Elimination of the Social Security Administration's Letter Forwarding Service
Letter Forwarding is a service we provided to the public since 1945. It is not a program related activity under the Social Security Act (Act). Therefore, we will stop the letter forwarding service.
Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Computer Matching Program (SSA/Law Enforcement Agency (Source Jurisdiction))-Match Number 5001
In accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act, as amended, this notice announces a renewal of an existing computer matching program that we are currently conducting with the Source Jurisdiction.
Social Security Ruling, SSR 14-1p; Titles II and XVI: Evaluating Claims Involving Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
We are providing notice of SSR 14-1p. This SSR provides guidance on how we develop evidence to establish that a person has a medically determinable impairment of chronic fatigue syndrome and how we evaluate chronic fatigue syndrome in disability claims and continuing disability reviews under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act.
Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection and for Evaluating Functional Limitations in Immune System Disorders; Correction and Extension of Comment Period
This document corrects and extends the deadline for submitting comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, February 26, 2014, regarding Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection and for Evaluating Functional Limitations in Immune System Disorders.
Collection of Administrative Debts
We propose to create our own administrative debt collection regulations. Currently, we collect these debts under the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services regulations from 1995. However, under the regulations issued by the Department of Justice and Department of the Treasury (Treasury), to perform certain debt collection activities, agencies must publish their own regulations. Therefore, we propose this regulation to improve our authorities to pursue collection of administrative debts from current and separated employees and non-employee debtors as authorized by the Debt Collection Act (DCA) of 1982, amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) of 1996 and other existing debt collection statutes.
Medicare Determinations and Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts to Medicare Part B Premiums; Conforming Changes to Regulations
This final rule adopts, without change, the interim final rule with request for comments we published in the Federal Register on September 18, 2013. The interim final rule modified our rules regarding Medicare Part B income-related monthly adjustment amounts to conform to changes made to the Social Security Act (Act) and Internal Revenue Code by the Affordable Care Act. We also removed provisions that phased in income-related monthly adjustment amounts between 2007 and 2009 and updated a citation to reflect the transfer of authority for hearing appeals under title XVIII of the Act from the Social Security Administration to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection and for Evaluating Functional Limitations in Immune System Disorders
We propose to revise the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). We also propose to revise the introductory text of the listings that we use to evaluate functional limitations resulting from immune system disorders. The proposed revisions reflect our program experience, advances in medical knowledge, recommendations from a commissioned report and comments from medical experts and the public.
Extension of Expiration Dates for Several Body System Listings
We are extending the expiration dates of the following body systems in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations: Growth Impairment, Musculoskeletal System, Respiratory System, Cardiovascular System, Digestive System, Skin Disorders, and Neurological. We are making no other revisions to these body systems in this final rule. This extension will ensure that we continue to have the criteria we need to evaluate impairments in the affected body systems at step three of the sequential evaluation processes for initial claims and continuing disability reviews.
Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Neurological Disorders
We propose to revise the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate disability claims involving neurological disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The proposed revisions reflect our program experience; advances in medical knowledge, treatment, and methods of evaluating neurological disorders; comments we received from medical experts and the public at an outreach policy conference; and responses to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM).
Submission of Evidence in Disability Claims
We propose to clarify our regulations to require you to inform us about or submit all evidence known to you that relates to your disability claim, subject to two exceptions for certain privileged communications. This requirement would include the duty to submit all evidence obtained from any source in its entirety, unless subject to one of these exceptions. We also propose to require your representative to help you obtain the information or evidence that we would require you to submit under our regulations. These modifications to our regulations would better describe your duty to submit all evidence that relates to your disability claim and enable us to have a more complete case record on which to make more accurate disability determinations and decisions.
