a)(4)(i) and (c)(2) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  416.999a  Who is eligible for expedited reinstatement?

    (a) * * *
    (4) * * *
    (i) You are not able or become unable to do substantial gainful 
activity because of your medical condition as determined under 
paragraph (c) of this section.
* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) You are not able or become unable to do substantial gainful 
activity in the month you file your request for reinstatement; and
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2016-10932 Filed 5-10-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4191-02-P