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TitlePublishedFR Doc.Description
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Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Date for Endocrine Disorders Body System Listings2018-May-222018-10867We are extending the expiration date of Endocrine Disorders body system in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations. We are making no other revisions to the body system in this final rule. This extension ensures that we will continue to have the criteria we need to evaluate impairments in the affected body system at step three of the sequential evaluation processes for initial claims and continuing disability reviews.
Social Security Administration -- Removal of Special Payments at Age 722018-May-102018-09910We are removing from the Code of Federal Regulations our ``Special Payments at Age 72'' rules because they are obsolete. We are removing these rules in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order (E.O.) 13777.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Musculoskeletal Disorders2018-May-072018-08889We propose to revise the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving musculoskeletal disorders 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 treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, and recommendations from medical experts.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Dates for Two Body System Listings2018-Apr-022018-06671We are extending the expiration dates of the following body systems in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations: Special Senses and Speech and Congenital Disorders That Affect Multiple Body Systems. We are making no other revisions to these body systems in this final rule. This extension ensures that we will 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.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Sunset Date for Attorney Advisor Program2018-Jan-082018-00058We are extending for six months our rule authorizing attorney advisors to conduct certain prehearing proceedings and to issue fully favorable decisions. The current rule is scheduled to expire on February 5, 2018. In this final rule, we are extending the sunset date to August 3, 2018. We are making no other substantive changes.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Dates for Four Body System Listings2017-Dec-152017-27086We are extending the expiration dates of the following body systems in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations: Musculoskeletal System, Cardiovascular System, Digestive System, and Skin Disorders. We are making no other revisions to these body systems in this final rule. This extension ensures that we will 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.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Neurological Disorders; Correction2017-Aug-222017-17724We published final rules in the Federal Register on July 1, 2016, that revised the Listing of Impairments (Listings) for the neurological body system. That document inadvertently omitted a reference. This document amends and corrects the final rule.
Education Department -- Open Licensing Requirement for Competitive Grant Programs2017-Mar-212017-05723In accordance with a directive from the memorandum entitled ``Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,'' published in the Federal Register on January 24, 2017 (Memorandum), the Secretary further delays until May 22, 2017, the effective date of the final regulations entitled Open Licensing Requirement for Competitive Grant Programs (Open Licensing), published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017 (82 FR 7376). The current effective date is March 21, 2017. The additional delay will allow the Department the opportunity for further review of the final regulations.
Education Department -- Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act-Accountability and State Plans; Open Licensing Requirement for Competitive Grant Programs; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act2017-Jan-302017-02056In accordance with the memorandum of January 20, 2017, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled ``Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,'' published in the Federal Register on January 24, 2017, the Department delays the effective dates of the following regulations until March 21, 2017: Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act-- Accountability and State Plans (ESSA Accountability and State Plans), RIN 1810-AB27; Open Licensing Requirement for Competitive Grant Programs (Open Licensing), RIN 1894-AA07; and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Education Department -- Open Licensing Requirement for Competitive Grant Programs2017-Jan-192017-00910The Secretary amends the regulations of the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in order to require, subject to certain categorical exceptions and case-by-case exceptions, that Department grantees awarded competitive grant funds openly license to the public copyrightable grant deliverables created with Department grant funds.
Social Security Administration -- Revisions to Rules Regarding the Evaluation of Medical Evidence2017-Jan-182017-00455We are revising our medical evidence rules. The revisions include redefining several key terms related to evidence, revising our rules about acceptable medical sources (AMS), revising how we consider and articulate our consideration of medical opinions and prior administrative medical findings, revising our rules about medical consultants (MC) and psychological consultants (PC), revising our rules about treating sources, and reorganizing our evidence regulations for ease of use. These revisions conform our rules to the requirements of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA), reflect changes in the national healthcare workforce and in the manner that individuals receive medical care, and emphasize the need for objective medical evidence in disability and blindness claims. We expect that these changes will simplify our rules to make them easier to understand and apply, and allow us to continue to make accurate and consistent disability determinations and decisions.
Social Security Administration -- Ensuring Program Uniformity at the Hearing and Appeals Council Levels of the Administrative Review Process2016-Dec-162016-30103We are revising our rules so that more of our procedures at the hearing and Appeals Council levels of our administrative review process are consistent nationwide. We anticipate that these nationally consistent procedures will enable us to administer our disability programs more efficiently and better serve the public.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection and for Evaluating Functional Limitations in Immune System Disorders2016-Dec-022016-28843We are revising 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 are revising the introductory text of the listings that we use to evaluate functional limitations resulting from immune system disorders. The revisions reflect our program experience, advances in medical knowledge, our adjudicative experience, recommendations from a commissioned report, and comments from medical experts and the public.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of the Expiration Date for State Disability Examiner Authority To Make Fully Favorable Quick Disability Determinations and Compassionate Allowance Determinations2016-Oct-242016-25565We are extending, until December 28, 2018, the expiration date of our disability examiner authority (DEA) rule, which 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. This is our last extension of this rule because we will phase out the use of DEA during the extension period under section 832 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA). This extension provides us the time necessary to take all of the administrative actions we need to take in order to reinstate uniform use of medical and psychological consultants. The current rule will expire on November 11, 2016. In this final rule, we are changing the November 11, 2016 expiration or ``sunset'' date to December 28, 2018, extending the authority for 2 years and 1 month. This is the final extension of our DEA rule. On December 28, 2018, at the conclusion of this extension, the authority for this test will terminate. We are making no other changes.
Social Security Administration -- Unsuccessful Work Attempts and Expedited Reinstatement Eligibility2016-Oct-172016-24873These rules finalize the rules we proposed in our notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), published on May 11, 2016. In these rules, we remove some of the requirements for evaluation of an unsuccessful work attempt (UWA) that lasts between 3 and 6 months, allow previously entitled beneficiaries to apply for expedited reinstatement (EXR) in the same month they stop performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), and provide that provisional benefits will begin the month after the request for EXR if the beneficiary stops performing SGA in the month of the EXR request. These changes will simplify our policies and make them easier for the public to understand.
Transportation Department -- General Technical, Organizational, Conforming, and Correcting Amendments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations2016-Oct-042016-22996FMCSA amends its regulations by making technical corrections throughout. The Agency is making minor changes to correct errors and omissions, ensure conformity with Office of the Federal Register style guidelines, update cross references, and improve clarity and consistency of certain regulatory provisions. Further, this set of amendments removes all remaining instances of the term ``common carrier'' and ``contract carrier'' as required by the ICC Termination Act (ICCTA) and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). This rule does not make any substantive changes to the affected regulations, except to remove obsolete provisions.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders2016-Sep-262016-22908We 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).
Social Security Administration -- Evidence From Excluded Medical Sources of Evidence2016-Sep-232016-22909In 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.
Social Security Administration -- Revisions to Rules Regarding the Evaluation of Medical Evidence2016-Sep-092016-21358We 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.
Education Department -- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Miscellaneous Program Changes2016-Aug-192016-16046The Secretary amends the regulations governing a number of programs administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to implement changes to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Act) made by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, signed on July 22, 2014. The Secretary also implements changes to the Act made by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, signed on August 7, 1998, that have not previously been implemented in regulations, and otherwise updates, clarifies, and improves RSA's current regulations.
Social Security Administration -- Revisions to Rules of Conduct and Standards of Responsibility for Appointed Representatives2016-Aug-162016-19384We propose to revise our rules of conduct and standards of responsibility for representatives. We also propose to update and clarify procedures we use when we bring charges against a representative for violating our rules of conduct and standards of responsibilities for representatives. These changes are necessary to better protect the integrity of our administrative process and further clarify representatives' currently existing responsibilities in their conduct with us. The changes to our rules are not meant to suggest that any specific conduct is permissible under our existing rules; instead, we seek to ensure that our rules of conduct and standards of responsibility are clearer as a whole and directly address a broader range of inappropriate conduct.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Dates for Four Body System Listings2016-Aug-032016-18051We are extending the expiration dates of the following body systems in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations: Musculoskeletal System, Cardiovascular System, Digestive System, and Skin Disorders. We are making no other revisions to these body systems in this final rule. This extension ensures that we will 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.
Social Security Administration -- Ensuring Program Uniformity at the Hearing and Appeals Council Levels of the Administrative Review Process2016-Jul-122016-16265We propose to revise our rules so that more of our procedures at the administrative law judge (ALJ) and Appeals Council levels of our administrative review process are consistent nationwide. We anticipate that these nationally consistent procedures will enable us to administer our disability programs more efficiently and better serve the public.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Neurological Disorders2016-Jul-012016-15306We are revising 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). These 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; responses to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM); and public comments we received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and a Federal Register notice that reopened the NPRM comment period.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Effective Date for Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge2016-Jun-242016-14974We 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 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 12, 2016. In this final rule, we are extending the effective date to August 11, 2017. We are making no other changes.
Social Security Administration -- Evidence From Statutorily Excluded Medical Sources2016-Jun-102016-13744In accordance with section 812 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA section 812), we propose to revise our rules to explain how we would address evidence furnished by medical sources that meet one of BBA section 812's exclusionary categories (statutorily excluded medical sources). Under this proposed rule, we would not consider evidence furnished by a statutorily excluded medical source unless we find good cause to do so. We propose several circumstances in which we would find good cause, and we also propose to require statutorily excluded medical sources to notify us of their excluded status when they furnish evidence to us. These rules would allow us to fulfill obligations that we have under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA).
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Respiratory System Disorders2016-Jun-092016-13275We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving respiratory disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The revisions reflect our program experience and advances in medical knowledge since we last comprehensively revised this body system in 1993, as well as comments we received from medical experts and the public.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Dates for Two Body System Listings2016-May-242016-12182We are extending the expiration dates of the following body systems in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations: Endocrine Disorders and Immune System Disorders. We are making no other revisions to these body systems in this final rule. This extension ensures that we will 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.
Social Security Administration -- Unsuccessful Work Attempts and Expedited Reinstatement Eligibility2016-May-112016-10932We propose to remove some of the requirements for evaluation of an unsuccessful work attempt (UWA) that lasts between 3 and 6 months. We also propose to allow previously entitled beneficiaries to apply for expedited reinstatement (EXR) in the same month they stop performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). Provisional benefits will begin the month after the request for EXR if the beneficiary stops performing SGA in the month of the EXR request. These changes would simplify our policies and make them easier for the public to understand.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of the Workers' Compensation Offset From Age 65 to Full Retirement Age-Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act2016-Apr-042016-07602This final rule adopts, with one additional change, the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that we published in the Federal Register on January 4, 2016. This final rule revises our rules by incorporating changes made by the ABLE Act to section 224(a) of the Social Security Act (Act). Under this final rule, 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) changes from age 65 to the day the individual attains full retirement age.
Education Department -- Federal Agency Final Regulations Implementing Executive Order 13559: Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships With Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations2016-Apr-042016-07339The Agencies publishing this final rule amend or establish their regulations to implement Executive Order 13279, as amended by Executive Order 13559. Executive Order 13279 established fundamental principles to guide the policies of Federal agencies regarding the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in programs that the Federal agencies administer. Executive Order 13559 amended Executive Order 13279 to clarify those principles and add certain protections for beneficiaries of Federal social service programs.
