Disruption of Mail Service, 21937 [2020-08248]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 76 / Monday, April 20, 2020 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel’s Special Projects Committee Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Treasury. ACTION: Notice of meeting. AGENCY: An open meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel’s Special Projects Committee will be conducted. The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel is soliciting public comments, ideas, and suggestions on improving customer service at the Internal Revenue Service. DATES: The meeting will be held Thursday, May 14, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Antoinette Ross at 1–888–912–1227 or 202–317–4110. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice is hereby given pursuant to Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App. (1988) that an open meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel’s Special Projects Committee will be held Thursday, May 14, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The public is invited to make oral comments or submit written statements for consideration. Due to limited time and structure of meeting, notification of intent to participate must be made with Antoinette Ross. For more information please contact Antoinette Ross at 1– 888–912–1227 or 202–317–4110, or write TAP Office, 1111 Constitution Ave. NW, Room 1509, Washington, DC 20224 or contact us at the website: http://www.improveirs.org. The agenda will include various IRS issues. SUMMARY: Dated: April 14, 2020. Kevin Brown, Acting Director, Taxpayer Advocacy Panel. [FR Doc. 2020–08236 Filed 4–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830–01–P DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Disruption of Mail Service Department of Veterans Affairs. Notice of exception to date of receipt rule. AGENCY: ACTION: In response to the declaration of national emergency, announced on March 13, 2020, due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) outbreak in the United States, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is instituting jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:34 Apr 17, 2020 Jkt 250001 temporary provisions for determining the acceptable dates for the receipt of correspondence through postal mail and other mail delivery systems. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cleveland Karren, Director, Policy and Procedures, Compensation Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20420, (202) 461–9700. (This is not a toll-free telephone number.) SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States signed a declaration of national emergency due to the COVID–19 outbreak in the United States, beginning March 1, 2020. This COVID–19 outbreak required VBA to dramatically alter its operations in concert with the Federal Government’s efforts to combat the spread of the virus in the United States population. VBA, as part of its efforts to protect Veterans and employees, has in many locations maximized the use of telework from home. In addition, VBA has temporarily closed public contact units within VBA regional offices. While United States Postal Service operations have continued, limited physical staffing at VBA regional offices could lead to delays in the ability of these regional offices to receive mail and process it timely. At several VBA regional office locations, processing of correspondence—containing claims, pertinent beneficiary information, or related evidence—sent to VA during this period could be significantly interrupted due to VA’s involvement in the Federal Government’s effort to combat the spread of COVID–19. VA aims to protect the interest of claimants who send such correspondence to VBA through the normal channels of communication during this period and could possibly be deprived of benefits solely because these channels of communication are disrupted during this time of national emergency. Therefore, VA is instituting temporary provisions for determining the acceptable dates for the receipt of correspondence through postal mail and other mail delivery systems. A VA regulation, 38 Code of Federal Regulations 3.1(r), allows the Under Secretary for Benefits to establish exceptions to VA’s rule on the date of receipt of claims, information, or evidence by notice published in the Federal Register. Ordinarily, ‘‘date of receipt’’ means the date on which a claim, information, or evidence was received in a VA office. This regulation states that exceptions may be established when a natural or man-made PO 00000 Frm 00116 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 21937 interference with the normal channels through which VBA ordinarily receives correspondence has resulted in one or more VBA regional offices to experience extended delays in the receipt of claims, information, or evidence to an extent that, if not addressed, the delay would adversely affect such claimants, through no fault of their own. In March 2020, the COVID–19 outbreak interrupted operations at all VBA regional offices. Correspondence containing claims, information, or evidence sent to VA during this period was likely delayed due to interrupted operations of VBA regional offices. Because VBA regional office mail systems were impacted, VA has established the following exceptions to the standard rule on date of receipt. Exceptions to Date of Receipt Rule for Claimants Affected by the COVID–19 Outbreak VA hereby gives notice that, for purposes of determining entitlement to benefits, any correspondence that is received by VA from any claimant, during the period March 1, 2020, through 60 calendar days from the date the President ends the national state of emergency, that contains claims, information, or evidence, will be considered received on the date of postmark. In the event there is no mail postmark, or date stamp by the United States Postal Service, VA will consider the correspondence as received no later than February 29, 2020. Due to the global nature of the COVID–19 pandemic, this guidance applies to correspondence received during the designated period from all domestic ZIP codes and foreign mail codes. Signing Authority The Secretary of Veterans Affairs approved this document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Pamela Powers, Chief of Staff, Performing the Delegable Duties of the Deputy Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this document on April 14, 2020, for publication. Jeffrey M. Martin, Assistant Director, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of the Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs. [FR Doc. 2020–08248 Filed 4–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320–01–P E:\FR\FM\20APN1.SGM 20APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 76 (Monday, April 20, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Page 21937]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-08248]


