Social Security Acquiescence Ruling (AR) 16-1(7), Boley v. Colvin: Judicial Review of an Administrative Law Judge's Order Finding No Good Cause for a Late Hearing Request and Dismissing the Request as Untimely-Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act
We are publishing this Social Security AR to explain how we will apply a holding in a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that we have determined conflicts with our interpretation of the law regarding judicial review of an administrative law judge's (ALJ's) order finding no good cause for a late hearing request and dismissing the request as untimely.
Titles II and XVI: Fraud and Similar Fault Redeterminations Under Sections 205(U) and 1631(E)(7) of the Social Security Act
In accordance with 20 CFR 402.35(b)(1), the Commissioner of Social Security gives notice of SSR 16-1p. This Ruling provides guidance on how we redetermine entitlement to and eligibility for benefits when there is a reason to believe fraud or similar fault is involved with an individual's application for benefits.
Social Security Ruling, SSR 16-2p; Titles II and XVI: Evaluation of Claims Involving Similar Fault in the Providing of Evidence
In accordance with 20 CFR 402.35(b)(1), the Commissioner of Social Security gives notice of SSR 16-2p. This Ruling supersedes and replaces previously published SSR 00-2p. It provides the definition of fraud, and clarifies the definitions of knowingly and preponderance of the evidence. The Ruling also clarifies that we may find that any individual or entity has committed fraud or similar fault, and that we may disregard evidence submitted by any individual or entity that we find has committed fraud or similar fault. In addition, the Ruling provides examples of such individuals and entities.
Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Computer Matching Program (SSA/Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service))-Match Number 1304
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.
Revising the Ticket to Work Program Rules
We are soliciting public input on whether and how we might revise the current Ticket to Work program rules. The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 established the Ticket to Work program to allow individuals with disabilities to seek services to obtain and retain employment in order to reduce dependency on cash benefit programs. In creating the program, Congress found that eliminating barriers to work and providing individuals with real choice in obtaining services and technology to find, enter, and maintain employment can greatly improve the short and long-term financial independence and personal well-being of our beneficiaries. We want to explore improving our Ticket to Work program as part of our ongoing effort to help our beneficiaries find and maintain employment that leads to increased independence and enhanced productivity. If we propose specific revisions to our regulations, we will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register.
Returning Evidence at the Appeals Council Level
This final rule adopts the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that we published in the Federal Register on October 21, 2015. This final rule revises our rules regarding returning evidence at the Appeals Council (AC) level. Under this final rule, the AC will no longer return additional evidence it receives when the AC determines the additional evidence does not relate to the period on or before the date of the administrative law judge (ALJ) decision.
Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Computer Matching Program (SSA/Railroad Retirement Board (RRB))-Match Number 1006
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 RRB.
Rate for Assessment on Direct Payment of Fees to Representatives in 2016
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 2016.
Extension of the Workers' Compensation Offset From Age 65 to Full Retirement Age-Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act
We propose to amend our regulations to incorporate changes made by the ABLE Act to section 224(a) of the Social Security Act. The ABLE Act amends section 224(a) by changing the age at which disability insurance benefits (DIB) are no longer subject to reduction (offset) based on receipt of workers' compensation or public disability benefits (WC/PDB), from age 65 to the day the individual attains full retirement age. This change will make our rules consistent with the provisions of the Act, as amended by the ABLE Act.
Advance Notification Regarding Reporting by State ABLE Programs Under Section 529A of the Internal Revenue Code
This notice provides advance notification to State Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) programs of the general types of information we anticipate requiring that the State programs include in their monthly electronic reports of ABLE account balances and distributions. We are also requesting information from the public and State ABLE programs about these general types of information and whether these electronic reports should include any other information.
Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects
The Department of Health and Human Services and the other Federal Departments and Agencies listed in this document are extending the comment period on the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects notice of proposed rulemaking. The NPRM requests comment on proposed revisions to modernize, strengthen, and make more effective the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects that was promulgated as a Common Rule in 1991. The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on September 8, 2015.
Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Computer Matching Program (SSA/Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service (IRS))-Match Number 1016
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 IRS.
Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Computer Matching Program (SSA/Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE))-Match Number 1098
In accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act, as amended, this notice announces a new computer matching program that we are currently will conduct with OCSE.
Federal Awarding Agency Regulatory Implementation of Office of Management and Budget's Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards
This final rule adopts the joint interim final rule that was published in the Federal Register on December 19, 2014. This final rule implements the final guidance Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on December 26, 2013. This rule brings into effect the Uniform Guidance as required by OMB. Implementation of this guidance by all Federal award- making agencies will reduce administrative burden and risk of waste, fraud, and abuse for the approximately $600 billion per year awarded in Federal financial assistance government wide. The result will be more Federal dollars reprogrammed to support the mission, an increase in the number of new entities able to compete and win awards, and ultimately a stronger framework to provide key services to American citizens and support the basic research that underpins the United States economy.
Cost-of-Living Increase and Other Determinations for 2016
There will be no cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits effective December 2015. The national average wage index for 2014 is $46,481.52. The cost-of-living increase and national average wage index affect other program parameters as described below.