Social Security Administration -- Revising the Ticket to Work Program Rules2016-Feb-102016-02657We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Returning Evidence at the Appeals Council Level2016-Feb-052016-02267This 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.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of the Workers' Compensation Offset From Age 65 to Full Retirement Age-Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act2016-Jan-042015-33036We 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.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission -- Miscellaneous Corrections2015-Dec-012015-30153The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is amending its regulations to make miscellaneous corrections. These changes include renaming the Office of Information Services, renaming the Computer Security Office and removing it as a standalone office, capitalizing the words Tribe, Tribes, and Tribal, correcting a Web site address, correcting a misspelling, removing a submission requirement, correcting an email address, correcting a room number, removing a Federal Register notice requirement, and adding missing information collection references. This document is necessary to inform the public of these non-substantive changes to the NRC's regulations.
Education Department -- Open Licensing Requirement for Direct Grant Programs2015-Nov-032015-27930The Secretary proposes to amend the regulations regarding the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in order to require that all Department grantees awarded direct competitive grant funds openly license to the public all copyrightable intellectual property created with Department grant funds. These proposed changes would increase the Department's ability to be more strategic with limited resources, broadening the impact of its investments by allowing stakeholders, such as local educational agencies (LEAs), State educational agencies (SEAs), institutions of higher education (IHEs), and other entities, to benefit from these investments, even if they are not themselves recipients of Department funds. An open licensing requirement would also allow the Department to sustain innovations beyond the grant period by encouraging subject matter experts and users to adapt, update, and build upon grant products, stimulating quality and innovation in the development of educational resources. Finally, the proposed requirement would promote equity and access to Department-funded technology and materials and increase transparency and accountability for the Department and its grantees.
Social Security Administration -- Returning Evidence at the Appeals Council Level2015-Oct-212015-26747We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of the Expiration Date for State Disability Examiner Authority To Make Fully Favorable Quick Disability Determinations and Compassionate Allowance Determinations2015-Oct-192015-26488We 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.
Homeland Security Department -- Adoption of Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards; States and Tribal Mitigation Planning Regulations Change2015-Oct-022015-24584On December 19, 2014, all Federal award-making agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), published a joint interim final rule implementing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)'s Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. DHS and FEMA now adopt, with one change, the interim final rule as final. The change restores language in the FEMA State and Tribal mitigation planning regulations that was inadvertently removed by the interim final rule.
Social Security Administration -- Vocational Factors of Age, Education, and Work Experience in the Adult Disability Determination Process2015-Sep-142015-22839We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Listings for Growth Disorders and Weight Loss in Children; Correcting Amendments2015-Aug-122015-19825We published a document in the Federal Register revising our rules on April 13, 2015. That document inadvertently included incorrect values in table II of listing 105.08(B)(1)(c) of appendix 1 to subpart P of 20 CFR part 404. This document corrects the final regulation by revising this table.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Effective Date for Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge2015-Jul-022015-16397We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Sixty-Month Period of Employment Requirement for Government Pension Offset Exemption2015-Jun-152015-14509This 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.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Sunset Date for Attorney Advisor Program2015-Jun-052015-13768We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)2015-May-202015-11923We are revising the criteria in parts A and B of the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving cancer (malignant neoplastic diseases) under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). These revisions reflect our adjudicative experience, advances in medical knowledge, recommendations from medical experts we consulted, and public comments we received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Hematological Disorders2015-Apr-172015-08849We are revising 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). These revisions reflect our adjudicative experience, advances in medical knowledge, diagnosis, and treatment, and public comments we received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
Education Department -- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Miscellaneous Program Changes2015-Apr-162015-05535The Secretary proposes to amend the regulations governing a number of programs administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to implement changes to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Act) made by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, enacted on July 22, 2014. The Secretary also proposes to implement changes to the Act made by the Workforce Investment Act, enacted on August 7, 1998, that have not previously been implemented in regulations, and to otherwise update, clarify, and improve RSA's current regulations.
Social Security Administration -- Submission of Evidence in Disability Claims2015-Mar-202015-05921We are clarifying 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 includes the duty to submit all evidence that relates to your disability claim received from any source in its entirety, unless you previously submitted the same evidence to us or we instruct you otherwise. We are also requiring your representative to help you obtain the information or evidence that we require you to submit under our regulations. These modifications to our regulations will better describe your duty to submit all evidence that relates to your disability claim and enable us to have more complete case records on which to make more accurate disability determinations and decisions.
Social Security Administration -- Revisions to Direct Fee Payment Rules2015-Jan-062014-30921We are adopting, with two revisions, our interim final rules that implemented amendments to the Social Security Act (Act) made by the Social Security Disability Applicants' Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010 (PRA). The interim final rules made permanent the direct fee payment rules for eligible non-attorney representatives under titles II and XVI of the Act and for attorney representatives under title XVI of the Act. They also revised some of our eligibility policies for non-attorney representatives under titles II and XVI of the Act. Based on public comment and subsequent inquiries, we are revising our rules to clarify that an eligible non- attorney representative's liability insurance policy must include malpractice coverage. We are also reaffirming that a business entity legally permitted to provide the required insurance in the States in which the non-attorney representative conducts business must underwrite the policies.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Dates for Several Body System Listings2015-Jan-022014-30739We 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, Hematological Disorders, Skin Disorders, Neurological, and Mental Disorders. 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.
Executive Office of the President -- Federal Awarding Agency Regulatory Implementation of Office of Management and Budget's Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards2014-Dec-192014-28697This joint interim final rule implements for all Federal award-making agencies 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 is necessary in order to incorporate into regulation and thus bring into effect the Uniform Guidance as required by OMB. Implementation of this guidance will reduce administrative burden and risk of waste, fraud, and abuse for the approximately $600 billion per year awarded in Federal financial assistance. The result will be more Federal dollars reprogrammed to support the mission, 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.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Genitourinary Disorders2014-Oct-102014-24114These final rules revise the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate cases involving genitourinary disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The revisions reflect our program experience and address adjudicator questions we have received since we last comprehensively revised this body system in 2005.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of the Expiration Date for State Disability Examiner Authority To Make Fully Favorable Quick Disability Determinations and Compassionate Allowances2014-Aug-282014-20535We 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 14, 2014. In this final rule, we are changing the November 14, 2014 expiration or ``sunset'' date to November 13, 2015, extending the authority for 1 year. We are making no other substantive changes.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Date for Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge; Correction2014-Jul-312014-17976The Social Security Administration published a final rule document in the Federal Register on July 18, 2014 (79 FR 41881), extending the expiration date for the Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge. That document inadvertently had a timing issue with Sec. 405.315(e) not being codified by the July 18, 2014 publication. Section 405.315(e) was codified on July 25, 2014. This document corrects the final regulation by revising the now codified Sec. 405.315(e).
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Date for Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge2014-Jul-182014-16782We 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 the pilot program continues our commitment to improve the efficiency of our hearing process and provide accurate, high-quality decisions for claimants. The current pilot program will expire on August 9, 2014. In this final rule, we are extending the expiration date to August 10, 2015. We are making no other substantive changes.
Social Security Administration -- Electronic Substitutions for SSA-5382014-Jun-262014-14914This 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.
Social Security Administration -- Changes to Scheduling and Appearing at Hearings2014-Jun-252014-14793These 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.
Social Security Administration -- Obtaining Evidence Beyond the Current “Special Arrangement Sources”2014-Jun-122014-13802We 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 Administration -- Technical Corrections to Regulations2014-Jun-122014-13803We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Medicare Determinations and Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts to Medicare Part B Premiums; Conforming Changes to Regulations2014-Mar-032014-04610This 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.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection and for Evaluating Functional Limitations in Immune System Disorders2014-Feb-262014-04124We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Dates for Several Body System Listings2014-Feb-262014-04123We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Neurological Disorders2014-Feb-252014-02659We 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).
Social Security Administration -- Submission of Evidence in Disability Claims2014-Feb-202014-03426We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)2013-Dec-172013-30088We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Date for Mental Disorders Body System Listings2013-Dec-032013-28836We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Electronic Interim Assistance Reimbursement Program2013-Nov-252013-28034We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Hematological Disorders2013-Nov-192013-27514We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of the Expiration Date for State Disability Examiner Authority To Make Fully Favorable Quick Disability Determinations and Compassionate Allowances2013-Nov-062013-26524We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Medicare Determinations and Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts to Medicare Part B Premiums; Conforming Changes to Regulations2013-Sep-182013-22445We 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.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Dates for Two Body System Listings2013-Sep-062013-21845We are extending the expiration dates of the following body systems in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations: Genitourinary Impairments and Hematological Disorders. We are making no other revisions to these body systems in this final rule. These extensions 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.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Hearing Loss and Disturbances of Labyrinthine-Vestibular Function2013-Aug-302013-21143We are requesting your comments on whether and how we should revise the criteria in our Listing of Impairments (listings) for evaluating hearing loss and disturbances of labyrinthine-vestibular function in adults and children. We are requesting your comments as part of our ongoing effort to ensure that our listings reflect current medical knowledge. If we propose specific revisions, we will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register.
Social Security Administration -- Change in Terminology: “Mental Retardation” to “Intellectual Disability”2013-Aug-012013-18552This final rule adopts, without change, the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) we published in the Federal Register on January 28, 2013. We are replacing the term ``mental retardation'' with ``intellectual disability'' in our 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) and in other appropriate sections of our rules. This change reflects the widespread adoption of the term ``intellectual disability'' by Congress, government agencies, and various public and private organizations.
Social Security Administration -- Mailing of Tickets Under the Ticket To Work Program2013-Jul-292013-18148This final rule adopts, without change, the interim final rule with request for comments we published in the Federal Register on January 12, 2012, at 77 FR 1862. The interim final rule modified our rules so that we may send a Ticket to Work (Ticket) to Ticket to Work program (Ticket program)-eligible disabled beneficiaries. Under our previous rules, we mailed initial Ticket notices to all Ticket-eligible beneficiaries immediately after they began receiving benefits, regardless of whether they were likely to participate in the program. This change did not affect Ticket eligibility requirements.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Sunset Date for Attorney Advisor Program2013-Jul-292013-18145We 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 9, 2013. In this final rule, we are extending the sunset date to August 7, 2015. We are making no other substantive changes.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Effective Date for Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge2013-Jul-292013-18143We are extending our pilot program that authorizes the agency to set the time and place for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). This final rule will extend the pilot program for 1 year. The extension of the pilot program continues our commitment to improve the efficiency of our hearing process and maintain a hearing process that results in accurate, high-quality decisions for claimants. The current pilot program will expire on August 9, 2013. In this final rule, we are extending the effective date to August 9, 2014. We are making no other substantive changes.