Privacy Act of 1974, As Amended: Proposed New Routine Use
Pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974, we are issuing public notice of our intent to add a new routine use to an existing system of records entitled: Master Files of Social Security Number (SSN) Holders and SSN Applications, (60-0058) (the Enumeration System). This system was last published in the Federal Register, 75 FR 82121 (Dec. 29, 2010); a revision to the routine uses was published, 78 FR 40,542 (July 5, 2013). The new routine use will enable us to verify information that the Corporation for National and Community Services (CNCS) requires in order to administer the National and Community Service Act (NCSA), 42 U.S.C. 12602. Specifically, CNSC will use the information we provide to verify statements made by an individual declaring that such individual is in compliance with section 146 of the NCSA. The new routine use is described below. We will rely on this routine use to disclose only those data elements from our system of records that CNCS has demonstrated are necessary for the administration of the NCSA.
Public Availability of Social Security Administration Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Service Contract Inventory
In accordance with Section 743 of Division C of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117), we are publishing this notice to advise the public of the availability of the FY 2013 Service Contract inventory. This inventory provides information on FY 2013 service contract actions over $25,000. We organized the information by function to show how we distribute contracted resources throughout the agency. We developed the inventory in accordance with guidance issued on November 5, 2010 by the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP). OFPP's guidance is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/ procurement/memo/service-contract-inventories-guidance-110520 10.pdf. You can access the inventory and summary of the inventory on our homepage at the following link: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/sci.
Notice Announcing Addresses for Service of Process
Our Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is responsible for processing and handling summonses and complaints in lawsuits involving judicial review of our final decisions on individual claims for benefits under titles II, VIII, and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). This notice sets out the names and current addresses of those offices and the jurisdictions for which each office has responsibility.
Rate for Assessment on Direct Payment of Fees to Representatives in 2014
We are announcing that the assessment percentage rate under sections 206(d) and 1631(d)(2)(C) of the Social Security Act (Act), 42 U.S.C. 406(d) and 1383(d)(2)(C), is 6.3 percent for 2014.
Open Government: Use of Genetic Information in Documenting and Evaluating Disability; Extension of Comment Period
On November 26, 2013, we announced in the Federal Register that we were soliciting ideas and comments about the use of genetic information in the disability determination process via an online forum. We stated that the forum would be open until December 26, 2013. We are extending that deadline until January 16, 2014.
Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)
We propose to revise the criteria in parts A and B of the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate cases involving cancer (malignant neoplastic diseases) in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). These proposed revisions reflect our adjudicative experience, advances in medical knowledge, and recommendations from medical experts we consulted, as well as public comments we received on methods of evaluating cancer.
Extension of Expiration Date for Mental Disorders Body System Listings; Correction
In the Federal Register of December 3, 2013, we published a final rule document extending the expiration date of the Mental Disorders body system in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations. We inadvertently stated the RIN incorrectly as 0960-AH49. This document corrects the RIN to 0960-AH62.
Extension of Expiration Date for Mental Disorders Body System Listings
We are extending the expiration date of the Mental Disorders body system in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations. We are making no other revisions to this body system in this final rule. This extension will ensure that we continue to have the criteria we need to evaluate mental disorders at step three of the sequential evaluation processes for initial claims and continuing disability reviews.
Open Government: Use of Genetic Information in Documenting and Evaluating Disability
We will host an online open government comment forum about the use of genetic information in the disability determination process. The forum is open to all members of the public during the dates listed below.
Electronic Interim Assistance Reimbursement Program
We reimburse States that provide interim assistance to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants under our interim assistance reimbursement (IAR) program. We provide this reimbursement from the SSI recipient's initial retroactive SSI payment. On November 20, 2010, we began using an electronic Interim Assistance Reimbursement system (eIAR) to streamline the way we process reimbursements to the States. The eIAR process replaced our prior paper-based process with an electronic one, and greatly reduced our and the State's involvement in manually processing IAR cases. This electronic system did not change the amount of payments we make to States and SSI recipients. We propose to revise our rules about how we administer the IAR process to reflect the electronic process. We also made minor language changes and reorganized the sections for clarity.
