Electronic Substitutions for SSA-538
This final rule adopts, without change, the final rule with request for comments we published in the Federal Register (76 FR 41685) on July 15, 2011. We are revising our regulations to reflect our use of electronic case processing at the initial and reconsideration levels of our administrative review process. We are not changing the requirement that State agency medical and psychological consultants must affirm the accuracy and completeness of their findings of fact and discussion of the supporting evidence, only the manner in which they may provide the required findings and affirmation. This revision will improve our efficiency by increasing our use of electronic resources.
Changes to Scheduling and Appearing at Hearings
These final rules explain how a claimant may object to appearing at a hearing via video teleconferencing, or to the time and place of a hearing. These final rules adopt, with further clarification regarding our good cause exception, the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that we published in the Federal Register on June 27, 2013. We expect that these final rules will have a minimal impact on the public, help ensure the integrity of our programs, and allow us to administer our programs more efficiently.
Agreement on Social Security Between the United States and the Slovak Republic; Entry Into Force
We are giving notice that an agreement coordinating the United States (U.S.) and the Slovak social security programs entered into force on May 1, 2014. The agreement with the Slovak Republic, which was signed on December 10, 2012, is similar to U.S. social security agreements already in force with 24 other countriesAustralia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Section 233 of the Social Security Act authorizes agreements of this type. 42 U.S.C. 433.
Privacy Act of 1974; Proposed New System of Records
In accordance with the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) we are issuing public notice of our intent to establish a new system of records entitled, Requests for Accommodation from Members of the Public (60-0378), hereinafter referred to as the RAMP system. We are establishing the RAMP system to cover information we receive from members of the public with disabilities who request accommodations in order to gain meaningful access to our programs. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794) provides that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability will, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency. Section 504 protects ``qualified individuals with disabilities,'' as defined in 45 CFR part 85, as ``persons with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.'' Agencies are required to take appropriate steps to ensure that qualified individuals with a disability are not denied access to the programs and activities the agency conducts because of their disabilities. To ensure compliance with Section 504, the agency may need to provide auxiliary aids or services or modifications to the way it conducts its programs. We will provide accommodations based on five broad categories of impairments: Blind or visual; cognitive or learning; deaf or hard of hearing; mobility or physical; and psychological or emotional. However, individuals who have other types of disabilities may also request an accommodation. We will use the information we collect to provide accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities, to provide management information to the agency, and for research and statistical purposes.
Technical Corrections to Regulations
We are making technical corrections to several of our regulations. In some cases, we are correcting outdated cross-references in light of revisions we made to other rules. We are also revising the maximum dollar amount of overpayments subject to compromise based on other changes in the law, and we are adjusting the formula we use to calculate the maximum benefits payable in the first and second installment payments of large past-due benefits for the same reason. In addition, we are updating references to the coverage status of affected non-temporary employees of the government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. These changes do not alter the substance of the regulations or effect the rights of claimants or any other parties. We expect that the changes will make our rules more internally consistent and make them easier to use.
Obtaining Evidence Beyond the Current “Special Arrangement Sources”
We are amending our regulations to state that we will obtain evidence from any appropriate source. Our current regulations provide that we will obtain information from ``special arrangement sources'' for those infrequent situations when we are in a better position than our State agency partners to obtain evidence. Due to improved evidence collection through our increased use of health information technology (health IT), we are obtaining evidence electronically with increasing frequency. We expect that, over time, the electronic exchange of medical records will become our primary means for obtaining medical evidence. As we increase our use of health IT, the designation of ``special arrangement sources'' will no longer adequately describe from whom we collect evidence.
Social Security Ruling, SSR 14-3p; Titles II and XVI: Evaluating Endocrine Disorders Other Than Diabetes Mellitus
We are giving notice of SSR 14-3p. This SSR provides information about specific endocrine disorders other than diabetes mellitus (DM), and explains the types of impairments and limitations that result from those disorders. It also provides guidance on how we evaluate endocrine disorders in disability claims under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act.
Social Security Ruling, SSR 14-2p; Titles II and XVI: Evaluating Diabetes Mellitus
We are giving notice of SSR 14-2p. This SSR provides information about the types of impairments and limitations that result from diabetes mellitus (DM). It also provides guidance on how we evaluate DM in disability claims under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act.