Social Security Administration -- Changes to Scheduling and Appearing at Hearings2013-Jun-272013-14894We propose to revise our rules to protect the integrity of our programs and preserve limited resources. Prior to scheduling a hearing, we will notify the claimant that his or her hearing may be held by video teleconferencing. The claimant will have an opportunity to object to appearing by video teleconferencing within 30 days after the date he or she receives the notice. We also propose changes that allow us to determine that a claimant will appear via video teleconferencing if he or she changes residences while his or her request for hearing is pending, regardless of whether or not the claimant previously declined a hearing by video teleconferencing. Additionally, we propose changes that require a claimant to notify us, in writing, of an objection to the time and place of hearing at the earliest opportunity, but not later than 5 days before the date set for the hearing, or, if earlier, 30 days after receiving the notice of the hearing. We also propose to revise our rules so that an administrative law judge (ALJ) can direct a claimant and any other party to a hearing to appear by telephone in extraordinary circumstances. We anticipate that these proposed changes will have a minimal impact on the public, and will help ensure the integrity of our programs and allow us to administer our programs more efficiently.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Listings for Growth Disorders and Weight Loss in Children2013-May-222013-11601Several body systems in our Listing of Impairments (listings) contain listings for children based on impairment of linear growth or weight loss. We propose to replace those listings with new listings, add a listing to the genitourinary body system for children, and provide new introductory text for each listing explaining how to apply the new criteria. The proposed revisions to our listings reflect our program experience, advances in medical knowledge, comments we received from medical experts and the public at an outreach policy conference, and comments we received in response to a notice of intent to issue regulations and request for comments (request for comments) and an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM). We are also proposing conforming changes in our regulations for title XVI of the Social Security Act (Act).
Social Security Administration -- Rules on Determining Hearing Appearances2013-May-212013-11932This final rule is another step in our continual efforts to handle workloads more effectively and efficiently. We are publishing final rules for portions of the rules we proposed in October 2007 that relate to persons, other than the claimant or any other party to the hearing, appearing by telephone. We are also clarifying that the administrative law judge (ALJ) will allow the claimant or any other party to a hearing to appear by telephone under certain circumstances when the claimant or other party requests to make his or her appearance in that manner. We expect that these final rules will make the hearings process more efficient and help us continue to reduce the hearings backlog. In addition, we made some minor editorial changes to our regulations that do not have any effect on the rights of claimants or any other parties.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Visual Disorders2013-Mar-282013-06975We are revising and reorganizing the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate cases involving visual disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The revisions reflect our program experience and guidance we have issued in response to adjudicator questions we have received since we last revised these criteria in 2006. These revisions will provide clarification about how we evaluate visual disorders and ensure more timely adjudication of claims in which we evaluate visual disorders that result in a loss of visual acuity or field.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Respiratory System Disorders2013-Feb-042013-02165We propose to revise the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving respiratory 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, and comments we received from medical experts and the public at an outreach policy conference and in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM).
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Congenital Disorders That Affect Multiple Body Systems2013-Feb-042013-02169We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate cases involving impairments that affect multiple body systems in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The revisions reflect our program experience and address adjudicator questions we have received since we last comprehensively revised this body system in 2005. We do not expect any decisional differences due to the revisions in this body system.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Genitourinary Disorders2013-Feb-042013-02166We propose to revise the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving genitourinary 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 methods of evaluating genitourinary disorders, and comments we received in response to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM).
Social Security Administration -- Change in Terminology: “Mental Retardation” to “Intellectual Disability”2013-Jan-282013-01522We propose to replace the term ``mental retardation'' with ``intellectual disability'' in our 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) and in other appropriate sections of our rules. This change would reflect the widespread adoption of the term ``intellectual disability'' by Congress, government agencies, and various public and private organizations.
Transportation Department -- Technical, Organizational, and Conforming Amendments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations2012-Oct-012012-23758This final rule makes technical corrections throughout title 49 CFR subtitle B, chapter III. The Agency is making minor editorial changes to add revised delegations of authority from the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary), correct errors and omissions, and improve clarity. This rule does not make any substantive changes to the affected parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- Enforcement of Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Programs and Activities Conducted by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection2012-Aug-062012-18827This interim final rule provides for the enforcement of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs or activities conducted by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. It sets forth standards for what constitutes discrimination on the basis of mental or physical disability, provides a definition for ``individual with a disability'' and ``qualified individual with a disability,'' and establishes a complaint mechanism for resolving allegations of discrimination. The rule further clarifies that the complaint mechanism is also available for processing complaints that the agency has failed to meet accessibility standards for electronic and information technology, in violation of section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Social Security Administration -- Regulations Regarding Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts to Medicare Beneficiaries' Prescription Drug Coverage Premiums2012-Jul-252012-17935This final rule adopts, without change, the interim final rule with request for comments we published in the Federal Register on December 7, 2010, at 75 FR 75884. The interim final rule contained the rules that we apply to determine the income-related monthly adjustment amount for Medicare prescription drug coverage (also known as Medicare Part D) premiums. This new subpart implemented changes made to the Social Security Act (Act) by the Affordable Care Act. The interim final rule allowed us to implement the provisions of the Affordable Care Act related to the income-related monthly adjustment amount for Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums when they went into effect on January 1, 2011.
Social Security Administration -- Expedited Vocational Assessment Under the Sequential Evaluation Process2012-Jul-252012-17934We are revising our rules to give adjudicators the discretion to proceed to the fifth step of the sequential evaluation process for assessing disability when we have insufficient information about a claimant's past relevant work history to make the findings required for step 4. If an adjudicator finds at step 5 that a claimant may be unable to adjust to other work existing in the national economy, the adjudicator will return to the fourth step to develop the claimant's work history and make a finding about whether the claimant can perform his or her past relevant work. We expect that this new expedited process will not disadvantage any claimant or change the ultimate conclusion about whether a claimant is disabled, but it will promote administrative efficiency and help us make more timely disability determinations and decisions.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Dates for Several Body System Listings2012-Jun-132012-14407We 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, Hematological Disorders, Skin Disorders, Neurological, and Mental Disorders. We are making no other revisions to these body system listings 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.
Social Security Administration -- Protecting the Public and Our Employees in Our Hearing Process2012-Feb-232012-4178We are clarifying our regulations to ensure the safety of the public and our employees in our hearing process. Due to increasing reports of threats to our hearing office employees, we are taking steps to explicitly increase the level of protection we provide to our staff and to the public during the hearing process. We expect these changes to result in a safer work environment for our employees, while at the same time ensuring that our claimants continue to receive a full and fair hearing on their claims for benefits.
Social Security Administration -- How We Collect and Consider Evidence of Disability2012-Feb-232012-4177We are modifying the requirement to recontact your medical source(s) first when we need to resolve an inconsistency or insufficiency in the evidence he or she provided. Depending on the nature of the inconsistency or insufficiency, there may be other, more appropriate sources from whom we could obtain the information we need. By giving adjudicators more flexibility in determining how best to obtain this information, we will be able to make a determination or decision on disability claims more quickly and efficiently in certain situations. Eventually, our need to recontact your medical source(s) in many situations will be significantly reduced as a result of our efforts to improve the evidence collection process through the increased use of Health Information Technology (HIT).
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Visual Disorders2012-Feb-132012-3226We propose to revise and reorganize the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate cases involving visual disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The proposed revisions reflect our program experience and address adjudicator questions we have received since we last revised these criteria in 2006. These proposed revisions reflect guidance we have issued in response to adjudicator questions and will ensure more timely adjudication of claims in which we evaluate visual impairments that involve a loss of visual acuity or loss of visual fields.
Social Security Administration -- New Medical Criteria for Evaluating Language and Speech Disorders2012-Feb-062012-2498We are considering whether to propose new rules for evaluating language and speech disorders. The new rules would apply to disability claims involving language and speech disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). Specifically, we are considering whether to add a new body system in the Listing of Impairments in appendix 1 to subpart P of part 404 of our regulations (listings) for these disorders. We are requesting your comments about whether we should establish these new rules, as well as suggestions about what the proposed rules should include. If we decide to propose specific listings, we will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register.
Social Security Administration -- Amendments to Regulations Regarding Eligibility for a Medicare Prescription Drug Subsidy2012-Jan-182012-827This final rule adopts, without change, the interim final rule with request for comments we published in the Federal Register on December 29, 2010. The interim final rule incorporated changes to the Medicare prescription drug coverage low-income subsidy (Extra Help) program made by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) enacted in March 2010. Under our interpretation of section 3304 of the Affordable Care Act, if the death of a beneficiary's spouse would decrease or eliminate the subsidy provided by the Extra Help program, we will extend the effective period of eligibility for the most recent determination or redetermination until one year after the month following the month we are notified of the death of the spouse. The effective date of this provision was January 1, 2011. We also revised our regulations to incorporate changes made by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) which affect the way we account for income and resources when determining eligibility for the Extra Help program. The statute provides that we no longer count the value of any life insurance policy as a resource for Extra Help effective on and after January 1, 2010. As of that date, we also no longer count as income the help a beneficiary receives when someone else provides food and shelter, or pays household bills for food, mortgage, rent, electricity, water, property taxes, or heating fuel or gas. These revisions updated our rules to reflect these statutory changes.
Social Security Administration -- Mailing of Tickets Under the Ticket to Work Program2012-Jan-122012-405The Social Security Act (Act) states that we may issue a Ticket to Work (Ticket) to disabled beneficiaries for participation in the Ticket to Work program (Ticket program). Under our current rules, however, we mail initial Ticket notices to all Ticket-eligible beneficiaries, regardless of whether they are likely to participate in the program, immediately after they begin receiving benefits. We are modifying our rules so that we may send a Ticket to eligible disabled beneficiaries. We will inform all newly eligible and current beneficiaries of the availability of the program via routine correspondence. In addition, we will conduct Ticket outreach to those disabled beneficiaries who are most likely to return to work. We will send a Ticket to any eligible disabled beneficiary upon request, regardless of whether we have identified the beneficiary through our outreach efforts. We expect this change will make the Ticket program more effective. This change does not affect Ticket eligibility requirements.
Social Security Administration -- Revisions to Rules of Conduct and Standards of Responsibility for Representatives2011-Dec-232011-32923We are revising our rules of conduct and standards of responsibility for representatives. These revisions further clarify our expectations regarding representatives' obligations to competently represent their clients and constitute official notice concerning our requirements and procedures. We are also updating other rules about the representation of parties. These changes are necessary because our current regulations are insufficient to address some representative conduct that is inappropriate, but has technically fallen outside the scope of our regulations. These changes will allow us to better protect the integrity of our administrative process, ensure that claimants receive competent and effective representation, and further clarify representatives' responsibilities in their dealings with us and with claimants.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Congenital Disorders That Affect Multiple Body Systems2011-Oct-252011-27357We propose to revise the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate cases involving impairments that affect multiple body systems in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The proposed revisions reflect our program experience and address adjudicator questions we have received since we last comprehensively revised this body system in 2005. We do not expect any decisional differences due the revisions in this body system.
Social Security Administration -- Amendments to Procedures for Certain Determinations and Decisions2011-Oct-212011-27236We are revising the procedures for how claimants who receive fully favorable revised determinations based on prehearing case reviews or fully favorable attorney advisor decisions may seek further review. We are also revising our procedure to provide that we will notify claimants who receive partially favorable determinations based on prehearing case reviews that an administrative law judge (ALJ) will still hold a hearing unless all parties to the hearing tell us in writing that we should dismiss the hearing request. These changes will simplify our administrative review process and free up scarce administrative resources that we can better use to reduce the hearings- level case backlog.
Social Security Administration -- Recovery of Delinquent Debts-Treasury Offset Program Enhancements2011-Oct-202011-27221We are amending our Tax Refund Offset (TRO) and Administrative Offset regulations. We are conforming our regulations to those of the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) for the following reasons: Treasury removed the 10-year limitation to collect delinquent debts owed the United States by reducing eligible Federal payments, and more States are participating in reciprocal agreements with Treasury to offset State payments, including tax refunds to reduce or extinguish a federally owed debt. These changes will allow us to collect additional Federal debt.
