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.
Consent Based Social Security Number Verification (CBSV) Service
We provide fee-based Social Security number (SSN) verification service 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 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 $1.10 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 2014 fee to $3.10 per SSN verification transaction. New customers will still be responsible for the one-time $5,000 enrollment fee.
Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Neurological Disorders; Reopening of the Comment Period
On February 25, 2014, we published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Neurological Disorders and solicited public comments. We provided a 60-day comment period ending on April 28, 2014. We are reopening the comment period for 30 days.
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). On Monday, May 12, 2014 at 1:00 p.m., EDT, we will conduct an informational teleconference on certain proposed changes to the medical criteria for evaluating neurological disorders in the Listing of Impairments (listings). The teleconference is open to the public and will be strictly informational. Date and Time: The teleconference will take place on Monday, May 12, 2014 at 1:00 p.m., EDT. Teleconference: To join us by teleconference, dial phone number 1- 800-930-7709 and use passcode number 112683.
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.