Agency Proposed Business Process Vision Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
On November 5, 2010, we published a Federal Register notice requesting comments regarding our self-evaluation under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. We requested the public's ideas and suggestions on how we could best perform the self-evaluation. We received a limited number of comments from advocacy groups and individuals. On August 2, 2011, we published a second Federal Register notice announcing the two public forums we held in Falls Church, Virginia, where the public could provide us with comments in person or via telephone. The notice also requested written comments from those who preferred to communicate with us in writing. On October 24, 2011, we published a third Federal Register notice to extend the deadline to provide written comments. This Federal Register notice announces the modifications we propose to make to our business process based on our self-evaluation. A description of our business process vision under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is now available at www.socialsecurity.gov/ accessibility/section504. Our business process vision outlines the actions we are currently taking to implement many of the self- evaluation key findings and recommendations. Specifically, we are developing additional policies in this area to provide clear guidance to all SSA components. We developed and are continuing to develop electronic systems to capture information about the accommodations people tell us they need, and we trained and continue to train our employees about Section 504 and its requirements. Finally, we established a new organization, the Center for Section 504 Compliance, to oversee all of these efforts and manage the business process.
Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Computer Matching Program (SSA/Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS))-Match Number 1076
In accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act, as amended, this notice announces a renewal of an existing computer matching program that we conduct with CMS.
Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Computer Matching Program (SSA/Bureau of the Fiscal Service, Department of the Treasury (Fiscal Service))-Match Number 1038
In accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act, as amended, this notice announces a renewal of an existing computer matching program that we are currently conducting with Fiscal Service.
Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Hematological Disorders
We propose to revise the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate cases involving hematological disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The proposed revisions reflect advances in medical knowledge, our adjudicative experience, and information we received from medical experts and the public.
Cost-of-Living Increases and Other Determinations for 2014; Correction
The Social Security Administration published a document in the Federal Register of November 5, 2013, concerning the cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits effective December 2013. The document contains an incorrect number for the special minimum primary insurance amount (PIA) for 16 years of coverage.
Charging Standard Administrative Fees for Nonprogram-Related Information; Correction
The Social Security Administration published a document in the Federal Register of September 18, 2013, concerning a new fee for providing detailed and certified yearly Social Security earnings information for nonprogram-related purposes. The document contained unclear fee information and incorrect date for implementation.
Extension of the Expiration Date for State Disability Examiner Authority To Make Fully Favorable Quick Disability Determinations and Compassionate Allowances
We are extending the expiration date of our rules that authorizes State agency disability examiners to make fully favorable determinations without the approval of a State agency medical or psychological consultant in claims that we consider under our quick disability determination (QDD) and compassionate allowance (CAL) processes. The current rules will expire on November 12, 2013. In this final rule, we are changing the November 12, 2013 expiration or ``sunset'' date to November 14, 2014, extending the authority for 1 year. We are making no other substantive changes, although we are making minor, nonsubstantive editorial changes to the rule for clarity.