Social Security Administration -- Expedited Vocational Assessment Under the Sequential Evaluation Process2011-Sep-132011-23396We propose to give adjudicators the discretion to proceed to the fifth step of the sequential evaluation process for assessing disability when we have insufficient information about a claimant's past relevant work history to make the findings required for step 4. If an adjudicator finds at step 5 that a claimant may be unable to adjust to other work existing in the national economy, the adjudicator would return to the fourth step to develop the claimant's work history and make a finding about whether the claimant can perform his or her past relevant work. This proposed new process would not disadvantage any claimant or change the ultimate conclusion about whether a claimant is disabled, but it would promote administrative efficiency and help us make more timely disability determinations and decisions.
Social Security Administration -- Requiring Use of Electronic Services by Certain Claimant Representatives2011-Sep-122011-23232We are revising our rules to require that claimant representatives use our electronic services as they become available on matters for which the representatives request direct fee payment. In the future, we will publish a notice in the Federal Register when we require representatives who request direct fee payment on a matter to use our available electronic services. We are also adding the requirement to use our available electronic services on matters for which the representative requests direct fee payment as an affirmative duty in our representative conduct rules. These revisions reflect the increased use of technology in representatives' business practices. We expect that the use of electronic services will improve our efficiency by allowing us to manage our workloads more effectively. These rules do not require claimants to use our available electronic services directly; they only require their representatives to use the services on matters for which the representatives request direct fee payment.
Social Security Administration -- Revisions to Direct Fee Payment Rules2011-Jul-282011-19026We are revising our rules to implement amendments to the Social Security Act (Act) made by the Social Security Disability Applicants' Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010 (PRA). We are making permanent the direct fee payment rules for eligible non- attorney representatives under titles II and XVI of the Act and for attorney representatives under title XVI of the Act. We also are revising some of our eligibility policies for non-attorney representatives under titles II and XVI of the Act.
Social Security Administration -- Electronic Substitutions for Form SSA-5382011-Jul-152011-17859We are revising our regulations to reflect our use of electronic case processing at the initial and reconsideration levels of our administrative review process. Our prior rule required adjudicators at these levels to complete a Form SSA-538, Childhood Disability Evaluation Form, in all cases of children alleging disability or continuing disability under title XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). However, we developed and now use a Web-based tool that assists our adjudicators in making disability determinations in several States, and we plan to expand its use to other States. We are revising our regulation to reflect the new tool. 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. We expect that this revision will improve our efficiency by increasing our use of electronic resources.
Social Security Administration -- Amendments to Regulations Regarding Major Life-Changing Events Affecting Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts to Medicare Part B Premiums2011-Jul-012011-16526This final rule adopts, without change, the interim final rule with request for comments we published in the Federal Register on July 15, 2010 at 75 FR 41084. The interim final rule concerned what we consider major life-changing events for the Medicare Part B income- related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA) and what evidence we require to support a claim of a major life-changing event. This final rule allows us to respond appropriately to circumstances brought about by the current economic climate and other unforeseen events, as described below.
Veterans Affairs Department -- Spouse and Surviving Spouse; Technical Amendment2011-Jun-102011-14401The Department of Veterans Affairs published a document on February 6, 1997, amending 38 CFR part 3 by removing Sec. 3.51. At that time, we failed to remove all the cross-references to 38 CFR 3.51 in other parts of 38 CFR. This document corrects that error by removing those cross-references.
Social Security Administration -- Eliminating the Decision Review Board2011-May-032011-10486We are eliminating the Decision Review Board (DRB) portions of part 405 of our rules, which we currently use as the final step in our administrative review process for adjudicating initial disability claims in our Boston region. As of the effective date of this regulation, we will replace the DRB step with review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will follow most of the rules in parts 404 and 416 that we use in the rest of the country to adjudicate disability claims at the Appeals Council level, with some differences needed to accommodate the rules that govern administrative law judge (ALJ) hearings in the Boston region. We will also authorize attorney advisors in the Boston region to conduct certain prehearing proceedings and make fully favorable decisions as they do in the rest of the country. We are making these changes to improve service to claimants and to increase consistency in our program rules.
Social Security Administration -- How We Collect and Consider Evidence of Disability2011-Apr-122011-8388We propose to modify the requirement to recontact your medical source(s) first when we need to resolve an inconsistency or insufficiency in the evidence he or she provided. Depending on the nature of the inconsistency or insufficiency, there may be other, more appropriate sources from whom we could obtain the information we need. By giving adjudicators more flexibility in determining how best to obtain this information, we will be able to make a determination or decision on disability claims more quickly and efficiently in certain situations. Eventually, our need to recontact your medical source(s) in many situations will be significantly reduced as a result of our efforts to improve the evidence collection process through the increased utilization of Health Information Technology (HIT).
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Endocrine Disorders2011-Apr-082011-8389We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (the listings) that we use to evaluate claims under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act) involving endocrine disorders in adults and children. The revisions reflect our adjudicative experience, advances in medical knowledge, information from medical experts, and comments we received from the public in response to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), and at an outreach policy conference.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Sunset Date for Attorney Advisor Program2011-Apr-042011-7898We 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 10, 2011. In this final rule, we are extending the sunset date to August 9, 2013. We are making no other substantive changes.
Social Security Administration -- Technical Correction for Neurological Listing Cross-Reference2011-Mar-242011-6983We are making a technical correction to a listing in the neurological body system in the Listing of Impairments. We are correcting a cross-reference that became outdated when we published revisions elsewhere in the Listing of Impairments in 2010. This technical correction will provide an updated cross-reference to conform to the 2010 revisions.
Social Security Administration -- Protecting the Public and Our Employees in Our Hearing Process2011-Mar-142011-5750We are clarifying our regulatory procedures to ensure the safety of the public and our employees in our hearing process. Due to increasing reports of threats to our hearing office employees, we are taking steps to explicitly increase the level of protection we provide to our staff and to the public during the hearing process. We expect these changes to result in a safer work environment for our employees, while at the same time ensuring that our claimants continue to receive a full and fair hearing on their claims for benefits.
Social Security Administration -- Recovery of Delinquent Debts-Treasury Offset Program Enhancements2011-Mar-022011-4586We propose to amend our Tax Refund Offset (TRO) and Administrative Offset regulations. We are conforming our regulations to those of the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) for the following reasons: (1) Treasury removed the 10-year limitation to collect delinquent debts owed the United States by reducing eligible Federal payments, and (2) more States are participating in reciprocal agreements with Treasury to offset State payments, including tax refunds to reduce or extinguish a federally owed debt. The potential exists to increase collection of Federal debts for two reasons: (1) We are authorized to collect debts indefinitely by offsetting eligible Federal payments through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP), and (2) States that have reciprocal agreements with Treasury are authorized to offset payments to reduce or extinguish debts owed to the Federal agencies.
Personnel Management Office -- Garnishment of Accounts Containing Federal Benefit Payments2011-Feb-232011-3782Treasury, SSA, VA, RRB and OPM (Agencies) are issuing an interim final rule to implement statutory restrictions on the garnishment of Federal benefit payments. The rule establishes procedures that financial institutions must follow when they receive a garnishment order against an account holder who receives certain types of Federal benefit payments by direct deposit. The rule requires financial institutions that receive such a garnishment order to determine the sum of such Federal benefit payments deposited to the account during a two month period, and to ensure that the account holder has access to an amount equal to that sum or to the current balance of the account, whichever is lower.
Social Security Administration -- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled; Dedicated Accounts and Installment Payments for Certain Past-Due SSI Benefits2011-Jan-052010-33272These final rules adopt, with some minor changes, the interim final rules with request for comment we published in the Federal Register on December 20, 1996. 61 FR 67203. The interim final rules concerned dedicated accounts and installment payments for certain past- due SSI benefits and reflected amendments to the Social Security Act (Act) made by sections 213 and 221 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA). These final rules reflect these provisions, as well as subsequent changes to these provisions made by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA), the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA), and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA). The changes we are making in these final rules will ensure that our rules accurately reflect the statutory provisions on which they are based.
Social Security Administration -- Amendments to Regulations Regarding Eligibility for a Medicare Prescription Drug Subsidy2010-Dec-292010-32848We are revising our regulations to incorporate changes to the Medicare prescription drug coverage low-income subsidy (Extra Help) program made by the Affordable Care Act which was enacted on March 23, 2010. Under our interpretation of section 3304 of the Affordable Care Act and this interim final rule, if the death of a beneficiary's spouse would decrease or eliminate the subsidy provided by the Extra Help program, we will, based on a determination, or redetermination, extend the effective period of eligibility for the most recent determination or redetermination until 1 year after the month following the month we are notified of the death of the spouse. These regulatory changes will allow us to implement this provision of the Affordable Care Act when it goes into effect on January 1, 2011. We are also revising our regulations to incorporate changes made by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA), which affect the way we account for income and resources when determining eligibility for the Extra Help program. The statute provides that we no longer count as a resource the value of any life insurance policy for Extra Help applications filed, or redeterminations that are effective, on or after January 1, 2010. In addition, we will no longer count as income the help a beneficiary receives when someone else provides food and shelter, or pays household bills for food, mortgage, rent, electricity, water, property taxes, or heating fuel or gas. These revisions will update our rules to reflect these statutory changes.
Social Security Administration -- Regulations Regarding Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts to Medicare Beneficiaries' Prescription Drug Coverage Premiums2010-Dec-072010-30276We are adding a new subpart to our regulations, which contains the rules we will apply to determine the income-related monthly adjustment amount for Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums. This new subpart implements changes made to the Social Security Act (Act) by the Affordable Care Act. These rules parallel the rules in subpart B of this part, which describes the rules we apply when we determine the income-related monthly adjustment amount for certain Medicare Part B (medical insurance) beneficiaries. These rules describe the new subpart; what information we will use to determine whether you will pay an income-related monthly adjustment amount and the amount of the adjustment when applicable; when we will consider a major life- changing event that results in a significant reduction in your modified adjusted gross income; and how you can appeal our determination about your income-related monthly adjustment amount. These rules will allow us to implement the provisions of the Affordable Care Act on time that relate to the income-related monthly adjustment amount for Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums, when they go into effect on January 1, 2011.
Social Security Administration -- Disability Determinations by State Agency Disability Examiners2010-Oct-132010-25502We are revising our rules on a temporary basis to permit State agency disability examiners to make fully favorable determinations in certain claims for disability benefits under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act) without the approval of a State agency medical or psychological consultant. These changes apply only to claims we consider under our rules for quick disability determinations (QDD) or under our compassionate allowance initiative.
Social Security Administration -- Entitlement and Termination Requirements for Stepchildren2010-Aug-272010-21341We are revising our regulations to reflect changes made in the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996 (CAAA) to the entitlement and termination requirements for Social Security child's benefits to stepchildren. Under the CAAA, we consider a stepchild as dependent on a stepparent to receive child's benefits based on the stepparent's earnings only if the stepchild receives at least one-half support from the stepparent. Also, we terminate a stepchild's benefits that are based on the stepparent's earnings if the stepchild's parent or adoptive parent and the stepparent divorce, unless the stepparent adopted the stepchild and the stepchild can qualify for benefits as the stepparent's adopted child.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders2010-Aug-192010-20247We propose to revise 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). We also propose to remove certain sections of our regulations and incorporate some of their provisions into other sections of our regulations. The proposed revisions reflect our adjudicative experience, advances in medical knowledge, recommendations from a report we commissioned, and comments we received from experts and the public in response to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) and at an outreach policy conference.
