Cost-of-Living Adjustments and Identity Verification, 68815-68816 [2019-27068]

Download as PDF 68815 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 84, No. 242 Tuesday, December 17, 2019 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules. FEDERAL RETIREMENT THRIFT INVESTMENT BOARD 5 CFR Parts 1630, 1632 and 1650 Cost-of-Living Adjustments and Identity Verification Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (‘‘FRTIB’’) is proposing to amend its regulations to change the cost-of-living adjustment rate used to calculate the annual increase for annuities with an increasing payment option, effective January 18, 2020, and to clarify its requirements regarding identification verification and availability of announcements of meetings open to public observation. DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 16, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may send comments, identified by Docket ID number FRTIB– 2019–0004, by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: (202) 942–1676. • Mail or Hand Deliver/Courier: Office of General Counsel, Attn: Megan G. Grumbine, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, 77 K Street NE, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20002. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Austen Townsend, (202) 864–8647. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FRTIB administers the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which was established by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99–335, 100 Stat. 514. The TSP provisions of FERSA are codified, as amended, largely at 5 U.S.C. 8351 and 8401–79. The TSP is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan for federal civilian employees and members of the uniformed services. The TSP is similar to cash or deferred arrangements established for private-sector employees jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:54 Dec 16, 2019 Jkt 250001 under section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 401(k)). Cost-of Living Adjustment A TSP participant has a variety of withdrawal options to choose from when electing to receive a postseparation withdrawal of some or all of his or her account balance. One such option is an annuity with an increasing payment option based on an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) calculation. Under this increasing payment option, the amount of the monthly annuity payment can increase each year on the anniversary date of the first payment. Current Cost-of-Living Adjustment Currently, when a TSP participant elects to receive an annuity with an increasing payment option, the increase in the amount of his or her monthly annuity payment each year is based on the annual change in inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Increases cannot exceed 3 percent per year. When a TSP participant elects to receive some or all of his or her account balance in the form of an annuity with an increasing payment option, the TSP purchases the annuity for the participant from its annuity vendor. Although the actual change in inflation varies from year to year, the annuity vendor’s pricing for this variable increase rate assumes an annual increase of 3 percent when calculating monthly annuity payments even when the calculated COLA turns out to be below 3 percent. Proposed Cost-of-Living Adjustment The FRTIB is proposing to change its COLA from the variable rate described above to a fixed rate of 2 percent per year. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has set an inflation target of 2 percent and implements that target over the medium term. Indeed, over the last 20 years, inflation, as measured by the CPI, has averaged 1.95 percent annually, which is the expected result given the FOMC inflation target. Using a fixed rate of 2 percent offers two benefits. First, the FRTIB anticipates that fixing the rate at 2 percent will result in a higher initial monthly annuity payment on average. Assuming an inflation rate of 2 percent, a participant’s initial monthly annuity payment will, on average, likely be 10 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 to 15 percent higher than it would have been under the variable rate. Although this increase comes at the expense of a smaller amount of inflation protection (i.e., protection only up to 2 percent per year as opposed to 3 percent), using a fixed rate makes it less likely that participants will pay for more inflation protection than they need. Second, a fixed rate produces a predictable rate of increase allowing participants to have a predictable pattern of income. Annual changes in a COLA based on the annual change in inflation can vary from year-to-year. This volatility can lead to participant uncertainty about how much, if any, their benefit will increase each year. However, the fixed rate has the added benefit of producing a predictable pattern of income. As with all contract provisions, the FRTIB will regularly review the COLA to ensure that it continues to be beneficial for TSP participants. Identity Verification The FRTIB is proposing to amend its rules promulgated under the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, to clarify that TSP participants may be required to provide identifying particulars in order to access their account information. Announcement of Public Meetings The FRTIB is proposing to amend its rule regarding access to announcements of meetings open to public observation to reflect its existing practice of maintaining the annual Board meeting schedule online at frtib.gov and publishing announcements of meetings open to public observation in the Federal Register. Regulatory Flexibility Act I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This regulation will affect Federal employees, members of the uniformed services who participate in the TSP, and beneficiary participants. Paperwork Reduction Act I certify that these regulations do not require additional reporting under the criteria of the Paperwork Reduction Act. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 Pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 602, 632, E:\FR\FM\17DEP1.SGM 17DEP1 68816 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 242 / Tuesday, December 17, 2019 / Proposed Rules 653, and 1501–1571, the effects of this regulation on state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector have been assessed. This regulation will not compel the expenditure in any one year of $100 million or more by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector. Therefore, a statement under 2 U.S.C. 1532 is not required. List of Subjects 7 CFR Part 66 4. The authority for this citation continues to read as follows: National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard; Validation of Refining Processes ■ Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552b and 8474. § 1632.4 Meetings open to public observation. * 5 CFR Part 1650 Alimony, Claims, Government employees, Pensions, Retirement. Ravindra Deo, Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. For the reasons stated in the preamble, the FRTIB proposes to amend 5 CFR Chapter VI as follows: PART 1630—PRIVACY ACT REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation continues to read as follows: ■ * * * * (c) The annual Board meeting schedule will be maintained on frtib.gov. In addition, agency announcements of meetings open to public observation will be published in the Federal Register. Requests for announcements may be made by telephoning or by writing to the Office of External Affairs, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, 77 K Street NE, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20002. PART 1650—METHODS OF WITHDRAWING FUNDS FROM THE THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN 6. The authority citation continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a. 2. Amend § 1630.4 by revising paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows: ■ Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8351, 8432d, 8433, 8434, 8435, 8474(b)(5) and 8474(c)(1). Request for notification and 7. Amend § 1650.14 by revising paragraph (g)(4) to read as follows: ■ (a) * * * (2) Participants may also inquire whether this system contains records about them and access certain records through the account access section of the TSP website and the ThriftLine (the TSP’s automated telephone system). The TSP website is www.tsp.gov. To use the TSP ThriftLine, the participant must have a touch-tone telephone and call (877) 968–3778. Information such as account balance and transaction status is available on the TSP website and the ThriftLine. To access these features, the participant may be required to verify his or her identity by providing identifying particulars. * * * * * ■ 3. Amend § 1630.7 by revising paragraph (c)(3) to read as follows: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS PART 1632—RULES REGARDING PUBLIC OBSERVATION OF MEETINGS 5. Amend § 1632.4 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows: 5 CFR Part 1632 Sunshine Act. § 1630.7 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ■ 5 CFR Part 1630 Privacy. § 1630.4 access. may require the participant to verify his or her identity by providing identifying particulars. § 1650.14 Annuities. * * * * * (g) * * * (4) Either a single life or joint (with spouse) life annuity with increasing payments. This annuity provides monthly payments to the participant only, or to the participant and spouse, as applicable. The monthly payments are increased once each year on the anniversary of the first payment by a fixed rate of 2 percent. If the participant chooses a joint life annuity, the annual 2 percent increase also applies to benefits received by the survivor. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2019–27068 Filed 12–16–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6760–01–P Identification requirements. * * * * * (c) * * * (3) A participant may also access the TSP website or call the TSP ThriftLine to obtain account information. These systems may require identity and account verification information and VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:54 Dec 16, 2019 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Agricultural Marketing Service [Document No. AMS–FTPP–19–0104] ACTION: Request for comments. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting comments and feedback on draft instructions for validation of refining processes as it pertains to the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (Standard). DATES: Comments are due by January 16, 2020. ADDRESSES: We invite you to submit written comments via the internet at http://www.regulations.gov. All comments should refer to the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register. All comments submitted in response to this notice, including the identity of individuals or entities submitting comments, will be made available to the public on the internet via http://www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Trevor Findley, Deputy Director, Food Disclosure and Labeling Division, Fair Trade Practices Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, telephone (202) 690–3460, email trevor.findley@usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background On July 29, 2016, Public Law 114–216 amended the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1621 et. seq.) (amended Act) to require USDA to establish a national, mandatory standard for disclosing any food that is or may be bioengineered. In accordance with the amended Act, USDA published final regulations to implement the Standard on December 21, 2018 (83 FR 65843). The regulations became effective on February 19, 2019, with a mandatory compliance date of January 1, 2022. Foods that do not contain detectable modified genetic material are not bioengineered foods and do not require disclosure under the Standard. Under the definition of bioengineered food at 7 CFR 66.1, food does not contain modified genetic material if the genetic material is not detectable pursuant to § 66.9. The recordkeeping requirements for detectability at 7 CFR 66.9 specify the requirements for validating that a E:\FR\FM\17DEP1.SGM 17DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 242 (Tuesday, December 17, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 68815-68816]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-27068]


