[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 178 (Wednesday, September 15, 1999)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 50012-50014]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-23829]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 64, No. 178 / Wednesday, September 15, 1999 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 50012]]


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FEDERAL RETIREMENT THRIFT INVESTMENT BOARD

5 CFR Part 1630


Privacy Act Regulations; Implementation

AGENCY: Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

ACTION: Proposed rule with request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Executive Director of the Federal Retirement Thrift 
Investment Board (Board) is publishing a proposed amendment to the 
Board's Privacy Act regulations. Under the proposed amendment, 
procedures will be added to cover records maintained for spouses, 
former spouses, and beneficia-ries of Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) 
participants.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before November 15, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be sent to Thomas L. Gray, Federal Retirement 
Thrift Investment Board, 1250 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005. FAX 
(202) 942-1676.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas L. Gray, (202) 942-1662.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Board administers the TSP, which was 
established by the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 
(FERSA), Pub. L. 99-335, 100 Stat. 514. The provisions governing the 
TSP are codified, as amended, largely at 5 U.S.C. 8351 and 8401-8479 
(1994). The TSP is a taxdeferred retirement savings plan for Federal 
employees which is similar to cash or deferred arrangements established 
under section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code. Sums in a 
participant's TSP account are held in trust for the participant. 5 
U.S.C. 8437(g).
    The Board is an independent agency established in the executive 
branch of the United States Government that is subject to the Privacy 
Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a. On May 7, 1990, initial Board regulations 
implementing the Privacy Act were published in the Federal Register at 
55 FR 18851. An amendment to these regulations was published in the May 
20, 1994, Federal Register at 59 FR 26409, to allow the disclosure of 
participant records in response to a copy of an authorization signed by 
the subject of the records, instead of an original signed statement.
    In addition to records similar to other Federal agencies, the Board 
maintains FRTIB-1, Thrift Savings Plan Records, which is a Government-
wide system of records of participants in the TSP. For purposes of this 
part, the definition of TSP participant includes former participants, 
i.e., participants whose accounts have been closed, unless otherwise 
noted. The TSP records system may be maintained for the Board by a 
private contractor or by a Federal agency (record keeper or TSP record 
keeper). The current record keeper is the National Finance Center, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, New Orleans, LA 70161-1500. In addition to 
writing or calling the TSP record keeper, participants may also 
determine whether this system contains records about them and may 
access those records through the TSP Web site and the ThriftLine (the 
TSP's automated telephone system). Because these features require the 
use of the participant's TSP Personal Identification Number (PIN), as 
well as the participant's Social Security number (SSN), they are not 
available to former participants, whose PINs are canceled when their 
accounts are closed.
    This proposed amendment to the Board's rules is necessary because 
the Board is updating its computerized data base for the TSP record 
keeping system. Under the new TSP record keeping system, in addition to 
records on participants, FRTIB-1 will include records on spouses, 
former spouses, and beneficiaries of participants. The Privacy Act 
defines a record as ``any item, collection, or grouping of information 
about an individual that is maintained by an agency * * *.'' 5 U.S.C. 
552a(a)(4). A system of records is defined as ``a group of any records 
under the control of any agency from which information is retrieved by 
the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or 
other identifying particular assigned to the individual.'' Id. 
552a(a)(5).
    A spouse or former spouse may be entitled to a payment from a 
participant's account as the result of an award made under a qualifying 
domestic relations court order. Under the new TSP record keeping 
system, a record that is retrieved by the Social Security number (SSN) 
of the spouse or former spouse will be created in the FRTIB-1 system of 
records at the same time that the decision letter is mailed, if the SSN 
is known. If the individual's SSN is not known, a record will be 
created as soon thereafter as the SSN is provided to the TSP record 
keeper.
    In addition, following a participant's death, the amount remaining 
in the account will be paid as a death benefit payment to the 
participant's beneficiary or beneficiaries in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 
8424(d). A record that is retrieved by the SSN of the beneficiary or 
beneficiaries will be created in the FRTIB-1 system of records at the 
same time that a notice of pending Thrift Savings Plan payment and tax 
withholding information is mailed, if the SSN is known (or as soon 
thereafter as the SSN is provided to the TSP record keeper).
    Proposed rule changes to 5 CFR 1630 establish procedures for 
granting access to records regarding a spouse, former spouse, or 
beneficiary. In addition, technical changes have been made to conform 
the regulations to this change and to remove, except where necessary 
for mailing purposes, the name of the TSP Service Office as the record 
keeper. This latter change will mean that the regulations do not have 
to be amended if a new record keeper is appointed.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this amendment will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. It will affect only 
spouses, former spouses, and beneficiaries of TSP participants.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    I certify that this regulation does not require additional 
reporting under the criteria of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, section 201, 
Pub. L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48, 64, the effect of this regulation on 
State, local, and tribal governments and on the private sector has been 
assessed. This regulation will not compel the expenditure in any one