Social Security Administration -- Amendments to Procedures for Certain Determinations and Decisions2010-Jul-222010-17896We propose to revise the procedures for how claimants who request hearings before administrative law judges (ALJs) may seek further review of their fully favorable revised determinations based on prehearing case reviews or fully favorable attorney advisor decisions. We also propose to notify claimants who receive partially favorable determinations based on prehearing case reviews that an ALJ will still hold a hearing unless all parties to the hearing tell us in writing that we should dismiss the hearing requests. We expect that these changes will simplify the process and free up scarce administrative resources that we can better use to reduce the hearings level case backlog.
Social Security Administration -- Amendments to Regulations Regarding Major Life-Changing Events Affecting Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts to Medicare Part B Premiums2010-Jul-152010-17198We are modifying our regulations to clarify and revise what we consider major life-changing events for the Medicare Part B income- related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA) and what evidence we require to support a claim of a major life-changing event. Recent changes in the economy and other unforeseen events have had a significant effect on many Medicare Part B beneficiaries. The changes we are making in this interim final rule will allow us to respond appropriately to circumstances brought about by the current economic climate and other unforeseen events, as described below.
Social Security Administration -- Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge2010-Jul-082010-16549We are amending our rules to state that our agency is responsible for setting the time and place for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). This change creates a 3-year pilot program that will allow us to test this new authority. Our use of this authority, consistent with due process rights of claimants, may provide us with greater flexibility in scheduling both in-person and video hearings, lead to improved efficiency in our hearing process, and reduce the number of pending hearing requests. This change is a part of our broader commitment to maintaining a hearing process that results in accurate, high-quality decisions for claimants.
Social Security Administration -- Technical Amendment Language Change From “Wholly” to “Fully”2010-Jun-112010-13987These final rules amend our regulations to replace the word ``wholly'' with the word ``fully'' when we describe the favorable or unfavorable nature of determinations or decisions we make on claims for benefits. This change does not alter the substance of the regulations or have any effect on the rights of claimants or any other parties.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of Expiration Dates for Several Body System Listings2010-Jun-112010-13988We are extending the expiration dates of the following body systems in the Listing of Impairments (listings) in our regulations: Cardiovascular System, Endocrine System, Growth Impairment, Hematological Disorders, Musculoskeletal System, Mental Disorders, Neurological, and Respiratory System. We are making no other revisions to these body system listings. This extension will ensure that we continue to have in the listings the criteria we need to evaluate impairments in the affected body systems at the appropriate steps of the sequential evaluation processes for initial claims and continuing disability reviews.
Social Security Administration -- Consultative Examination-Annual Onsite Review of Medical Providers2010-Jun-102010-14070We are revising the threshold billing amount that triggers annual on-site reviews of medical providers who conduct consultative examinations (CEs) for our disability programs under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The revision will raise the threshold amount to reflect the increase in billing amounts since we first established the threshold amount in 1991. We expect the revised threshold amount will reestablish the level of oversight activity we required under our original rules.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Hearing Loss2010-Jun-022010-13094We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (the listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving hearing loss under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The revisions reflect our adjudicative experience, advances in medical knowledge, treatment, and methods of evaluating hearing loss, and public comments we received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
Personnel Management Office -- Garnishment of Accounts Containing Federal Benefit Payments2010-Apr-192010-8899Treasury, SSA, VA, RRB and OPM (Agencies) are publishing for comment a proposed rule to implement statutory restrictions on the garnishment of Federal benefit payments. The Agencies are taking this action in response to recent developments in technology and debt collection practices that have led to an increase in the freezing of accounts containing Federal benefit payments. The proposed rule would establish procedures that financial institutions must follow when a garnishment order is received for an account into which Federal benefit payments have been directly deposited. The proposed rule would require financial institutions that receive a garnishment order for an account to determine whether any Federal benefit payments were deposited to the account within 60 calendar days prior to receipt of the order and, if so, would require the financial institution to ensure that the account holder has access to an amount equal to the sum of such payments in the account or to the current balance of the account, whichever is lower.
Social Security Administration -- Disability Determinations by State Agency Disability Examiners2010-Mar-042010-4283We propose to amend our rules to permit disability examiners in the State agencies to make fully favorable determinations in certain claims for disability benefits under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act) without the approval of a medical or psychological consultant. The proposed changes would apply on a temporary basis only to claims we consider under our rules for Quick Disability Determinations (QDD) or under our compassionate allowance initiative.
Social Security Administration -- Exclusion of Certain Military Pay From Deemed Income and Resources2010-Feb-222010-3383We are revising our rules to clarify that, for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) purposes, we do not consider any combat-related military pay as income when we determine whether spouses and children of members of the uniformed services are eligible for SSI. The rules also clarify that we do not consider combat-related military pay as income when we determine the spouse's or child's proper payment amount. These rules also provide that, when we determine whether spouses and children are eligible for SSI, we do not consider retroactive payments of certain military pay as resources for 9 months following receipt. These final rules protect spouses and children of members of the uniformed services from a reduction in, or loss of, benefits because their spouse or parent serves in a combat zone.
Social Security Administration -- Transfer of Accumulated Benefit Payments2010-Feb-222010-3380We are revising our regulations to allow a representative payee who will no longer be serving in that capacity to transfer accumulated benefit payments and interest directly to a beneficiary if we determine that it would be in the best interest of the beneficiary. This change will give us more flexibility in deciding how conserved funds should be handled in these circumstances. The change will also reduce or eliminate delays in the delivery of conserved funds to some beneficiaries.
Social Security Administration -- Technical Revisions to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Regulations on Income and Resources2010-Jan-112010-241We are amending our Supplemental Security Income (SSI) regulations by making technical revisions to our rules on income and resources. Many of these revisions reflect legislative changes found in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001 (CAA), the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), an amendment to the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (NFIA), the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA), and the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA). We are also amending our SSI rules to extend the home exclusion to beneficiaries who, because of domestic abuse, leave a home that had otherwise been an excludable resource. Finally, we are updating our ``conditional- payment'' rule to eliminate the liquid-resource requirement as a prerequisite to receiving conditional-benefit payments.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Endocrine Disorders2009-Dec-149-29671We propose to revise the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (the listings) that we use to evaluate claims under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act) involving endocrine disorders in adults and children. The proposed revisions reflect advances in medical knowledge, information we received from medical experts, comments we received from the public in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) and at an outreach policy conference, and our adjudicative experience.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Procedures and Criteria for Payment of Vocational Rehabilitation Services Under the Cost Reimbursement Program2009-Dec-149-29669We are requesting your comments on whether and how we should revise our rules governing payment for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services under the cost reimbursement program. Our current regulations do not reflect programmatic changes resulting from the new regulations we issued in May of 2008 for the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program (Ticket to Work program). We are requesting your comments as part of our ongoing effort to ensure that the regulations governing cost reimbursement for VR services are current and support our other return to work programs, specifically the Ticket to Work and Work Incentive programs. If we propose specific revisions, we will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register.
Social Security Administration -- Reestablishing Uniform National Disability Adjudication Provisions2009-Dec-049-28993We propose to eliminate the remaining portions of part 405 of our rules, which we now use for initial disability claims in our Boston region. We propose to use the same rules for disability claims in the Boston region that we use for disability adjudications in the rest of the country, including those rules that apply to the administrative law judge (ALJ) and Appeals Council (AC) levels of our administrative review process in parts 404 and 416 of our rules.
Defense Department -- Vending Facility Program for the Blind on DoD-Controlled Federal Property2009-Nov-279-28356This final rule reinstates Department of Defense regulations related to the vending facility program for the blind on DoD-controlled Federal property. This rule shall not apply to military dining facilities that are subject to and defined in section 856 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Impairments That Affect Multiple Body Systems2009-Nov-109-27031We are requesting your comments on whether and how we should revise the criteria in our Listings of Impairments (the listings) for evaluating impairments that affect multiple body systems in adults and children. We are requesting your comments as part of our ongoing effort to ensure that our listings reflect current medical knowledge. If we propose specific revisions; we will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Genitourinary Impairments2009-Nov-109-27032We are requesting your comments on whether and how we should revise the criteria in our Listing of Impairments (the listings) for evaluating genitourinary impairments in adults and children. We are requesting your comments as part of our ongoing effort to ensure that our listings reflect current medical knowledge. If we propose specific revisions, we will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Skin Disorders2009-Nov-109-27033We are requesting your comments on whether and how we should revise the criteria in our Listing of Impairments (the listings) for evaluating skin disorders in adults and children. We are requesting your comments as part of our ongoing effort to ensure that our listings reflect current medical knowledge. If we propose specific revisions, we will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register.
Social Security Administration -- Transfer of Accumulated Benefit Payments2009-Oct-149-24648We propose to amend our regulations to allow a representative payee who will no longer be serving in that capacity to transfer accumulated benefit payments and interest directly to a beneficiary if we determine that it would be in the best interest of the beneficiary. This change would give us more flexibility in deciding how conserved funds should be handled in these circumstances. The change would also reduce or eliminate delays in the delivery of conserved funds to some beneficiaries.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Malignant Neoplastic Diseases2009-Oct-069-23896We are revising some of the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (the listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving malignant neoplastic diseases (cancer) \1\ under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The revisions reflect our adjudicative experience, advances in medical knowledge, diagnosis, and treatment, and public comments we received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Social Security Administration -- Payments to Beneficiaries Residing in Vietnam and Cambodia and Other Conforming Changes2009-Sep-259-22883We are revising our regulation to remove Vietnam and Democratic Kampuchea (now Cambodia) from the list of countries to which social security benefits may not be sent under restrictions imposed by the Department of the Treasury (Treasury). This revision reflects published Treasury regulations that removed the restrictions on sending Federal payments to beneficiaries living in those countries. In addition, we are updating the citation for Treasury's authority to restrict payments to beneficiaries living in certain countries and correcting a typographical error in one of the section headings.
Social Security Administration -- Authorization of Representative Fees2009-Sep-239-22842We are revising our rules to allow representatives, in certain instances, to charge and receive a fee from third-party entities without requiring our authorization. We are also eliminating the requirement that we authorize fees for legal guardians or court- appointed representatives who represent claimants before us if a court has already authorized the fees. We are revising our rules to reflect changes in representatives' business practices and in the ways claimants obtain representation, and to improve the efficiency of our representative fee process.
Social Security Administration -- Attorney Advisor Program Sunset Date Extension2009-Jul-139-16510We are extending for two years our rule authorizing attorney advisors to conduct certain prehearing procedures and to issue fully favorable decisions. The current rule is scheduled to expire on August 10, 2009. In this final rule, we are extending the sunset date to August 10, 2011. We are making no other substantive changes.