Vocational Factors of Age, Education, and Work Experience in the Adult Disability Determination Process; Extending of the Comment Period
On September 14, 2015, we published in the Federal Register an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding Vocational Factors of Age, Education, and Work Experience in the Adult Disability Determination Process and solicited public comments. We provided a 60- day comment period ending on November 13, 2015. We are extending the comment period to December 14, 2015. Our extension of the comment date accommodates and facilitates public comments we expect in response to the National Disability Forum we are sponsoring on Friday, November 20, 2015. During the forum, we are hosting a moderator-led discussion entitled: The Realities of Work for Individuals with Disabilities: Impact of Age, Education, and Work Experience (for information on the forum see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section).
Returning Evidence at the Appeals Council Level
We propose to amend our regulations by revising our rules regarding the return of evidence at the Appeals Council (AC) level. Our current rules state that the AC will return to the claimant additional evidence it receives when the AC finds the evidence does not relate to the period on or before the date of the administrative law judge's (ALJ) hearing decision. We are proposing these revisions to give the AC discretion in returning additional evidence that it receives when the AC determines the additional evidence does not relate to the period on or before the date of the ALJ decision.
Extension of the Expiration Date for State Disability Examiner Authority To Make Fully Favorable Quick Disability Determinations and Compassionate Allowance Determinations
We are extending the expiration date of our rule 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 rule will expire on November 13, 2015. In this final rule, we are changing the November 13, 2015 expiration or ``sunset'' date to November 11, 2016, extending the authority for 1 year. We are making no other substantive changes.
Collection of Administrative Debts
This final rule adopts the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that we published in the Federal Register on March 24, 2014. This final rule creates our own administrative debt collection regulations, and it improves 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. We expect that this final rule will have no impact on the public.
Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Computer Matching Program (SSA/Office of Personnel Management (OPM))-Match Numbers 1005, 1019, 1020, and 1021
In accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act, as amended, this notice announces a renewal of existing computer matching programs that we are currently conducting with OPM.
Consent Based Social Security Number Verification (CBSV) Service
We provide fee-based Social Security number (SSN) verification services to enrolled private businesses and government agencies who obtain a valid, signed consent form from the Social Security number holder. We originally published a notice announcing the CBSV service in the Federal Register on August 10, 2007. Based on the signed consent forms, we verify the number holders' SSNs for the requesting party. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a(b)), section 1106 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1306) and our regulation at 20 CFR 401.100, establish the legal authority for us to provide SSN verifications to third party requesters based on consent. The CBSV process provides the business community and other government entities with consent-based SSN verifications in high volume. We developed CBSV as a user-friendly, internet-based application with safeguards that will protect the public's information. In addition to the benefit of providing high volume, centralized SSN verification services to the business community 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 $3.10 per SSN verification transaction in advance of services. We agreed to calculate our costs periodically for providing CBSV services and adjust the fees as needed. We also agreed to notify our customers who currently use the service and allow them to cancel or continue using the service at the new transaction fee. Based on the most recent cost analysis, we will adjust the fiscal year 2016 fee to $1.40 per SSN verification transaction. New customers will still be responsible for the one-time $5,000 enrollment fee.
Social Security Acquiescence Ruling (AR) 15-1(4), Radford v. Colvin: Standard for Meeting the Listing for Disorders of the Spine With Evidence of Nerve Root Compression
This Social Security AR explains how we will apply a holding in a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that we determined conflicts with our interpretation of the section in the Listing of Impairments (the Listings) that addresses disorders of the spine with evidence of nerve root compression.
Vocational Factors of Age, Education, and Work Experience in the Adult Disability Determination Process
We are soliciting public input about how we should consider the vocational factors of age, education, and work experience in adult disability claims under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). There have been significant changes in technology use and workforce demographics since we first adopted our vocational factor regulations in 1978. We are requesting public comments, along with any supporting data, to assist in our efforts to streamline, simplify, and ensure the ongoing relevance of our disability determination programs.
Extension of Effective Date for Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge
We are extending for one year our pilot program that authorizes the agency to set the time and place for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Extending of the pilot program continues our commitment to improve the efficiency of our hearing process and to maintain a hearing process that results in accurate, high-quality decisions for claimants. The current pilot program will expire on August 10, 2015. In this final rule, we are extending the effective date to August 12, 2016. We are making no other substantive changes.
Sixty-Month Period of Employment Requirement for Government Pension Offset Exemption
This final rule adopts, with clarifying changes, the proposed rule we previously published in the Federal Register on August 3, 2007. This final rule revises our Government Pension Offset (GPO) regulations to reflect changes to the Social Security Act (``Act'') made by section 9007 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA 1987) and section 418 of the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA). These regulations explain how and when we will reduce the Social Security spouse's benefit for some people who receive Federal, State, or local government pensions if Social Security did not cover their government work.
Extension of Sunset Date for Attorney Advisor Program
We are extending for 2 years our rule authorizing attorney advisors to conduct certain prehearing procedures and to issue fully favorable decisions. The current rule will expire on August 7, 2015. In this final rule, we are extending the sunset date to August 4, 2017. We are making no other substantive changes.