[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 112 (Monday, June 11, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 34218]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-14108]



[[Page 34218]]

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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

38 CFR Part 3

RIN 2900-AN64


Clothing Allowance; Correction

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Final rule; correcting amendment.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a final rule 
on November 16, 2011, amending its adjudication regulations governing 
eligibility for clothing allowances. VA has since determined that 
certain language added to the final rule could be construed to impose a 
restriction that VA did not intend. This document corrects that error.

DATES: This correction is effective June 11, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Kniffen, Chief, Compensation 
Service, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans 
Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 461-9725. 
This is not a toll-free number.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On February 2, 2011, VA published a proposed 
rule (76 FR 5733) to revise 38 CFR 3.810 to clarify the circumstances 
under which a veteran may be entitled to more than one clothing 
allowance. Proposed paragraph (a)(2)(ii) explained that a veteran who 
uses more than one prosthetic or orthopedic appliance or medication 
would be eligible for a clothing allowance for each such appliance or 
medication if each appliance or medication ``[a]ffects a distinct 
article of clothing or outergarment.''
    On November 16, 2011, VA published the final rule (76 FR 70883). In 
the final rule, VA stated that it was revising proposed paragraph 
(a)(2)(ii) in order to ``clarify that the references to garments or 
clothing in this regulation are to types of garments, such as shirts, 
rather than to individual garments, such as a specific shirt'' and to 
make clear that ``more than one clothing allowance is payable when more 
than one type of article of clothing or outergarment is affected.'' The 
final rule revised paragraph (a)(2)(ii) to state that a veteran who 
uses more than one appliance or medication would be eligible for a 
clothing allowance for each such appliance or medication if each 
appliance or medication ``[a]ffects more than one type of article of 
clothing or outergarment.''
    VA has determined that the language of the final rule could be 
construed to mean that each individual appliance or medication used by 
a veteran must affect more than one type of article of clothing or 
outergarment in order to qualify for a clothing allowance. As explained 
in the final-rule notice, however, VA did not intend to impose such a 
requirement, but intended only to clarify that each appliance or 
medication must affect a distinct type of article of clothing or 
outergarment, such as shirts, in order to qualify for a clothing 
allowance. Requiring each appliance or medication to affect more than 
one type of article of clothing or outergarment would impose an 
unintended restriction on eligibility for the clothing allowance and 
would create significant inconsistencies in VA's clothing-allowance 
regulation. To correct this inadvertent error, VA is amending 38 CFR 
3.810(a)(2)(ii) by replacing the words ``more than one type'' with the 
words ``a distinct type''. This change will make clear that an 
appliance or medication only needs to affect a distinct type of 
clothing or outergarment in order to qualify for a clothing allowance. 
This change does not alter the intended meaning of the regulation as 
explained in the proposed rule and the final rule notice, but would 
eliminate the potential for confusion or misinterpretation created by 
the ambiguous language included in the final rule.
    Pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553(b), VA 
has determined that notice and prior opportunity for comment on this 
correcting amendment are unnecessary and contrary to public interest. 
As stated above, this correction is needed to accurately reflect the 
intent of the final rule and codified regulation and ensure that the 
inadvertent error does not adversely affect claimants. We previously 
provided public notice in the Federal Register and considered public 
comments on the proposed rule. See 76 FR 5733 and 76 FR 70883. VA's 
intent and interpretation of Sec.  3.810(a)(2)(ii) has not changed. 
This correction merely ensures clarity of VA's intent and 
interpretation regarding the eligibility for a clothing allowance. For 
these reasons, VA has also determined pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d) that 
there is good cause to make this change effective on the date of its 
publication.

List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 3

    Administrative practice and procedure, Claims, Disability benefits, 
Health care, Pensions, Radioactive materials, Veterans, Vietnam.

    Approved: June 6, 2012.
Robert C. McFetridge,
Direc tor, Regulation Policy and Management, Office of the General 
Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 38 CFR part 3 is corrected 
by making the following correcting amendment:

PART 3--ADJUDICATION

Subpart A--Pension, Compensation, and Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation

0
1. The authority citation for part 3, subpart A continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), unless otherwise noted.


0
2. Amend Sec.  3.810(a)(2)(ii) by removing ``more than one type'' and 
adding, in its place, ``a distinct type''.

[FR Doc. 2012-14108 Filed 6-8-12; 8:45 am]
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