Social Security Administration -- Exclusion of Certain Military Pay From Deemed Income and Resources2009-Jun-119-13621We propose to revise our rules to clarify that, for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) purposes, we do not consider any combat-related military pay as income when we determine whether spouses and children of members of the uniformed services are eligible for SSI. The proposed rules also would clarify that we do not consider combat- related military pay as income when we determine the spouse's or child's proper payment amount. These proposed rules also would provide that, when we determine whether spouses and children are eligible for SSI, we do not consider retroactive payments of certain military pay as resources for 9 months following receipt. These proposed rules would protect spouses and children of members of the uniformed services from a reduction in, or loss of, benefits because their spouse or parent serves in a combat zone.
Transportation Department -- Elimination of Route Designation Requirement for Motor Carriers Transporting Passengers Over Regular Routes2009-Mar-179-5778On March 3, 2009, FMCSA published a document in the Federal Register (74 FR 9172) requesting comments on its proposal to delay the effective date of its January 16, 2009, final rule entitled ``Elimination of Route Designation Requirement for Motor Carriers Transporting Passengers over Regular Routes.'' Based on the five comments received, all supporting the proposal to delay the effective date of the final rule, FMCSA is extending the effective date by 90 days, and seeks additional public comment on the rulemaking. The final rule announced the discontinuation of the administrative requirement that applicants seeking for-hire authority to transport passengers over regular routes submit a detailed description and a map of the route(s) over which they propose to operate. In response to the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff's memorandum of January 20, 2009, FMCSA extends the effective date to allow the Agency the opportunity for further review and consideration of the January 16, 2009, final rule and solicits public comments on the final rule. In order to afford sufficient time to consider and respond to comments, the effective date is extended for 90 days.
Transportation Department -- Elimination of Route Designation Requirement for Motor Carriers Transporting Passengers Over Regular Routes: Proposed Delay in Effective Date2009-Mar-039-4454In accordance with the memorandum of January 20, 2009, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled ``Regulatory Review,'' published in the Federal Register on January 26, 2009, FMCSA is seeking public comment on a contemplated delay of 90 days in the effective date of its January 16, 2009, final rule entitled ``Elimination of Route Designation Requirement for Motor Carriers Transporting Passengers over Regular Routes.'' The final rule announced the discontinuation of the administrative requirement that applicants seeking for-hire authority to transport passengers over regular routes submit a detailed description and a map of the route(s) over which they propose to operate. The effective date of the rule is March 17, 2009, with a compliance date of July 15, 2009. The FMCSA is considering a temporary 90-day extension in the effective date to June 15, 2009, to allow the Agency the opportunity for further review and consideration of the final rule. FMCSA acknowledges that the January 20, 2009, memorandum only recommends 60 days, but is allowing for 90 days to give us enough time to consider and respond to comments.
Social Security Administration -- Expiration Date Extension for Musculoskeletal Body System Listings2009-Feb-029-2109This final rule extends for 2 years the date on which the Musculoskeletal System Listing of Impairments will no longer be effective. We use the body system listings at the third step of the sequential evaluation process when we evaluate your claim for benefits based on disability under title II and title XVI of the Social Security Act. Other than extending the effective date of the listings, we have not revised the musculoskeletal listings. This extension will ensure that we continue to have the medical evaluation criteria in the listings to adjudicate disability claims involving disorders of the musculoskeletal body system at the third step of the sequential evaluation process.
Defense Department -- Vending Facility Program for the Blind on DoD-Controlled Federal Property2009-Jan-169-460This proposed rule would reinstate Department of Defense regulations related to the vending facility program for the blind on DoD-controlled Federal property. This rule will not apply to military dining facilities that are subject to and defined in section 856 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.
Transportation Department -- Elimination of Route Designation Requirement for Motor Carriers Transporting Passengers Over Regular Routes2009-Jan-169-363FMCSA discontinues the administrative requirement that applicants seeking for-hire authority to transport passengers over regular routes submit a detailed description and a map of the route(s) over which they propose to operate. The Agency will register such carriers as regular-route carriers without requiring the designation of specific regular routes and fixed end-points. Once motor carriers have obtained regular-route, for-hire operating authority from FMCSA, they will no longer need to seek additional FMCSA approval in order to change or add routes. Each registered regular-route motor carrier of passengers will continue to be subject to the full safety oversight and enforcement programs of FMCSA and its State and local partners.
Social Security Administration -- Clarification of Evidentiary Standard for Determinations and Decisions2008-Dec-188-30056We are amending our rules to clarify that we apply the preponderance of the evidence standard when we make determinations and decisions at all levels of our administrative review process. These rules do not change our policy that the Appeals Council applies the substantial evidence standard when it reviews a decision by an administrative law judge (ALJ) to determine whether to grant a request for review. We are also adding definitions of the terms ``substantial evidence'' and ``preponderance of the evidence'' for use in applying these rules.
Social Security Administration -- Use of Date of Written Statement as Filing Date2008-Dec-178-29951We propose to revise our rules for protective filing after we receive a written statement of intent to claim Social Security benefits under title II of the Social Security Act (the Act). Specifically, we propose to revise from 6 months to 60 days the time period during which you must file an application for benefits after the date of a notice we send explaining the need to file an application. We are proposing this revision to make the time period used in the title II program consistent with the time period used in other programs we administer under the Act. We believe that eliminating the difference between the time periods in the programs we administer would make it easier for the public to understand and follow our rules.
Social Security Administration -- Technical Revisions to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Regulations on Income and Resources2008-Dec-098-28618We propose to amend our Supplemental Security Income (SSI) regulations by making technical revisions to our rules on income and resources. Many of these revisions reflect legislative changes found in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), an amendment to the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000, and the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA). We further propose to amend the SSI home exclusion rules to extend the home exclusion to individuals who, because of domestic abuse, leave a home that would otherwise be an excludable resource. Finally, we propose to update our ``conditional- payment'' rule to eliminate the liquid resource requirement as a prerequisite to receiving conditional payments.
Social Security Administration -- Representative Payment Under Titles II, VIII and XVI of the Social Security Act2008-Nov-108-26680We are amending our rules governing how we investigate representative payee applicants. Under these rules, any payee who previously satisfied the payee investigation criteria, including a face-to-face interview, and currently serves as a payee generally need not appear for another face-to-face interview when subsequently applying to become a payee unless we determine within our discretion, that a new face-to-face interview is necessary. The payee applicant would still be required to satisfy the rest of the investigation process as set forth in the regulations. Reducing the number of subsequent face-to-face interviews of payee applicants will streamline our representative payee application process, allowing payee applicants to become qualified more quickly when they already serve as a payee. This rule also will expedite payment of benefits in certain representative payee situations and reduce the burden on our field office employees by eliminating the necessity of interviewing such payee applicants.
Social Security Administration -- Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge2008-Nov-108-26681We propose to amend our rules to clarify that the agency is responsible for setting the time and place for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Consistent with our regulations at lower levels of the administrative process, we propose to use ``we'' or ``us'' in the rules setting the time and place for a hearing. These changes will ensure greater flexibility in scheduling hearings both in person and via video teleconferencing and will aid us in our effort to increase efficiency in the hearing process and reduce the number of pending hearings. The number of cases awaiting a hearing has reached historic proportions, and efforts toward greater efficiency are critical to addressing this problem.
Social Security Administration -- Technical Revisions to Overpayment Rules2008-Nov-048-26224These rules amend our title II regulations to explicitly provide that we apply an underpayment due an individual to reduce an overpayment to that individual in certain cases. Our title XVI regulations already state this policy. Additionally, these rules reflect our procedures for collecting overpayments when a payment of more than the correct amount is made to a representative payee on behalf of a beneficiary after the beneficiary's death. These rules clarify that we collect overpayments in this situation from only the representative payee or his estate but not from the representative payee's spouse or from the spouse's estate.
Social Security Administration -- Technical Amendments to Definition of Persons Closely Approaching Retirement Age2008-Oct-298-25532We are modifying the rules we use to determine disability under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (``Act'') to revise the definition of persons ``closely approaching retirement age'' from ``60-64'' to ``60 or older.'' These changes acknowledge that we make disability determinations for persons over age 64. We are also making minor technical changes that will not have any effect on how we determine your eligibility for benefits.
Social Security Administration -- Revisions to Rules on Representation of Parties2008-Sep-088-20500We are proposing several revisions to our rules on representation of parties. These proposed rules would recognize entities as representatives, define the concept of a principal representative, and authorize principal representatives to sign and file a claim for benefits on behalf of a claimant. These proposed rules would also mandate the use of Form SSA-1696 to appoint, revoke, or withdraw an appointment of a representative, and to waive a fee or direct payment of the fee. We propose to define the concept of a professional representative and require professional representatives to use our electronic services as they become available, including requiring professional representatives to submit certain requests for reconsideration or a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) electronically. Finally, we propose to require representatives to keep paper copies of certain documents that we may require. We are proposing these revisions to reflect changes in representatives' business practices and to improve our efficiency by enhancing use of the Internet.
Social Security Administration -- Authorization of Representative Fees2008-Aug-268-19674We propose to revise our rules regarding payment of representative fees to allow representatives to charge and receive a fee from third parties without requiring our authorization in certain instances. We also propose to eliminate the requirement that we authorize fees for legal guardians or court-appointed representatives who provide representational services in claims before us if a court has already authorized their fees. We are proposing these revisions to reflect changes in representatives' business practices, and in the ways in which claimants obtain representation, and to make more efficient the way we process representative fees.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Hearing Loss2008-Aug-138-18718We propose to revise the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (the listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving hearing loss. We apply these criteria when you claim benefits based on disability under title II and title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). The proposed revisions reflect current medical knowledge, treatment, and methods of evaluating hearing loss, as well as our adjudicative experience since the publication of the current rules.
Transportation Department -- Elimination of Route Designation Requirement for Motor Carriers Transporting Passengers Over Regular Routes2008-Aug-078-18173FMCSA proposes to discontinue its current requirement that applicants seeking authority to transport passengers over regular routes submit a detailed description and a map of the route(s) over which they propose to operate. The Agency would register such carriers as regular-route carriers without requiring designation of specific regular routes and fixed end-points. Once these regular-route motor carriers have obtained operating authority from FMCSA, they would no longer need to seek additional FMCSA approval in order to change or add routes. By eliminating the need to file and process multiple requests concerning routes, the Agency believes this action will decrease the paperwork burden on regular-route motor carriers seeking to expand or change their routes without compromising safety. It will also decrease the Agency's own paperwork burden. Each registered regular-route motor carrier of passengers would continue to be subject to the full safety oversight and enforcement program of FMCSA and its State and local partners.
Social Security Administration -- Technical Revisions to Overpayment Rules2008-Jul-178-16330These proposed rules would amend our title II regulations to explicitly provide that we apply an underpayment due an individual to reduce an overpayment to that individual in certain cases. Our title XVI regulations already state this policy. Additionally, these proposed rules reflect our procedures for collecting overpayments when a payment of more than the correct amount is made to a representative payee on behalf of a beneficiary after the beneficiary's death. These proposed rules would clarify that we would collect overpayments in this situation from only the representative payee or his estate but would not collect these overpayments from the representative payee's spouse or from the spouse's estate.
