Temporary Waiver of Notarization Requirement for Spousal Consent, 59173-59174 [2020-20789]

Download as PDF 59173 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 183 Monday, September 21, 2020 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. FEDERAL RETIREMENT THRIFT INVESTMENT BOARD 5 CFR Part 1650 Temporary Waiver of Notarization Requirement for Spousal Consent Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: With this final rule, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (‘‘FRTIB’’) is withdrawing its temporary waiver of the requirement to notarize a spouse’s signature on withdrawal election forms. DATES: This rule is effective October 1, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For press inquiries, contact Kim Weaver at (202) 942–1641. For further information, contact Laurissa Stokes at (202) 942– 1645. 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)). A spouse of a FERS or uniformed services TSP participant has an automatic legal entitlement to a survivor annuity. Annuities are purchased with the balance of the participant’s TSP account, and such purchases are made pursuant a withdrawal election. Consequently, the default TSP withdrawal election is a joint life annuity with the 50% survivor benefit. The participant cannot make any other type of withdrawal unless the jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:14 Sep 18, 2020 Jkt 250001 participant’s spouse signs a written statement waiving his or her entitlement to a survivor annuity. This signed, written waiver (‘‘spousal consent’’) is a statutory requirement. 5 U.S.C. 8435(b) and (c). The protection of spousal rights is of the utmost importance to the FRTIB. Indeed, although not statutorily required to do so, the FRTIB generally requires spousal consent to be notarized.1 However, on April 17, 2020, the FRTIB issued an interim rule temporarily waiving this requirement for withdrawal election forms (85 FR 21311). The temporary suspension of the notarization requirement for spousal consent was necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted day-to-day life in an unprecedented way and made it difficult and unsafe to have forms notarized in person. The uncertainty caused by the evolution of state laws permitting remote notarization coupled with the TSP’s lack of a technological workflow to allow participants to submit remotely notarized forms electronically created an extraordinary hurdle for married TSP participants who needed to request a withdrawal during this difficult time. As of September 1, 2020, 48 states plus the District of Columbia have either adopted laws that enable notaries to perform remote notarizations or temporarily waived certain provisions of law that would otherwise impede the availability of remote notarization. TSP participants have now had time to familiarize themselves with applicable legal requirements and the technology used for remote notarization. In addition, participants are now able to submit remotely notarized forms electronically to the TSP. Moreover, states have increasingly lifted business and school closures, stay-at-home/ shelter-in-place orders, and other coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions, allowing TSP participants to access services such as in-person notaries (mobile or otherwise) that were not available to them in April when the FRTIB temporarily waived the notarization requirement for spousal consent. Therefore, the Executive Director has determined that this 1 The FRTIB Executive Director has the authority to issue regulations to administer the TSP. 5 U.S.C. 8474(b)(5). In 2003, the Executive Director published a regulation requiring spousal consent to be notarized. 68 FR 74450 (December 23, 2003). PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 temporary waiver is no longer necessary. A married TSP participant who completes a withdrawal election form on or after October 1, 2020, must have his or her spouse’s signature notarized. 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, 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. Submission to Congress and the General Accounting Office Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 810(a)(1)(A), the Agency submitted a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States before publication of this rule in the Federal Register. This rule is not a major rule as defined at 5 U.S.C. 804(2). List of Subjects in 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 amends 5 CFR part 1650 as follows: E:\FR\FM\21SER1.SGM 21SER1 59174 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 183 / Monday, September 21, 2020 / Rules and Regulations PART 1650—METHODS OF WITHDRAWING FUNDS FROM THE THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 1. The authority citation for part 1650 continues to read as follows: 7 CFR Part 9 Office of the Secretary ■ RIN 0503–AA65 ■ 2. Amend § 1650.61 by revising paragraph (c)(4) to read as follows: Coronavirus Food Assistance Program; Correction § 1650.61 Spousal rights applicable to post-employment withdrawals. AGENCY: ACTION: * * * * * (c) * * * (4) Unless the TSP granted the participant an exception under this subpart to the spousal notification requirement within 90 days of the date the withdrawal form is processed by the TSP, to show that the spouse has consented to a different total or partial withdrawal election or installment payment change and waived the right to this annuity with respect to the applicable amount, the participant must submit to the TSP record keeper a properly completed withdrawal request form, signed by his or her spouse in the presence of a notary. If the TSP granted the participant an exception to the signature requirement, the participant should enclose a copy of the TSP’s approval letter with the withdrawal form. * * * * * ■ 3. Amend § 1650.62 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows: § 1650.62 Spousal rights applicable to inservice withdrawals. * jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES [Docket ID: FSA–2020–0004] Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8351, 8432d, 8433, 8434, 8435, 8474(b)5 and 8474(c)(1). * * * * (c) Unless the participant was granted an exception under this subpart to the signature requirement within 90 days of the date the withdrawal form is processed by the TSP, before obtaining an in-service withdrawal, a participant who is covered by FERS or who is a member of the uniformed services must obtain the consent of his or her spouse and waiver of the spouse’s right to a joint and survivor annuity described in § 1650.61(c) with respect to the applicable amount. To show the spouse’s consent and waiver, a participant must submit to the TSP record keeper a properly completed withdrawal request form, signed by his or her spouse in the presence of a notary. Once a form containing the spouse’s consent and waiver has been submitted to the TSP record keeper, the spouse’s consent is irrevocable for that withdrawal. [FR Doc. 2020–20789 Filed 9–17–20; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6760–01–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:14 Sep 18, 2020 Jkt 250001 Office of the Secretary, USDA. Correcting amendments. The Secretary of Agriculture implemented the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides assistance to agricultural producers impacted by the effects of the COVID–19 outbreak, through a final rule published in the Federal Register on May 21, 2020. This correction clarifies the eligibility of barley and livestock. DATES: Effective September 21, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William L. Beam; telephone: (202) 720– 3175; email: Bill.Beam@usda.gov. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication should contact the USDA Target Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This document corrects the CFAP regulations in 7 CFR part 9, which were implemented in the final rule that was published in the Federal Register on May 21, 2020 (85 FR 30825–30835). This is the fourth set of corrections. The first set of corrections was published in the Federal Register on June 12, 2020 (85 FR 35799–35800), the second set of corrections was published in the Federal Register on July 10, 2020 (85 FR 41328–41330), and the third set of corrections was published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2020 (85 FR 49593–49594). This document augments those corrections. This document corrects 7 CFR 9.1(a) to clarify the meaning of ‘‘produced in the United States’’ as it relates to imported livestock. CFAP payments to livestock producers are based on the sum of two calculations. The first calculation is intended to compensate producers for losses due to price declines that occurred between midJanuary 2020 and mid-April 2020, and is based on livestock sold between January 15, 2020, and April 15, 2020. The second calculation is intended to address on-going market disruptions and assist with the transition to a more orderly marketing system. It is based on the producer’s highest livestock inventory owned on a date between April 16, 2020, and May 14, 2020. This document specifies that to be SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 considered ‘‘produced in the United States,’’ livestock sold between January 15, 2020, and April 15, 2020, must have been physically located in the United States as of January 15, 2020, and must have remained in the United States until they were sold. For imported livestock inventory owned between April 16, 2020, and May 14, 2020, ‘‘produced in the United States’’ means that the livestock must have been physically located in the United States on the applicable date for which the producer is reporting their highest owned inventory, because producers have been incurring and continue to incur additional marketing costs related to the COVID–19 pandemic for those livestock. This document amends the definition of ‘‘non-specialty crop’’ in § 9.2 and Table 2 in § 9.5(h) to specify that CFAP eligibility for barley is not limited only to malting barley. All barley is eligible for CFAP assistance. The changes in this document are consistent with the original intent of USDA in creating and administering CFAP and are not expected to increase expected costs. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 9 Agricultural commodities, Agriculture, Disaster assistance, Indemnity payments. Accordingly, 7 CFR part 9 is corrected by making the following correcting amendments: PART 9—CORONAVIRUS FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for part 9 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 15 U.S.C. 714b and 714c; and Division B, Title I, Pub. L. 116–136. 2. In § 9.1, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows. ■ § 9.1 Applicability and administration. (a) This part specifies the eligibility requirements and payment calculations for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). CFAP will provide payments with respect to commodities that have been significantly impacted by the effects of the COVID–19 outbreak. Payments will be made with respect to only commodities produced in the United States; commodities other than livestock that are imported into the United States may not be used to determine any payment made under this part. For livestock, ‘‘produced in the United States’’ means physically located in the United States: (1) On January 15, 2020, and remaining in the United States until sold for livestock sold between January 15, 2020, and April 15, 2020; or E:\FR\FM\21SER1.SGM 21SER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 183 (Monday, September 21, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 59173-59174]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-20789]