========================================================================
Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 242 / Tuesday, December 17, 2019 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 68815]]



FEDERAL RETIREMENT THRIFT INVESTMENT BOARD

5 CFR Parts 1630, 1632 and 1650


Cost-of-Living Adjustments and Identity Verification

AGENCY: Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (``FRTIB'') is 
proposing to amend its regulations to change the cost-of-living 
adjustment rate used to calculate the annual increase for annuities 
with an increasing payment option, effective January 18, 2020, and to 
clarify its requirements regarding identification verification and 
availability of announcements of meetings open to public observation.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 16, 2020.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments, identified by Docket ID number FRTIB-
2019-0004, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: (202) 942-1676.
     Mail or Hand Deliver/Courier: Office of General Counsel, 
Attn: Megan G. Grumbine, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, 77 
K Street NE, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20002.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Austen Townsend, (202) 864-8647.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FRTIB administers the Thrift Savings 
Plan (TSP), which was established by the Federal Employees' Retirement 
System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99-335, 100 Stat. 514. The TSP 
provisions of FERSA are codified, as amended, largely at 5 U.S.C. 8351 
and 8401-79. The TSP is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan for 
federal civilian employees and members of the uniformed services. The 
TSP is similar to cash or deferred arrangements established for 
private-sector employees under section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue 
Code (26 U.S.C. 401(k)).

Cost-of Living Adjustment

    A TSP participant has a variety of withdrawal options to choose 
from when electing to receive a post-separation withdrawal of some or 
all of his or her account balance. One such option is an annuity with 
an increasing payment option based on an annual cost-of-living 
adjustment (COLA) calculation. Under this increasing payment option, 
the amount of the monthly annuity payment can increase each year on the 
anniversary date of the first payment.

Current Cost-of-Living Adjustment

    Currently, when a TSP participant elects to receive an annuity with 
an increasing payment option, the increase in the amount of his or her 
monthly annuity payment each year is based on the annual change in 
inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Increases 
cannot exceed 3 percent per year.
    When a TSP participant elects to receive some or all of his or her 
account balance in the form of an annuity with an increasing payment 
option, the TSP purchases the annuity for the participant from its 
annuity vendor. Although the actual change in inflation varies from 
year to year, the annuity vendor's pricing for this variable increase 
rate assumes an annual increase of 3 percent when calculating monthly 
annuity payments even when the calculated COLA turns out to be below 3 
percent.

Proposed Cost-of-Living Adjustment

    The FRTIB is proposing to change its COLA from the variable rate 
described above to a fixed rate of 2 percent per year. The Federal Open 
Market Committee (FOMC) has set an inflation target of 2 percent and 
implements that target over the medium term. Indeed, over the last 20 
years, inflation, as measured by the CPI, has averaged 1.95 percent 
annually, which is the expected result given the FOMC inflation target.
    Using a fixed rate of 2 percent offers two benefits. First, the 
FRTIB anticipates that fixing the rate at 2 percent will result in a 
higher initial monthly annuity payment on average. Assuming an 
inflation rate of 2 percent, a participant's initial monthly annuity 
payment will, on average, likely be 10 to 15 percent higher than it 
would have been under the variable rate. Although this increase comes 
at the expense of a smaller amount of inflation protection (i.e., 
protection only up to 2 percent per year as opposed to 3 percent), 
using a fixed rate makes it less likely that participants will pay for 
more inflation protection than they need.
    Second, a fixed rate produces a predictable rate of increase 
allowing participants to have a predictable pattern of income. Annual 
changes in a COLA based on the annual change in inflation can vary from 
year-to-year. This volatility can lead to participant uncertainty about 
how much, if any, their benefit will increase each year. However, the 
fixed rate has the added benefit of producing a predictable pattern of 
income.
    As with all contract provisions, the FRTIB will regularly review 
the COLA to ensure that it continues to be beneficial for TSP 
participants.