Social Security Administration -- Technical Changes to the Title II Regulations2008-Jul-178-16332We are issuing this direct final rule to make technical corrections to our title II regulations affecting the Federal Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance programs. This rule amends our regulations by correcting a cross-reference affecting entitlement to mother's and father's benefits, to include alternatives to the 9-month duration of marriage requirement. We are deleting an out-of-date cross- reference to the definition of ``substantially all.'' In its place, we are restoring the regulatory definition for ``substantially all'' that had been inadvertently deleted to show if a grandchild or stepgrandchild is dependent based on our support requirements. Also, we are revising headings in six of our regulations to conform to plain language provisions of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866, as amended. We are also amending one of our regulations for clarity and to correct a typographical error.
Social Security Administration -- Technical Amendments to Definition of Persons Closely Approaching Retirement Age2008-Jun-208-13789We propose to modify our rules on age used in determining disability under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (``The Act'') to revise the definition of persons ``closely approaching retirement age'' from ``60-64'' to ``60 or older.'' The purpose of these changes is to acknowledge that we make disability determinations for individuals over age 64. These proposed changes are technical corrections that would help to explain how we currently determine disability for such individuals and would not have any substantive effect.
Social Security Administration -- Clarification of Evidentiary Standard for Determinations and Decisions2008-Jun-138-13282These proposed rules clarify that we apply the preponderance of the evidence standard when we make determinations and decisions at all levels of our administrative review processes. These proposed rules would not change our policy that the Appeals Council applies the substantial evidence standard when it reviews an administrative law judge's decision to determine whether to grant a request for review. We also propose to explicitly define substantial evidence and preponderance of the evidence in applying these rules.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of the Expiration Date for Several Body Systems Listings2008-May-308-12124This final rule extends until July 1, 2010, the date on which Listing of Impairments (the listings) for six body systems will no longer be effective. We use the listings at the third step of the sequential evaluation process when we evaluate your claim for benefits based on disability under title II and title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). Other than extending the effective date of the listings, we have made no revisions to the listings; they remain the same as they now appear in the Code of Federal Regulations. This extension will ensure that we continue to have the medical evaluation criteria in the listings to adjudicate disability claims involving these body systems at the third step of the sequential evaluation process.
Social Security Administration -- Amendments to the Ticket To Work and Self-Sufficiency Program2008-May-208-10879We are revising our regulations for the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program (Ticket to Work program), which was authorized by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999. The Ticket to Work program provides Social Security Disability Insurance and disabled Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries expanded options for access to employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, and other support services. We are revising our prior rules to improve the overall effectiveness of the program to maximize the economic self-sufficiency of beneficiaries through work opportunities. We have based these revisions on our projections of the future direction of the Ticket to Work program, our experience using the prior rules, and recommendations made by commenters on the program.
Social Security Administration -- Parent-to-Child Deeming From Stepparents2008-May-158-10800We are changing the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) parent- to-child deeming rules so that we no longer will consider the income and resources of a stepparent when an eligible child resides in the household with a stepparent, but that child's natural or adoptive parent has permanently left the household. These rules respond to a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, codified in Social Security Acquiescence Ruling (AR) 99-1(2), and establish a uniform national policy. Also, we are making uniform the age at which we consider someone to be a ``child'' in SSI program regulations and are making other minor clarifications to our rules.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Malignant Neoplastic Diseases2008-Apr-288-9170We propose to revise the criteria in parts A and B of the Listing of Impairments (the listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving malignant neoplastic diseases. We apply these criteria when you claim benefits based on disability under title II and title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). The proposed revisions reflect our adjudicative experience, as well as advances in medical knowledge, treatment, and methods of evaluating malignant neoplastic diseases.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Cardiovascular Disorders2008-Apr-168-8111We are requesting your comments on whether and how we should update and revise the criteria we use to evaluate claims involving cardiovascular disorders in adults and children. These criteria are found in sections 4.00 and 104.00 of the Listing of Impairments in appendix 1 to subpart P of part 404 of our regulations (the listings). We are requesting your comments as part of our ongoing effort to ensure that the listings are up-to-date. After we have considered your comments and suggestions, other information about advances in medical knowledge, treatment, and methods of evaluating cardiovascular disorders, and our program experience using the current listings, we will determine whether we should revise any of the cardiovascular listings. If we propose specific revisions to the listings, we will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Immune System Disorders2008-Mar-188-5023We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (the listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving immune system disorders. We apply these criteria when you claim benefits based on disability under title II and title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). The revisions reflect our adjudicative experience, as well as advances in medical knowledge, treatment, and methods of evaluating immune system disorders.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating HIV Infection2008-Mar-188-5022In a separate notice in today's edition of the Federal Register, we are publishing final rules revising the criteria we use to evaluate immune system disorders, found in sections 14.00 and 114.00 of the Listing of Impairments in appendix 1 to subpart P of part 404 of our regulations (the listings). In those rules, we indicate that we will issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) inviting public comments on how we might update and revise listings 14.08 and 114.08, our listings for evaluating HIV infection. We are now requesting your comments and suggestions about possible revisions to those listings. After we have considered your comments and suggestions, other information about advances in medical knowledge, treatment, and methods of evaluating HIV infection, and our program experience using the current listings, we will determine whether we should revise listings 14.08 and 114.08. If we propose specific revisions to the listings, we will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register.
Social Security Administration -- Representative Payment Under Titles II, VIII and XVI of the Social Security Act2008-Mar-118-4781We propose to amend our rules governing how we investigate representative payee applicants. Under these proposed rules, any payee who has previously satisfied the payee investigation process including a face-to-face interview and is currently serving as a payee, need not appear for another face-to-face interview when making a subsequent application to become a payee, unless we determine, within our discretion, that a new face-to-face interview is necessary. This change would streamline our representative payee application process, thereby allowing payee applicants to become qualified in a shorter timeframe when they have already been investigated. This should expedite the payment of benefits in certain representative payee situations. It will also reduce the burden to the public and reduce traffic in our field offices when a payee applicant has already satisfied the face-to-face interview required by law.
Social Security Administration -- Amendment to the Attorney Advisor Program2008-Mar-038-3945We are issuing this final rule to adopt without change the interim final rule we published on August 9, 2007, which temporarily modifies the prehearing procedures we follow in claims for Social Security disability benefits and supplemental security income (SSI) payments based on disability or blindness. Under this final rule, we are permitting certain attorney advisors to conduct certain prehearing proceedings, and where the documentary record developed as a result of these proceedings warrants, issue decisions that are wholly favorable to the parties to the hearing.
Social Security Administration -- Suspension of New Claims to the Federal Reviewing Official Review Level2008-Jan-158-148We are modifying our disability administrative adjudication processes to suspend new claims to the Federal reviewing official (FedRO) level, now operating in the Boston region. Claims already transferred to the Office of the Federal Reviewing Official (OFedRO) for FedRO review will continue to be processed by the OFedRO and a related component of the disability determination process, the Medical and Vocational Expert System (MVES), commonly known as the Office of Medical and Vocational Expertise (OMVE). We are making these changes to ensure that we continually improve our disability adjudication process.
Social Security Administration -- Methods for Conducting Personal Conferences When Waiver of Recovery of a Title II or Title XVI Overpayment Cannot Be Approved2008-Jan-118-314We are revising our title II regulations and adding title XVI regulations on personal conferences when waiver of recovery of an overpayment cannot be approved. These final rules allow for the conferences to be conducted face-to-face, by telephone, or by video teleconference in these circumstances.
Social Security Administration -- Parent-to-Child Deeming From Stepparents2007-Dec-217-24787We propose to change the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) parent-to-child deeming rules so that we would no longer consider the income and resources of a stepparent when an eligible child resides in the household with a stepparent, but that child's natural or adoptive parent has permanently left the household. These proposed rules would respond to a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Social Security Acquiescence Ruling (AR) 99-1(2) currently applies the Court's decision to individuals who reside in Connecticut, New York, and Vermont. These rules propose to establish a uniform national policy with respect to this issue. Also, we propose to make uniform the age at which we consider someone to be a ``child'' in SSI program regulations and to make other minor clarifications to our rules.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Functional Limitations Due to Digestive Disorders2007-Dec-127-24061On October 19, 2007, we published final rules in the Federal Register (72 FR 59397) revising the criteria in sections 5.00 and 105.00 of the Listing of Impairments in appendix 1 to subpart P of part 404 of our regulations (the listings), the sections that we use to evaluate claims involving digestive disorders. In those rules, we indicated that we would issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) inviting public comments on whether we should add a functional listing for digestive disorders, and if so, what functional criteria would be appropriate (72 FR at 59416). We are now requesting your comments and suggestions. After we have considered your comments and suggestions, other information about the functional effects of digestive disorders, and our adjudicative experience, we will determine whether it is appropriate to add a functional listing for digestive disorders. If we decide to add such a listing, we will publish for public comment a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that will propose specific revisions to the rules.
Social Security Administration -- Amendments to the Administrative Law Judge, Appeals Council, and Decision Review Board Appeals Levels2007-Oct-297-20690We propose to include in parts 404 and 416 of our rules many of the hearing level procedures now in place for disability cases in the Boston region. This change will expand those rules nationwide and apply them to hearings on both disability and non-disability matters. We expect these rules will make the hearings process more efficient and help us reduce the hearings backlog, which has reached historic proportions, thereby benefiting all individuals requesting a hearing. We also propose to amend our rules governing the final level of the administrative review process to make proceedings at that level more like those used by a Federal appellate court when it reviews the decision of a district court, to establish procedures for appeals to that level, and to change the name of the body that will hear such appeals from the ``Appeals Council,'' or the ``Decision Review Board'' in the Boston region, to the ``Review Board.'' Consistent with the change to a more truly appellate process, we suggest limiting the circumstances in which new evidence may be added to the record during the appeals process. We also propose circumscribing the time period covered in any subsequent administrative hearing on remand from the Review Board or a Federal court to the time period covered by the first administrative law judge's (ALJ) hearing decision in the case.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Digestive Disorders2007-Oct-197-20235We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (the listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving digestive disorders. We apply these criteria when you claim benefits based on disability under title II and title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). The revisions reflect advances in medical knowledge, methods of evaluating digestive disorders, treatment, and our program experience. We are also removing listings that are redundant because they only refer to other listings, and we are making other conforming changes.
Social Security Administration -- Technical Updates to Applicability of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Reduced Benefit Rate for Individuals Residing in Medical Treatment Facilities2007-Sep-257-18815This document contains a correction to the final rules that were published in the Federal Register on September 5, 2007 (72 FR 50871). The final rules amended our regulations to reflect two provisions of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 that affect the payment of benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). One of the provisions extended temporary institutionalization benefits to children receiving SSI benefits who enter private medical treatment facilities and who otherwise would be ineligible for temporary institutionalization benefits because of private insurance coverage. The other provision replaced obsolete terminology in the Act that referred to particular kinds of medical facilities and substituted a broader, more descriptive term.
Social Security Administration -- Amendments to the Quick Disability Determination Process2007-Sep-067-17533We are amending our regulations to extend the quick disability determination process (QDD), which is operating now in the Boston region, to all of the State disability determination services (DDSs). We also are removing from the QDD process the existing requirements that each State DDS maintain a separate QDD unit and that each case referred under QDD be adjudicated within 20 days. These actions stem from our continuing effort to improve our disability adjudication process.
