[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 132 (Tuesday, July 10, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 40524-40525]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-16810]


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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

38 CFR Part 3

RIN 2900-AO38


Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Payable to a Surviving 
Spouse With One or More Children Under Age 18

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is issuing this final 
rule to amend its adjudication regulation regarding the additional 
statutory amount of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payable 
to a surviving spouse with one or more children below the age of 18. 
The Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2006 
redesignated the statutory section cited in VA's governing regulation. 
This amendment is necessary to conform the regulation to the statutory 
provision.

DATES: Effective Date: This final rule is effective July 10, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nancy A. Copeland, Consultant, 
Regulations Staff (211D), Compensation and Pension Service, Veterans 
Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont 
Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 461-9685. (This is not a toll-
free number.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 
2004 amended 38 U.S.C. 1311, Dependency and indemnity compensation 
[DIC] to a surviving spouse, by adding a subsection (e) which provides 
a $250 increase in the monthly rate of DIC to which a surviving spouse 
with one or more children below the age of 18 is entitled. Sec. 301, 
Public Law 108-454, 118 Stat. 3610. This statutory change was 
incorporated as 38 CFR 3.10(e)(4). See 71 FR 44915, Aug. 8, 2006.
    However, because 38 U.S.C. 1311 already contained a subsection (e), 
Congress amended 38 U.S.C. 1311 by redesignating the new subsection (e) 
as subsection (f). See Sec. 4, Public Law 109-361, 120 Stat. 2063. To 
reflect this statutory technical amendment, VA is amending the first 
sentence of 38 CFR 3.10(e)(4) to change the citation from 38 U.S.C. 
1311(e) to 38 U.S.C. 1311(f).
    We are also removing the authority citation at the end of paragraph 
(e). This citation is unnecessary because the regulation text itself 
contains the correct statutory citation and the authority citation at 
the end of Sec.  3.10 includes Sec.  1311 in its entirety.

[[Page 40525]]

Administrative Procedures Act

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs finds that there is good cause 
under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to publish this rule without 
prior opportunity for public comment. The change made by this rule 
merely reflects a minor statutory technical amendment. Therefore, VA is 
issuing this rule as a final rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This document contains no provisions constituting a new collection 
of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Secretary hereby certifies that this rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities 
as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-
612. This rule would not affect any small entities. Only VA 
beneficiaries could be directly affected. Therefore, pursuant to 5 
U.S.C. 605(b), this rule is exempt from the initial and final 
regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of sections 603 and 604.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, and other advantages; distributive impacts; 
and equity). Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory 
Review) emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and 
benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. 
Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) defines a 
``significant regulatory action,'' which requires review by the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB), as ``any regulatory action that is 
likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the 
economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way 
the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, 
the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal 
governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or 
otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; 
(3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user 
fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in 
this Executive Order.''
    The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy 
implications of this regulatory action have been examined and it has 
been determined not to be a significant regulatory action under 
Executive Order 12866.

Unfunded Mandates

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires, at 2 U.S.C. 
1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and 
benefits before issuing any rule that may result in the expenditure by 
State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the 
private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for 
inflation) in any year. This rule would have no such effect on State, 
local, and tribal governments, or on the private sector.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers and Titles

    The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance program numbers and 
titles for this rule are 64.109, Veterans Compensation for Service-
Connected Disability, and 64.110, Veterans Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation for Service-Connected Death.

Signing Authority

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this 
document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document 
to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as 
an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. John R. 
Gingrich, Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this 
document on July 3, 2012, for publication.

List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 3

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

    Dated: July 5, 2012.
Robert C. McFetridge,
Director of Regulation Policy and Management, Office of the General 
Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, VA amends 38 CFR part 3 as 
follows:

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.


Sec.  3.10  [Amended]

0
2. Amend Sec.  3.10 by:
0
a. In paragraph (e)(4), removing ``38 U.S.C. 1311(e)'' and adding, in 
its place, ``38 U.S.C. 1311(f)''.
0
b. Removing the authority citation at the end of paragraph (e)(4).

[FR Doc. 2012-16810 Filed 7-9-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8320-01-P