[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 62 (Friday, March 30, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 19079]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-7672]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

20 CFR Part 410

[Docket No. SSA-2012-0012]
RIN 0960-AH48


Removal of Regulations on Black Lung Benefits

AGENCY: Social Security Administration.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This final rule removes regulations on the Black Lung program 
from the Social Security Administration's (SSA) chapter of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (CFR). The Black Lung Consolidation of 
Administrative Responsibility Act transferred the responsibility for 
administering Part B of the Black Lung benefits program from SSA to the 
Department of Labor (DOL), and we are removing the regulations in 
recognition of the fact that we are no longer responsible for 
administering any aspect of the Part B Black Lung program. DOL concurs 
with this final rule removing the regulations.

DATES: This final rule is effective March 30, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Martin Sussman, Social Security 
Administration, Office of Regulations, 6401 Security Boulevard, 
Baltimore, MD 21235-6401, (410) 965-1767. For information on 
eligibility or filing for benefits, call our national toll-free number, 
1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778, or visit our Internet site, 
Social Security Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Brief History of SSA's Portion of the Black Lung Part B Program

    The Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act (FMHSA) of 1969 
established the Black Lung program to pay monthly benefits to coal 
miners, their survivors, and dependents if the miner was disabled by or 
died due to pneumoconiosis. The FMHSA, as amended, established two 
program parts. Part B, administered by SSA, governs miners' and 
survivors' claims filed through June 30, 1973. For those claims 
awarded, Part B also governs claims filed by certain survivors of these 
beneficiaries. Part C, administered by DOL, governs all other claims. 
In 2002, Congress enacted the Black Lung Consolidation of 
Administrative Responsibility Act (Pub. L. 107-275), which formally 
transferred all responsibility for administering the Black Lung program 
to DOL beginning January 31, 2003.
    Thus, because we no longer have responsibility for administering 
the Black Lung Part B program, we are removing the pertinent 
regulations from our chapter of the CFR. DOL concurs with this final 
rule removing these regulations from our chapter of the CFR, and 
concurs that this action does not affect the substantive rights of 
individuals claiming benefits under the Black Lung Part B program.

Regulatory Procedures

    We follow the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) rulemaking 
procedures specified in 5 U.S.C. 553 when we develop regulations. 
Generally, the APA requires that an agency provide prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment before issuing a final rule. The APA 
provides exceptions to its notice and public comment procedures when an 
agency finds good cause for dispensing with such procedures because 
they are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public 
interest.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We find that good cause exists for proceeding without prior public 
notice and comment in this instance. As discussed above, the change we 
are making in this final rule does not affect the substantive rights of 
individuals claiming benefits under the Black Lung Part B program. 
Rather, the change simply reflects Congress' decision in the Black Lung 
Consolidation of Administrative Responsibility Act to transfer 
responsibility for administration of the Black Lung Part B program from 
SSA to DOL. Accordingly, we find that prior public comment would be 
unnecessary in this instance.
    In addition, for the reasons cited above, we also find good cause 
for dispensing with the 30-day delay in the effective date of this 
rule.\2\ Since the change we are making to this rule merely recognizes 
that we are no longer responsible for administering any aspect of the 
Part B Black Lung program, we find that it is contrary to the public 
interest to delay the effective date of our rule. Accordingly, we are 
making this rule effective upon publication.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ See 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Executive Order 12866, as Supplemented by Executive Order 13563

    We have consulted with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
and determined that this final rule does not meet the criteria for a 
significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, as 
supplemented by Executive Order 13563. Thus, it was not subject to OMB 
review.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    We certify that this final rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, as it 
affects individuals only. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis 
is not required under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule imposes no reporting or recordkeeping requirements 
subject to OMB clearance.

Michael J. Astrue,
Commissioner of Social Security.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, under the authority of 
section 702(a)(5) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 902(a)(5), and 
Public Law 107-275, we amend 20 CFR chapter III, part 410, as set forth 
below:

PART 410 [Removed]

0
1. Remove part 410.
[FR Doc. 2012-7672 Filed 3-29-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4191-02-P