Social Security Administration -- Technical Updates to Applicability of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Reduced Benefit Rate for Individuals Residing in Medical Treatment Facilities2007-Sep-057-17403We are revising our regulations to reflect two provisions of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 that affect the payment of benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). One of the provisions extended temporary institutionalization benefits to children receiving SSI benefits who enter private medical treatment facilities and who otherwise would be ineligible for temporary institutionalization benefits because of private insurance coverage. The other provision replaced obsolete terminology in the Act that referred to particular kinds of medical facilities and substituted a broader, more descriptive term.
Social Security Administration -- Proposed Suspension of New Claims to the Federal Reviewing Official Review Level, Changes to the Role of the Medical and Vocational Expert System, and Future Demonstration Projects2007-Aug-157-16071We propose to modify our disability administrative adjudication processes to suspend new claims to the Federal reviewing official (FedRO) level, now operating in the Boston region. Claims already received will continue to be processed by the FedRO and a related component of the disability determination process, the Medical and Vocational Expert System (MVES), commonly known as the Office of Medical and Vocational Expertise (OMVE). We also propose to remove the MVES/OMVE from the disability adjudication process for new claims. We are making these proposals to ensure that we continually improve our disability adjudication process. Lastly, we are requesting comments on using the MVES/OMVE to develop and manage a national registry of experts.
Social Security Administration -- Improvements to the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program2007-Aug-137-15715We are proposing to revise our regulations for the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program (Ticket to Work program), authorized by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999. The Ticket to Work program provides beneficiaries with disabilities expanded options for access to employment, vocational rehabilitation, and other support services. The program is an important part of the comprehensive SSA work opportunity initiative which is focused on helping beneficiaries with disabilities who want to work to do so. We are proposing revisions to our current Ticket to Work program rules to simplify and improve the definition of ``using a ticket'' and our related requirements for measuring ``timely progress toward self-supporting employment.''
Social Security Administration -- Temporary Extension of Attorney Fee Payment System to Title XVI; 5-Year Demonstration Project Extending Fee Withholding and Payment Procedures to Eligible Non-Attorney Representatives; Definition of Past-Due Benefits; and Assessment for Fee Payment Services2007-Aug-097-15242We are issuing these final rules to adopt without change the interim final rules published on April 5, 2007 to reflect in our regulations three self-implementing statutory provisions in the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA) and three related self- implementing provisions in earlier legislation. These earlier provisions are in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA), the Social Security Independence and Program Improvements Act of 1994 (SSIPIA), and the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (TWWIIA).
Social Security Administration -- Amendment to the Attorney Advisor Program2007-Aug-097-15422We are announcing this interim final rule to modify, on a temporary basis, the prehearing procedures we follow in claims for Social Security disability benefits or supplemental security income (SSI) payments based on disability or blindness. Under the interim final rule, we may allow certain attorney advisors, under managerial oversight, to conduct certain prehearing proceedings, and where the documentary record developed as a result of these proceedings warrants, issue decisions that are wholly favorable to the parties to the hearing.
Social Security Administration -- Sixty-Month Period of Employment Requirement for Government Pension Offset Exemption2007-Aug-037-15057To implement section 418 of the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA), we propose to revise our regulations to explain that a State or local government worker will be subject to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision under title II of the Social Security Act (the Act), if any part of the last 60 months of government service was not covered by Social Security. We also propose to replace the words ``receiving'' and ``received'' with the word ``payable'' when referring to the eligibility to or payout from a government pension. This wording change will make the regulatory and statutory language consistent and help clarify when the GPO is applicable. In addition, we propose to revise our regulations to reflect a separate 60-month requirement that was made applicable to Federal employees by a 1987 law.
Social Security Administration -- Compassionate Allowances2007-Jul-317-14686Under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act), we pay benefits to individuals who meet our rules for entitlement and have medically determinable physical or mental impairments that are severe enough to meet the definition of disability in the Act. The rules for determining disability can be very complicated, but some individuals have such serious medical conditions that their conditions obviously meet our disability standards. To address these individuals' needs, we strive to provide not only responsive, but also compassionate, public service that ensures the most severely disabled in our society who meet the Act's requirements are awarded benefits quickly. To that end, we are investigating methods of making ``compassionate allowances'' by quickly identifying individuals with obvious disabilities. The purpose of this notice is to give you an opportunity to send us comments about what standards we should use for compassionate allowances, methods we might use to identify compassionate allowances, and suggestions for how to implement those standards and methods.
Social Security Administration -- Amendments to the Quick Disability Determination Process2007-Jul-107-13288We propose to amend our regulations to extend the quick disability determination process (QDD), which is operating now in the Boston region, to all of the State disability determination services. We also propose to remove from the QDD process the existing requirements that each State disability determination service maintain a separate QDD unit and that each case referred under QDD be adjudicated within 20 days. These proposed actions stem from our continuing effort to improve our disability adjudication process.
Social Security Administration -- Extension of the Expiration Date for Several Body System Listings2007-Jun-197-11752We use the Listing of Impairments (the listings) at the third step of the sequential evaluation process when we evaluate your claim for benefits based on disability under title II and title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). This final rule extends until July 1, 2008, the date on which the listings for eight body systems will no longer be effective. Other than extending the effective date of the listings, we have made no revisions to the listings; they remain the same as they now appear in the Code of Federal Regulations. This extension will ensure that we continue to have the medical evaluation criteria in the listings to adjudicate disability claims involving these body systems at the third step of the sequential evaluation process.
Social Security Administration -- Temporary Extension of Attorney Fee Payment System to Title XVI; 5-Year Demonstration Project Extending Fee Withholding and Payment Procedures to Eligible Non-Attorney Representatives; Definition of Past-Due Benefits; and Assessment for Fee Payment Services2007-Apr-057-6383We are issuing these interim final rules to reflect in our regulations three self-implementing statutory provisions in the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA) and three related self- implementing provisions in earlier legislation. These earlier provisions are in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA), the Social Security Independence and Program Improvements Act of 1994 (SSIPIA), and the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (TWWIIA).
Social Security Administration -- Technical Updates to Applicability of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Reduced Benefit Rate for Individuals Residing in Medical Treatment Facilities2007-Mar-267-5134We propose to revise our regulations to codify two provisions of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 that affect the payment of benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). One of the provisions extended temporary institutionalization benefits to children receiving SSI benefits who enter private medical treatment facilities and who otherwise would be ineligible for temporary institutionalization benefits because of private insurance coverage. The other provision replaced obsolete terminology in the Act that referred to particular kinds of medical facilities and substituted a broader, more descriptive term.
Social Security Administration -- Consultative Examination-Annual Onsite Review of Medical Providers2007-Mar-207-4958We propose to revise the threshold billing amount that triggers annual onsite reviews of medical providers who conduct consultative examinations (CEs) for our disability programs under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). The proposed revision would raise the threshold amount to reflect the increase in billing amounts since we first established the threshold amount in 1991. This proposed revision is intended to restore the level of oversight originally required by our rules.
Social Security Administration -- Methods for Conducting Personal Conferences When Waiver of Recovery of a Title II or Title XVI Overpayment Cannot Be Approved2007-Mar-057-3782We propose to revise our title II regulations and add title XVI regulations on personal conferences when waiver of recovery of an overpayment cannot be approved. These proposed rules would allow for the conferences to be conducted face-to-face, by telephone, or by video teleconference in these circumstances.
Social Security Administration -- Optometrists as “Acceptable Medical Sources” To Establish a Medically Determinable Impairment2007-Mar-017-3577We are revising the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability regulations regarding sources of evidence for establishing a medically determinable impairment under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). The revised regulations expand the situations in which we consider licensed optometrists to be ``acceptable medical sources.''
Social Security Administration -- Title II Cost of Living Increases in Primary Insurance Amounts2007-Jan-187-620We are revising our rules that deal with automatic cost-of- living increases to primary insurance amounts under title II of the Social Security Act (the Act). The revision is necessary because, beginning with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will publish the CPI to three decimal places. The CPI is currently published to one decimal place as is now reflected in our regulations. With this revision, our rules will conform to the change in the reporting of the CPI.
Social Security Administration -- Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Visual Disorders2006-Nov-2006-9236We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (the listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving visual disorders. We apply these criteria when you claim benefits based on disability under title II and title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). The revisions reflect our program experience and advances in medical knowledge, treatment, and methods of evaluating visual disorders.
Social Security Administration -- Rules for the Issuance of Work Report Receipts, Payment of Benefits for Trial Work Period Service Months After a Fraud Conviction, Changes to the Student Earned Income Exclusion, and Expansion of the Reentitlement Period for Childhood Disability Benefits2006-Nov-176-19232We are revising our rules to reflect and implement sections 202, 208, 420A, and 432 of the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (the SSPA). Section 202 of the SSPA requires us to issue a receipt each time you or your representative report a change in your work activity or give us documentation of a change in your earnings if you receive benefits based on disability under title II or title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act). Section 208 changes the way we pay benefits during the trial work period if you are convicted by a Federal court of fraudulently concealing your work activity. Section 420A changed the law to allow you to become reentitled to childhood disability benefits under title II at any time if your previous entitlement to childhood disability benefits was terminated because of the performance of substantial gainful activity. Section 432 changes the way we decide if you are eligible for the student earned income exclusion. We will also apply the student earned income exclusion when determining the countable income of an ineligible spouse or ineligible parent. We are also changing the SSI student policy to include home schooling as a form of regular school attendance.
Social Security Administration -- Exemption of Work Activity as a Basis for a Continuing Disability Review2006-Nov-176-19255We are publishing these final rules to amend our regulations to carry out section 221(m) of the Social Security Act (the Act). Section 221(m) affects our rules for when we will conduct a continuing disability review if you work and receive benefits under title II of the Act based on disability. (We interpret this section to include you if you receive both title II disability benefits and title XVI (Supplemental Security Income (SSI)) payments based on disability.) It also affects our rules on how we evaluate work activity when we decide if you have engaged in substantial gainful activity for purposes of determining whether your disability has ended. In addition, section 221(m) of the Act affects certain other standards we use when we determine whether your disability continues or ends. We are also amending our regulations concerning how we determine whether your disability continues or ends. These revisions will codify our existing operating instructions for how we consider certain work at the last two steps of our continuing disability review process. We are also revising our disability regulations to incorporate some rules which are contained in another part of our regulations and which apply if you are using a ticket under the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency program (the Ticket to Work program). In addition, we are amending our regulations to eliminate the secondary substantial gainful activity amount that we currently use to evaluate work you did as an employee before January 2001.
Social Security Administration -- Medicare Part B Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount2006-Oct-276-17690We are adding to our regulations a new subpart, Medicare Part B Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount, to contain the rules we will follow for Medicare Part B income-related monthly adjustment amount determinations. The monthly adjustment amount represents the amount of decrease in the Medicare Part B premium subsidy, i.e. the amount of the Federal Government's contribution to the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund. This new subpart implements section 811 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (the Medicare Modernization Act or MMA) and contains the rules for determining when, based on income, a monthly adjustment amount will be added to a Medicare Part B beneficiary's standard monthly premium. These final rules describe: What the new subpart is about; what information we will use to determine whether you will pay an income-related monthly adjustment amount and the amount of the adjustment when applicable; when we will consider a major life- changing event that results in a significant reduction in your modified adjusted gross income; and how you can appeal our determination about your income-related monthly adjustment amount.
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