Cost-of-Living Increase and Other Determinations for 2014
Under title II of the Social Security Act (Act), there will be a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits effective December 2013. As a result of this increase, the following items will increase for 2014: (1) The maximum Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) monthly benefit amounts for 2014 under title XVI of the Act will be $721 for an eligible individual, $1,082 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $361 for an essential person; (2) The special benefit amount under title VIII of the Act for certain World War II veterans will be $540.75 for 2014; (3) The student earned income exclusion under title XVI of the Act will be $1,750 per month in 2014, but not more than $7,060 for all of 2014; (4) The dollar fee limit for services performed as a representative payee will be $40 per month ($77 per month in the case of a beneficiary who is disabled and has an alcoholism or drug addiction condition that leaves him or her incapable of managing benefits) in 2014; and (5) The dollar limit on the administrative-cost fee assessment charged to an appointed representative such as an attorney, agent, or other person who represents claimants will be $89 beginning in December 2013. The national average wage index for 2012 is $44,321.67. This index affects the following amounts: (1) The Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) contribution and benefit base will be $117,000 for remuneration paid in 2014 and self-employment income earned in taxable years beginning in 2014; (2) The monthly exempt amounts under the OASDI retirement earnings test for taxable years ending in calendar year 2014 will be $1,290 for beneficiaries who will attain their Normal Retirement Age (NRA) (defined below) after 2014 and $3,450 for those who attain NRA in 2014; (3) The dollar amounts (``bend points'') used in the primary insurance amount (PIA) benefit formula for workers who become eligible for benefits, or who die before becoming eligible, in 2014 will be $816 and $4,917; (4) The bend points used in the formula for computing maximum family benefits for workers who become eligible for benefits, or who die before becoming eligible, in 2014 will be $1,042, $1,505, and $1,962; (5) The amount of taxable earnings a person must have to be credited with a quarter of coverage in 2014 will be $1,200; (6) The ``old-law'' contribution and benefit base under title II of the Act will be $87,000 for 2014; (7) The monthly amount deemed to constitute substantial gainful activity (SGA) for statutorily blind individuals in 2014 will be $1,800, and the corresponding amount for non-blind disabled persons will be $1,070; (8) The earnings threshold establishing a month as a part of a trial work period will be $770 for 2014; and (9) Coverage thresholds for 2014 will be $1,900 for domestic workers and $1,600 for election officials and election workers.
Charging Standard Administrative Fees for Nonprogram-Related Information
On August 22, 2012,\1\ we announced in the Federal Register a schedule of standardized administrative fees we charge to recover the full cost of providing information and related services we provide to the public for nonprogram purposes. We are announcing the addition of a new standard fee to the previously published schedule of standardized administrative fees.
Medicare Determinations and Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts to Medicare Part B Premiums; Conforming Changes to Regulations
We are modifying our regulations regarding Medicare Part B income-related monthly adjustment amounts (IRMAA) in order to conform to changes made to the Social Security Act (Act) by the Affordable Care Act. This rule freezes the modified adjusted gross income threshold and ranges from 2011 through 2019 and removes the requirement that beneficiaries consent to our release of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the purpose of adjudicating any appeal of an IRMAA to the Part B premium subsidy. We are also removing provisions that phased in IRMAA between 2007 and 2009 and updating a citation to reflect the transfer of authority for hearing appeals under Title XVIII of the Act from the Social Security Administration to HHS.
Consent Based Social Security Number Verification (CBSV) Service
We provide fee-based Social Security number (SSN) verification services to enrolled private businesses, State and local government agencies who obtain a valid, signed consent form from the SSN holder. We originally published a notice announcing the CBSV service in the Federal Register on August 10, 2007. Based on the signed consent form, we verify the number holders' SSNs for the requesting party. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 United States Code (U.S.C.) 552a(b)), section 1106 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1306) and our regulation at 20 Code of Federal Regulation 401.100, establish the legal authority for us to provide SSN verifications to third party requesters based on consent. The CBSV process provides users with a consent-based SSN verification service in high volume. We developed CBSV as a user- friendly, internet-based application with safeguards that protect the public's information. In addition to the benefit of providing high volume, centralized SSN verification services to users in a secure manner, CBSV provides us with cost and workload management benefits. New Information: To use CBSV, interested parties must pay a one- time non-refundable enrollment fee of $5,000. Currently, users also pay a fee of $1.05 per SSN verification transaction in advance of services. We agreed to periodically calculate our costs for providing CBSV services and adjust the fees as necessary. We also agreed to notify current CBSV users of any cost adjustment to allow them to cancel or continue using the service at the new SSN verification transaction fee. Based on our most recent cost analysis, we will adjust the fiscal year 2014 fee to $1.10 per SSN verification transaction. New users must still pay the one-time $5,000 enrollment fee.