Identity Verification

    The FRTIB is proposing to amend its rules promulgated under the 
Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, to clarify that TSP participants may 
be required to provide identifying particulars in order to access their 
account information.

Announcement of Public Meetings

    The FRTIB is proposing to amend its rule regarding access to 
announcements of meetings open to public observation to reflect its 
existing practice of maintaining the annual Board meeting schedule 
online at frtib.gov and publishing announcements of meetings open to 
public observation in the Federal Register.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. This regulation will 
affect Federal employees, members of the uniformed services who 
participate in the TSP, and beneficiary participants.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    I certify that these regulations do not require additional 
reporting under the criteria of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 602, 
632,

[[Page 68816]]

653, and 1501-1571, the effects of this regulation on state, local, and 
tribal governments and the private sector have been assessed. This 
regulation will not compel the expenditure in any one year of $100 
million or more by state, local, and tribal governments, in the 
aggregate, or by the private sector. Therefore, a statement under 2 
U.S.C. 1532 is not required.

List of Subjects

5 CFR Part 1630

    Privacy.

5 CFR Part 1632

    Sunshine Act.

5 CFR Part 1650

    Alimony, Claims, Government employees, Pensions, Retirement.

Ravindra Deo,
Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the FRTIB proposes to amend 
5 CFR Chapter VI as follows:

PART 1630--PRIVACY ACT REGULATIONS

0
1. The authority citation continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 552a.

0
2. Amend Sec.  1630.4 by revising paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:


Sec.  1630.4  Request for notification and access.

    (a) * * *
    (2) Participants may also inquire whether this system contains 
records about them and access certain records through the account 
access section of the TSP website and the ThriftLine (the TSP's 
automated telephone system). The TSP website is www.tsp.gov. To use the 
TSP ThriftLine, the participant must have a touch-tone telephone and 
call (877) 968-3778. Information such as account balance and 
transaction status is available on the TSP website and the ThriftLine. 
To access these features, the participant may be required to verify his 
or her identity by providing identifying particulars.
* * * * *
0
3. Amend Sec.  1630.7 by revising paragraph (c)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  1630.7  Identification requirements.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) A participant may also access the TSP website or call the TSP 
ThriftLine to obtain account information. These systems may require 
identity and account verification information and may require the 
participant to verify his or her identity by providing identifying 
particulars.

PART 1632--RULES REGARDING PUBLIC OBSERVATION OF MEETINGS

0
4. The authority for this citation continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 552b and 8474.

0
5. Amend Sec.  1632.4 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  1632.4  Meetings open to public observation.

* * * * *
    (c) The annual Board meeting schedule will be maintained on 
frtib.gov. In addition, agency announcements of meetings open to public 
observation will be published in the Federal Register. Requests for 
announcements may be made by telephoning or by writing to the Office of 
External Affairs, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, 77 K 
Street NE, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20002.

PART 1650--METHODS OF WITHDRAWING FUNDS FROM THE THRIFT SAVINGS 
PLAN

0
6. The authority citation continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 8351, 8432d, 8433, 8434, 8435, 8474(b)(5) 
and 8474(c)(1).

0
7. Amend Sec.  1650.14 by revising paragraph (g)(4) to read as follows:


Sec.  1650.14  Annuities.

* * * * *
    (g) * * *
    (4) Either a single life or joint (with spouse) life annuity with 
increasing payments. This annuity provides monthly payments to the 
participant only, or to the participant and spouse, as applicable. The 
monthly payments are increased once each year on the anniversary of the 
first payment by a fixed rate of 2 percent. If the participant chooses 
a joint life annuity, the annual 2 percent increase also applies to 
benefits received by the survivor.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2019-27068 Filed 12-16-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6760-01-P