[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 233 (Tuesday, December 4, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 71687-71688]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-29164]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 233 / Tuesday, December 4, 2012 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 71687]]



OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

5 CFR Part 870

RIN 3206-AM67


Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Program: Court Orders 
Prior to July 22, 1998

AGENCY: U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Interim final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing an interim 
regulation to amend regulations regarding the effect of any court 
decree of divorce, annulment, or legal separation, or any court-
approved property settlement agreement incident to any court decree of 
divorce, annulment, or legal separation (hereinafter ``court order'') 
where the court order expressly provides that an individual receive 
Federal Employee's Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) benefits. The interim 
regulations will allow court orders submitted to the appropriate 
Federal agency before July 22, 1998 to be effective for providing FEGLI 
benefits if the court order was received in the appropriate office 
before the insured Federal employee's or annuitant's death. This 
revision does not affect the current statutory limitation that court 
orders apply only when FEGLI benefits are based on insured individuals 
who died after July 22, 1998.

DATES: This rule is effective December 4, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marguerite Martel, Senior Policy 
Analyst, at (202) 606-0004 or email: marguerite.martel@opm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Law 105-205, 112 Stat. 683, enacted 
July 22, 1998, amending section 8705 of title 5, United States Code, 
required benefits to be paid in accordance with the terms of a court 
order instead of the otherwise existing statutory order of precedence 
for payment of benefits under FEGLI. On October 8, 1999, OPM published 
a final regulation interpreting the law to mean that only those court 
orders received in the appropriate office after the date the law was 
enacted would be valid to name a FEGLI beneficiary. The regulation 
amended Sec.  870.01(d)(2), of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations.
    Based on Pascavage v. Office of Personnel Management, 773 F. 
Supp.2d 452 (D. Del. 2011), OPM is changing this regulation to provide 
FEGLI benefits based on court orders submitted to the appropriate 
Federal agency before July 22, 1998, so long as the court order was 
received in the appropriate office before the insured Federal 
employee's or annuitant's death. This change is consistent with the 
settlement agreement in this case, Pascavage v. Office of Personnel 
Management, C.A. No.: 09-276-LPS-MPT (D. Del. filed Aug. 6, 2012).\1\ 
This revision does not affect the current statutory limitation that 
court orders apply only when FEGLI benefits are based on insured 
individuals who died after July 22, 1998.
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    \1\ The settlement agreement has been preliminarily approved by 
the Court.
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    Under Section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 
U.S.C. 551, et seq.) a general notice of proposed rulemaking is 
required unless an agency, for good cause, finds that notice and public 
comment thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the 
public interest. In addition, the APA exempts interpretative rules from 
proposed rulemaking procedures. This rule expands benefit eligibility 
based on a court-approved settlement agreement which requires the 
agency to amend current regulations in an expeditious manner. 
Therefore, OPM has concluded that delaying implementation of this rule 
due to a full notice and public comment period would be impracticable 
and contrary to the public interest. Further, OPM has determined that 
this rule is an interpretive rule implementing a court decision and 
adds little substantive interpretation of the law. For the foregoing 
reasons, OPM asserts that good cause exists to implement this rule as 
an interim rule under the APA, 5 U.S.C. 553(b) and accordingly, adopts 
this rule on that basis.

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    OPM has examined the impact of this rule as required by Executive 
Order 12866 (September 1993, Regulatory Planning and Review) and 
Executive Order 13563, which directs agencies to assess all costs and 
benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is 
necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits 
(including potential economic, environmental, public, health, and 
safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). A regulatory impact 
analysis must be prepared for major rules with economically significant 
effects of $100 million or more in any one year. This rule is not 
considered a major rule because OPM estimates there are relatively few 
court orders received by the appropriate office before July 22, 1998.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This document does not contain proposed information collection 
requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 
104-13.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that these regulations will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because they 
will apply only to Federal employees, annuitants and their former 
spouses.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 870

    Administrative practice and procedure, Government employees, 
Hostages, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Life insurance, Retirement.

    U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
John Berry,
Director.

    Accordingly, OPM is amending 5 CFR part 870 as follows:

PART 870--FEDERAL EMPLOYEES' GROUP LIFE INSURANCE PROGRAM

0
1. The authority citation for 5 CFR part 870 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8716; Subpart J also issued under section 
599C of Pub. L. 101-513, 104 Stat. 2064, as amended; Sec. 
870.302(a)(3)(ii) also issued under section 153 of Pub. L. 104-134, 
110 Stat. 1321; Sec.

[[Page 71688]]

870.302(a)(3) also issued under sections 11202(f), 11232(e), and 
11246(b) and (c) of Pub. L. 105-33, 111 Stat. 251, and section 7(e) 
of Pub. L. 105-274, 112 Stat. 2419; Sec. 870.302(a)(3) also issued 
under section 145 of Pub. L. 106-522, 114 Stat. 2472; Secs. 
870.302(b)(8), 870.601(a), and 870.602(b) also issued under Pub. L. 
110-279, 122 Stat. 2604; Subpart E also issued under 5 U.S.C. 
8702(c); Sec. 870.601(d)(3) also issued under 5 U.S.C. 8706(d); Sec. 
870.703(e)(1) also issued under section 502 of Pub. L. 110-177, 121 
Stat. 2542; Sec. 870.705 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 8714b(c) and 
8714c(c); Public Law 104-106, 110 Stat. 521.


0
2. In Sec.  870.801, paragraph (d)(2) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  870.801  Order of precedence and payment of benefits.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (2) To qualify a person for such payment, a certified copy of the 
court order must be received in the appropriate office before the death 
of the insured.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2012-29164 Filed 12-3-12; 8:45 am]
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