[[Page 50013]]

year of $100 million or more by any State, local, and tribal 
governments in the aggregate, or by the private sector. Therefore, a 
statement under section 202, 109 Stat. 48, 64-65, is not required.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 1651

    Employee benefit plans, Government employees, Pensions, Privacy, 
Retirement.
Roger W. Mehle,
Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.
    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, part 1630 of chapter VI 
of title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 1630--PRIVACY ACT REGULATIONS

    1. The authority citation for part 1630 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a.

    2. Section 1630.2 is amended as follows:
    a. In paragraph (e) by adding the words ``or the record keeper'' 
after the word ``Board''; and
    b. By redesignating paragraphs (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), (k), (l), 
(m), and (n) as paragraphs (g), (h), (i), (j), (k), (l), (n), (o), and 
(p), respectively, and by adding paragraphs (f) and (m) to read as 
follows:


Sec. 1630.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    (f) Record keeper means the entity that is engaged by the Board to 
perform record keeping services for the TSP;
* * * * *
    (m) TSP participant means any individual for whom a TSP account has 
been established. This includes former participants, i.e., participants 
whose accounts have been closed;
* * * * *
    3. Section 1630.4 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(1) and the 
chart which follows that paragraph, by redesignating paragraphs (a)(2), 
(a)(3), and (a)(4) as paragraphs (a)(3), (a)(4) and (a)(5), and by 
adding a new paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:


Sec. 1630.4  Request for notification and access.

    (a) TSP records. (1) Records on TSP participants and the spouses, 
former spouses, and beneficiaries of TSP participants are maintained in 
the Governmentwide system of records, FRTIB-1, Thrift Savings Plan 
Records. A participant or a spouse, former spouse, or beneficiary of a 
participant must make his or her inquiry in accordance with the chart 
set forth in this paragraph. The mailing address of the Thrift Savings 
Plan Service Office is: National Finance Center, PO Box 61500, New 
Orleans, LA, 70161-1500. Telephone inquiries are subject to the 
verification procedures set forth in Sec. 1630.7. A written inquiry 
must include the name and Social Security number of the participant or 
of the spouse, former spouse, or beneficiary of the participant, as 
appropriate.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
   To obtain information about or gain access to TSP records about you
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        If you are a
                                                     participant who has
                                  If you are a         separated from
        If you want:          participant who is a   Federal employment
                                 current Federal     or a spouse, former
                                    employee:            spouse, or
                                                        beneficiary:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
To make inquiry as to         Call or write to      Call or write to TSP
 whether you are a subject     your employing        record keeper.
 of this system of records.    agency in
                               accordance with
                               agency procedures
                               for personnel or
                               payroll records.
To gain access to a record    Call or write to      Call or write to TSP
 about you.                    your employing        record keeper.
                               agency to request
                               access to personnel
                               and payroll records
                               regarding the
                               agency's and the
                               participant's
                               contributions, and
                               adjustments to
                               contributions. Call
                               or write to the TSP
                               record keeper to
                               gain access to loan
                               status and
                               repayments,
                               earnings,
                               contributions
                               allocation
                               elections,
                               interfund
                               transfers, and
                               withdrawal records.
To learn the history of       Write to TSP record   Write to TSP record
 disclosures of records        keeper.               keeper.
 about you to entities other
 than the participant's
 employing agency or the
 Board or auditors see Sec.
 1630.4(a)(4).
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    (2) Participants may also inquire whether this system contains 
records about them and access certain records through the account 
access section of the TSP Web site and the ThriftLine (the TSP's 
automated telephone system). The TSP Web site is located at 
www.tsp.gov. To use the TSP ThriftLine, the partici-pant must have a 
touch-tone telephone and call the following number (504) 255-8777. The 
following information is available on the TSP Web site and the 
ThriftLine: Account balance; available loan amount; the status of a 
monthly withdrawal payment; the current status of a loan or withdrawal 
application; and an interfund transfer request. To access these 
features the participant will need to provide his or her SSN and PIN.
* * * * *


Sec. 1630.5  [Amended]

    4. Section 1630.5 is amended in paragraphs (a) and (b) by adding 
the words ``or the TSP record keeper'' after the word ``Board''.


