Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Computer Matching Program (SSA/Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Match Number 1307
In accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act, as amended, this notice announces the renewal of an existing computer matching program that SSA is currently conducting with OPM.
Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Computer Matching Program (SSA/Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)-Match Number 1309
In accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act, as amended, this notice announces the renewal of an existing computer matching program that SSA is currently conducting with VA.
SSA Implementation of OMB Guidance on Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is moving its regulations on nonprocurement debarment and suspension from title 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), chapter III, part 436, to title 2 of the CFR, subtitle B, chapter 23, part 2336. In 2 CFR part 180, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provides guidance for Federal agencies on the government-wide debarment and suspension system for nonprocurement programs and activities. SSA is implementing regulations covering policies and procedures for nonprocurement debarment and suspension by adopting OMB's guidance in 2 CFR part 180 and adding some provisions that are specific to SSA. The new part in 2 CFR will be substantively the same as the prior nonprocurement debarment and suspension regulations that set forth common policies and procedures that Federal Executive branch agencies use in taking suspension and debarment actions (the common rule). However, 2 CFR will consolidate all of the Executive agencies' regulations in one location so that they are easier to find. This regulatory action is an administrative simplification that makes no substantive change in SSA policies or procedures for nonprocurement debarment and suspension.
Demonstration Project on Direct Payment of Fees to Non-Attorney Representatives
In prior notices published in the Federal Register, we provided guidance on the requirements for participation in the Non- Attorney Direct Payment Demonstration Project mandated by Section 303 of the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA). In this notice, we are announcing that we are revising our earlier guidance in two respects. First, we have decided to replace the requirement that insurance policies must be underwritten by a firm that is licensed to provide insurance in the State where the individual practices with a requirement that the underwriting firm be legally permitted to provide insurance in that State. This change will allow us to accept insurance policies offered by ``surplus lines carriers.'' Second, we are changing the manner in which we will make open-book reference materials available to test-takers.
Private Printing of Prescribed Applications, Forms, and Other Publications
The current regulation at 20 CFR 422.527 requires a person, institution, or organization (person) to obtain approval from the Social Security Administration (SSA) prior to reproducing, duplicating, or privately printing any application or other form prescribed by the Administration. Such approval has been required whether or not the person intended to charge a fee for SSA's application(s) or other form(s). Section 1140(a)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act (the Act) prohibits a person from charging a fee to reproduce, reprint, or distribute any SSA application, form, or publication unless he/she obtains the authorization of the Commissioner of Social Security in accordance with such regulations as he may prescribe. (42 U.S.C. 1320b- 10(a)(2)(A)). This proposed rule would implement section 1140(a)(2)(A) of the Act by adding SSA's publications to the pre-authorization requirement identified in 20 CFR 422.527 and by establishing that SSA's authorization is required only when the person intends to charge a fee. The proposed rule also would prescribe the procedures a person who intends to charge a fee must follow to obtain SSA's written authorization prior to reproducing, reprinting, and/or distributing SSA's applications, forms, or publications.
Proposed Suspension of New Claims to the Federal Reviewing Official Review Level, Changes to the Role of the Medical and Vocational Expert System, and Future Demonstration Projects
We propose to modify our disability administrative adjudication processes to suspend new claims to the Federal reviewing official (FedRO) level, now operating in the Boston region. Claims already received will continue to be processed by the FedRO and a related component of the disability determination process, the Medical and Vocational Expert System (MVES), commonly known as the Office of Medical and Vocational Expertise (OMVE). We also propose to remove the MVES/OMVE from the disability adjudication process for new claims. We are making these proposals to ensure that we continually improve our disability adjudication process. Lastly, we are requesting comments on using the MVES/OMVE to develop and manage a national registry of experts.
Improvements to the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program
We are proposing to revise our regulations for the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program (Ticket to Work program), authorized by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999. The Ticket to Work program provides beneficiaries with disabilities expanded options for access to employment, vocational rehabilitation, and other support services. The program is an important part of the comprehensive SSA work opportunity initiative which is focused on helping beneficiaries with disabilities who want to work to do so. We are proposing revisions to our current Ticket to Work program rules to simplify and improve the definition of ``using a ticket'' and our related requirements for measuring ``timely progress toward self-supporting employment.''
Amendment to the Attorney Advisor Program
We are announcing this interim final rule to modify, on a temporary basis, the prehearing procedures we follow in claims for Social Security disability benefits or supplemental security income (SSI) payments based on disability or blindness. Under the interim final rule, we may allow certain attorney advisors, under managerial oversight, to conduct certain prehearing proceedings, and where the documentary record developed as a result of these proceedings warrants, issue decisions that are wholly favorable to the parties to the hearing.
Temporary Extension of Attorney Fee Payment System to Title XVI; 5-Year Demonstration Project Extending Fee Withholding and Payment Procedures to Eligible Non-Attorney Representatives; Definition of Past-Due Benefits; and Assessment for Fee Payment Services
We are issuing these final rules to adopt without change the interim final rules published on April 5, 2007 to reflect in our regulations three self-implementing statutory provisions in the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA) and three related self- implementing provisions in earlier legislation. These earlier provisions are in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA), the Social Security Independence and Program Improvements Act of 1994 (SSIPIA), and the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (TWWIIA).
Sixty-Month Period of Employment Requirement for Government Pension Offset Exemption
To implement section 418 of the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA), we propose to revise our regulations to explain that a State or local government worker will be subject to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision under title II of the Social Security Act (the Act), if any part of the last 60 months of government service was not covered by Social Security. We also propose to replace the words ``receiving'' and ``received'' with the word ``payable'' when referring to the eligibility to or payout from a government pension. This wording change will make the regulatory and statutory language consistent and help clarify when the GPO is applicable. In addition, we propose to revise our regulations to reflect a separate 60-month requirement that was made applicable to Federal employees by a 1987 law.