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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS


Disruption of Mail Service

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Notice of exception to date of receipt rule.

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SUMMARY: In response to the declaration of national emergency, 
announced on March 13, 2020, due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 
(COVID-19) outbreak in the United States, the Veterans Benefits 
Administration (VBA) is instituting temporary provisions for 
determining the acceptable dates for the receipt of correspondence 
through postal mail and other mail delivery systems.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cleveland Karren, Director, Policy and 
Procedures, Compensation Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 
Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20420, (202) 461-9700. (This is not a 
toll-free telephone number.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On March 13, 2020, the President of the 
United States signed a declaration of national emergency due to the 
COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, beginning March 1, 2020. This 
COVID-19 outbreak required VBA to dramatically alter its operations in 
concert with the Federal Government's efforts to combat the spread of 
the virus in the United States population.
    VBA, as part of its efforts to protect Veterans and employees, has 
in many locations maximized the use of telework from home. In addition, 
VBA has temporarily closed public contact units within VBA regional 
offices.
    While United States Postal Service operations have continued, 
limited physical staffing at VBA regional offices could lead to delays 
in the ability of these regional offices to receive mail and process it 
timely. At several VBA regional office locations, processing of 
correspondence--containing claims, pertinent beneficiary information, 
or related evidence--sent to VA during this period could be 
significantly interrupted due to VA's involvement in the Federal 
Government's effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. VA aims to 
protect the interest of claimants who send such correspondence to VBA 
through the normal channels of communication during this period and 
could possibly be deprived of benefits solely because these channels of 
communication are disrupted during this time of national emergency. 
Therefore, VA is instituting temporary provisions for determining the 
acceptable dates for the receipt of correspondence through postal mail 
and other mail delivery systems.
    A VA regulation, 38 Code of Federal Regulations 3.1(r), allows the 
Under Secretary for Benefits to establish exceptions to VA's rule on 
the date of receipt of claims, information, or evidence by notice 
published in the Federal Register. Ordinarily, ``date of receipt'' 
means the date on which a claim, information, or evidence was received 
in a VA office. This regulation states that exceptions may be 
established when a natural or man-made interference with the normal 
channels through which VBA ordinarily receives correspondence has 
resulted in one or more VBA regional offices to experience extended 
delays in the receipt of claims, information, or evidence to an extent 
that, if not addressed, the delay would adversely affect such 
claimants, through no fault of their own.
    In March 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak interrupted operations at all 
VBA regional offices. Correspondence containing claims, information, or 
evidence sent to VA during this period was likely delayed due to 
interrupted operations of VBA regional offices. Because VBA regional 
office mail systems were impacted, VA has established the following 
exceptions to the standard rule on date of receipt.

Exceptions to Date of Receipt Rule for Claimants Affected by the COVID-
19 Outbreak

    VA hereby gives notice that, for purposes of determining 
entitlement to benefits, any correspondence that is received by VA from 
any claimant, during the period March 1, 2020, through 60 calendar days 
from the date the President ends the national state of emergency, that 
contains claims, information, or evidence, will be considered received 
on the date of postmark. In the event there is no mail postmark, or 
date stamp by the United States Postal Service, VA will consider the 
correspondence as received no later than February 29, 2020.
    Due to the global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, this guidance 
applies to correspondence received during the designated period from 
all domestic ZIP codes and foreign mail codes.

Signing Authority

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs approved this document and 
authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document to the 
Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as an 
official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Pamela Powers, 
Chief of Staff, Performing the Delegable Duties of the Deputy 
Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this document on 
April 14, 2020, for publication.

Jeffrey M. Martin,
Assistant Director, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of 
the Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2020-08248 Filed 4-17-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8320-01-P