Sec. 1630.6  [Amended]

    5. Section 1630.6 is amended in paragraph (a) by removing at the 
end of the first sentence the phrase ``by the Board''.
    6. Section 1630.7 is amended as follows:
    a. In paragraph (a), by adding the words ``or record keeper 
designee,'' after the words ``Privacy Act Officer'' in the third 
sentence;
    b. In paragraph (b), by adding the words ``or record keeper 
designee,'' after the words ``Privacy Act Officer'' in the second 
sentence; and
    c. By revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec. 1630.7   Identification requirements.

* * * * *
    (c) By telephone. (1) Telephone identification procedures apply 
only to requests from participants and spouses, former spouses, or 
beneficiaries of participants for information in FRTIB-1,

[[Page 50014]]

Thrift Savings Plan Records, which is retrieved by their respective 
Social Security numbers.
    (2) A participant or a spouse, former spouse, or beneficiary of a 
participant must identify himself or herself by providing to the record 
keeper designee his or her name, Social Security number, and any other 
information requested. If the record keeper designee determines that 
any of the information provided by telephone is incorrect, the 
requester will be required to submit a request in writing.
    (3) A participant may also access the TSP Web site or call the TSP 
ThriftLine to obtain account information. These systems require the 
participant's Social Security number and PIN. Because a PIN is required 
to use these features, they are not available to former participants, 
whose PINs are canceled when their accounts are closed.


Sec. 1630.8  [Amended]

    7. Section 1630.8 is amended as follows:
    a. In paragraph (a), by removing the second sentence;
    b. In paragraph (b)(1), by adding the words ``or the record 
keeper'' after the word ``Board'; and
    c. In paragraph (b)(5), by adding the words ``or the record 
keeper'' after the word ``Board'' in the first sentence, and by adding 
the words ``or record keeper designee'' after the words ``Privacy Act 
Officer'' in the second sentence.


Sec. 1630.11  [Amended]

    8. Section 1630.11 is amended as follows:
    a. In paragraph (a)(1), by adding the following sentence at the 
beginning of the paragraph:
    (a) * * * (1) A spouse, former spouse or beneficiary of a TSP 
participant who wants to correct or amend his or her record must write 
to the TSP record keeper. * * *
    b. In paragraph (a)(1) by revising the chart to read as follows:

 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    To correct or amend a TSP record
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         If you are a
                                     If you are a       participant who
    If the type of record is:     participant who is  has separated from
                                   a current Federal  Federal employment
                                  employee write to:       write to:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Personnel or personal records     Write to your       Write to TSP
 (e.g., age, address, Social       employing agency.   record keeper.
 Security number, date of birth).
The agency's and the              Write to your       Write to your
 participant's contributions,      employing agency.   former employing
 and adjustments to                                    agency.
 contributions.
Earnings, investment allocation,  Write to TSP        Write to TSP
 interfund transfers, loans,       record keeper.      record keeper.
 loan repayments, and
 withdrawals.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    c. In paragraph (a)(3), by removing the following language from the 
first sentence, ``the procedures set forth for agencies and the Board 
(including the TSP Service Office which is the Board's record keeper) 
in''; and
    d. In paragraph (a)(5), by revising the last two sentences to read 
as follows:
    (a) * * *
    (5) * * * The employing agency also has custody of the election 
form (which is maintained in the Official Personnel Folder). Requests 
for amendment or correction of records described in this paragraph 
should be made to the employing agency.
* * * * *


Sec. 1630.14  [Amended]

    9. Section 1630.14 is amended in paragraph (c) by adding the words 
``or the record keeper'' after the word ``Board'' in the first 
sentence.


Sec. 1630.16  [Amended]

    10. Section 1630.16 is amended in paragraph (d)(1) by adding the 
words ``to be'' after the word ``amount''.


Sec. 1630.2, 1630.4, 1630.6, 1630.11, 1630.12 and 1630.16   [Amended]

    11. The words ``Thrift Savings Plan Service Office'', ``TSP Service 
Office'' and ``Head, TSP Service Office'' are revised to read ``record 
keeper'' in the following sections:
    1630.2(n);
    1630.4(a)(2) in all three sentences;
    1630.6(a) in sentence two;
    1630.11(a)(2);
    1630.12(a) in sentences one and two; and
    1630.16(c).


Sec. 1630.6 and 1630.10  [Amended]

    12. The words ``Head, TSP Service Office, or designee'' are revised 
to read ``record keeper designee'' in the following sections:
    1630.6(a) in sentence one;
    1630.10(a); and
    1630.10(a)(1).
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 99-23829 Filed 9-14-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6760-01-P