Charging Standard Administrative Fees for Non-Program Information Requests for Detailed Social Security Earnings
On November 8, 2013,\1\ we announced in the Federal Register a new administrative fee we charge to the public for detailed yearly Social Security earnings information. We charge administrative fees to recover our full costs when we provide information and related services for non-program purposes. We are announcing an update to the previously published fee ($136) for detailed yearly Social Security earnings information.\2\
Charging Standard Administrative Fees for Non-Program Information
On August 22, 2012,\1\ we announced in the Federal Register a schedule of standardized administrative fees we charge to the public. We charge these fees to recover our full costs when we provide information and related services for non-program purposes. We are announcing an update to the previously published schedule of standardized administrative fees.\2\
Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders
We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving mental disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The revisions reflect our program experience, advances in medical knowledge, recommendations from a commissioned report, and public comments we received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
Evidence From Excluded Medical Sources of Evidence
In accordance with section 812 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA section 812), these rules explain how we will address evidence furnished by medical sources that meet one of BBA section 812's exclusionary categories (excluded medical sources of evidence) as described below. Under these new rules, we will not consider evidence furnished by an excluded medical source of evidence unless we find good cause to do so. We identify five circumstances in which we may find good cause. In these rules, we also require excluded medical sources of evidence to notify us of their excluded status under section 223(d)(5)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act (Act), as amended, in writing each time they furnish evidence to us that relates to a claim for initial or continuing benefits under titles II or XVI of the Act. These rules will allow us to fulfill obligations that we have under BBA section 812.
Request for Information on Strategies for Improving Work Outcomes for Individuals With Musculoskeletal Disabilities
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 amended section 234 of the Social Security Act, which authorizes us to plan and implement new demonstration projects that waive certain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program requirements in order to evaluate strategies for improving work outcomes for SSDI beneficiaries and applicants. This request for information (RFI) seeks public input on possible demonstration projects designed to improve employment and earnings outcomes for individuals with musculoskeletal impairments. The input we receive will inform our deliberations about the possible design of a future demonstration project using the section 234 authority.
Revisions to Rules Regarding the Evaluation of Medical Evidence
We are proposing several revisions to our medical evidence rules. The proposals include redefining several key terms related to evidence, revising our list of acceptable medical sources (AMS), revising how we consider and articulate our consideration of medical opinions and prior administrative medical findings, revising who can be a medical consultant (MC) and psychological consultant (PC), revising our rules about treating sources, and reorganizing our evidence regulations for ease of use. These proposed revisions would conform our rules with the requirements of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA), reflect changes in the national healthcare workforce and in the manner that individuals receive primary medical care, simplify and reorganize our rules to make them easier to understand and apply, allow us to continue to make accurate and consistent decisions, and emphasize the need for objective medical evidence in disability and blindness claims.
Agreement on Social Security Between the United States and Hungary; Entry into Force
We are giving notice that an agreement coordinating the United States (U.S.) and Hungarian social security programs will enter into force on September 1, 2016. The agreement with Hungary, which was signed on February 3, 2015, is similar to U.S. social security agreements already in force with 25 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, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Section 233 of the Social Security Act authorizes agreements of this type. Like the other agreements, the U.S.-Hungarian agreement eliminates dual social security coverage. This situation exists when a worker from one country works in the other country and has coverage under the social security systems of both countries for the same work. When dual coverage occurs, the worker, the worker's employer, or both may be required to pay social security contributions to the two countries simultaneously without such agreements in force. Under the U.S.- Hungarian agreement, a worker who is sent by an employer in one country to work in the other country for five or fewer years remains covered only by the sending country. The agreement includes additional rules that eliminate dual U.S. and Hungarian coverage in other work situations. The agreement also helps eliminate situations where workers suffer a loss of benefit rights because they have divided their careers between the two countries. Under the agreement, workers may qualify for partial U.S. benefits or partial Hungarian benefits based on combined (totalized) work credits from both countries. Persons who wish to obtain copies of the agreement or want more information about its provisions may write to the Social Security Administration, Office of International Programs, Post Office Box 17741, Baltimore, MD 21235-7741 or visit the Social Security Web site at www.socialsecurity.gov/international.