========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 

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


Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 183 / Monday, September 21, 2020 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 59173]]



FEDERAL RETIREMENT THRIFT INVESTMENT BOARD

5 CFR Part 1650


Temporary Waiver of Notarization Requirement for Spousal Consent

AGENCY: Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: With this final rule, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment 
Board (``FRTIB'') is withdrawing its temporary waiver of the 
requirement to notarize a spouse's signature on withdrawal election 
forms.

DATES: This rule is effective October 1, 2020.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For press inquiries, contact Kim 
Weaver at (202) 942-1641. For further information, contact Laurissa 
Stokes at (202) 942-1645.

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)).
    A spouse of a FERS or uniformed services TSP participant has an 
automatic legal entitlement to a survivor annuity. Annuities are 
purchased with the balance of the participant's TSP account, and such 
purchases are made pursuant a withdrawal election. Consequently, the 
default TSP withdrawal election is a joint life annuity with the 50% 
survivor benefit. The participant cannot make any other type of 
withdrawal unless the participant's spouse signs a written statement 
waiving his or her entitlement to a survivor annuity. This signed, 
written waiver (``spousal consent'') is a statutory requirement. 5 
U.S.C. 8435(b) and (c).
    The protection of spousal rights is of the utmost importance to the 
FRTIB. Indeed, although not statutorily required to do so, the FRTIB 
generally requires spousal consent to be notarized.\1\ However, on 
April 17, 2020, the FRTIB issued an interim rule temporarily waiving 
this requirement for withdrawal election forms (85 FR 21311). The 
temporary suspension of the notarization requirement for spousal 
consent was necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted 
day-to-day life in an unprecedented way and made it difficult and 
unsafe to have forms notarized in person. The uncertainty caused by the 
evolution of state laws permitting remote notarization coupled with the 
TSP's lack of a technological workflow to allow participants to submit 
remotely notarized forms electronically created an extraordinary hurdle 
for married TSP participants who needed to request a withdrawal during 
this difficult time.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The FRTIB Executive Director has the authority to issue 
regulations to administer the TSP. 5 U.S.C. 8474(b)(5). In 2003, the 
Executive Director published a regulation requiring spousal consent 
to be notarized. 68 FR 74450 (December 23, 2003).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As of September 1, 2020, 48 states plus the District of Columbia 
have either adopted laws that enable notaries to perform remote 
notarizations or temporarily waived certain provisions of law that 
would otherwise impede the availability of remote notarization. TSP 
participants have now had time to familiarize themselves with 
applicable legal requirements and the technology used for remote 
notarization. In addition, participants are now able to submit remotely 
notarized forms electronically to the TSP. Moreover, states have 
increasingly lifted business and school closures, stay-at-home/shelter-
in-place orders, and other coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions, 
allowing TSP participants to access services such as in-person notaries 
(mobile or otherwise) that were not available to them in April when the 
FRTIB temporarily waived the notarization requirement for spousal 
consent. Therefore, the Executive Director has determined that this 
temporary waiver is no longer necessary. A married TSP participant who 
completes a withdrawal election form on or after October 1, 2020, must 
have his or her spouse's signature notarized.

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, 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.

Submission to Congress and the General Accounting Office

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 810(a)(1)(A), the Agency submitted a report 
containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, 
the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the 
United States before publication of this rule in the Federal Register. 
This rule is not a major rule as defined at 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

List of Subjects in 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 amends 5 CFR part 
1650 as follows:

[[Page 59174]]

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

0
1. The authority citation for part 1650 continues to read as follows:

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


0
2. Amend Sec.  1650.61 by revising paragraph (c)(4) to read as follows:


Sec.  1650.61  Spousal rights applicable to post-employment 
withdrawals.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (4) Unless the TSP granted the participant an exception under this 
subpart to the spousal notification requirement within 90 days of the 
date the withdrawal form is processed by the TSP, to show that the 
spouse has consented to a different total or partial withdrawal 
election or installment payment change and waived the right to this 
annuity with respect to the applicable amount, the participant must 
submit to the TSP record keeper a properly completed withdrawal request 
form, signed by his or her spouse in the presence of a notary. If the 
TSP granted the participant an exception to the signature requirement, 
the participant should enclose a copy of the TSP's approval letter with 
the withdrawal form.
* * * * *

0
3. Amend Sec.  1650.62 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  1650.62   Spousal rights applicable to in-service withdrawals.

* * * * *
    (c) Unless the participant was granted an exception under this 
subpart to the signature requirement within 90 days of the date the 
withdrawal form is processed by the TSP, before obtaining an in-service 
withdrawal, a participant who is covered by FERS or who is a member of 
the uniformed services must obtain the consent of his or her spouse and 
waiver of the spouse's right to a joint and survivor annuity described 
in Sec.  1650.61(c) with respect to the applicable amount. To show the 
spouse's consent and waiver, a participant must submit to the TSP 
record keeper a properly completed withdrawal request form, signed by 
his or her spouse in the presence of a notary. Once a form containing 
the spouse's consent and waiver has been submitted to the TSP record 
keeper, the spouse's consent is irrevocable for that withdrawal.

[FR Doc. 2020-20789 Filed 9-17-20; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 6760-01-P