[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 215 (Wednesday, November 6, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 66638-66639]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-26524]



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SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

20 CFR Parts 404 and 416

[Docket No. SSA-2013-0023]
RIN 0960-AH59


Extension of the Expiration Date for State Disability Examiner 
Authority To Make Fully Favorable Quick Disability Determinations and 
Compassionate Allowances

AGENCY: Social Security Administration.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are extending the expiration date of our rules that 
authorizes State agency disability examiners to make fully favorable 
determinations without the approval of a State agency medical or 
psychological consultant in claims that we consider under our quick 
disability determination (QDD) and compassionate allowance (CAL) 
processes. The current rules will expire on November 12, 2013. In this 
final rule, we are changing the November 12, 2013 expiration or 
``sunset'' date to November 14, 2014, extending the authority for 1 
year. We are making no other substantive changes, although we are 
making minor, nonsubstantive editorial changes to the rule for clarity.

DATES: This final rule is effective November 6, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Terry Dodson, Office of Disability 
Programs, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, 
Baltimore, MD 21235-6401, (410) 965-0143, for information about this 
final rule. 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: 

Background of the QDD and CAL Disability Examiner Authority

    On October 13, 2010, we published final rules that temporarily 
authorized State agency disability examiners to make fully favorable 
determinations without the approval of a State agency medical or 
psychological consultant in claims that we consider under our QDD and 
CAL processes. 75 FR 62676.
    We included in 20 CFR 404.1615(c)(3) and 416.1015(c)(3) provisions 
by which the State agency disability examiners' authority to make fully 
favorable determinations without medical or psychological consultant 
approval in QDD and CAL claims would no longer be effective on November 
12, 2013, unless we decided to terminate the rules earlier or extend 
them beyond that date by publication of a final rule in the Federal 
Register. 75 FR 62676.

Explanation of Provision

    This final rule extends for 1 year the authority in the rules we 
published on October 13, 2010 allowing disability examiners to make 
fully favorable determinations in certain disability claims under our 
QDD and CAL processes without the approval of a medical or 
psychological consultant. This rule is consistent with our strategic 
goal to make fully favorable determinations when we can as quickly as 
possible.\1\ The rule will also help us process cases more efficiently 
because it will allow State agency medical and psychological 
consultants to spend their time on cases that require their expertise.
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    \1\ See Social Security Administration Agency Strategic Plan 
2013-2016, Strategic Goal 1, Objective III, at http://www.ssa.gov/asp/plan-2013-2016.pdf
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    In the rules we published on October 13, 2010, we noted that our 
experience adjudicating QDD and CAL cases led us to our decision to 
allow disability examiners to make some fully favorable determinations 
without a medical or psychological consultation. When we implemented 
the rules, we also knew that State agencies would require some time to 
establish procedures, adopt necessary software modifications, and 
satisfy collective bargaining obligations. Extending the rule will 
provide us at least three years of data on the active processes.
    This final rule will allow us to continue to adjudicate fully 
favorable determinations more quickly under our QDD and CAL processes. 
Our reviews of cases in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 adjudicated under 
the current rules show that the rules have not had an adverse effect on 
the quality of our determinations, and we are continuing to review more 
recent data. In fact, QDD and CAL cases adjudicated under these rules 
have accuracy rates that are comparable to, if not higher than, the 
accuracy rates of other cases involving a medical or psychological 
consultation. Moreover, among cases for which our reviews identified an 
error, a significantly smaller share contained material errors that 
resulted in an incorrect outcome. For these reasons, we have decided to 
extend the expiration date in Sec. Sec.  404.1615(c)(3) and 
416.1015(c)(3). Accordingly, we are extending the rule for 1 year, 
until November 14, 2014. As before, we reserve the authority to 
terminate the rule earlier or to extend it by publishing a final rule 
in the Federal Register.
    We are also making minor, nonsubstantive editorial changes to the 
first sentence of current Sec. Sec.  404.1615(c)(3) and 416.1015(c)(3). 
These minor changes merely improve the clarity of the current sentence.

Regulatory Procedures

Justification for Issuing a Final Rule Without Notice and Comment

    We follow the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) rulemaking 
procedures specified in 5 U.S.C. 553 when developing regulations. 
Section 702(a)(5) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 902(a)(5). 
Generally, the APA requires that an agency provide prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment before issuing a final rule. However, 
the APA provides exceptions to its notice and public comment procedures 
when an agency finds there is good cause for dispensing with such 
procedures because they are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to 
the public interest.
    We have determined that good cause exists for dispensing with the 
notice and public comment procedures for this rule. 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B). 
Good cause exists because this final rule only extends the expiration 
date of the existing provision and makes minor nonsubstantive editorial 
changes to the rule. It makes no substantive changes. The current 
regulations expressly provide that we may extend or terminate this 
rule. Therefore, we have determined that opportunity for prior comment 
is unnecessary, and we are issuing this rule as a final rule.
    In addition, for the reasons cited above, we find good cause for 
dispensing with the 30-day delay in the effective date of this final 
rule. 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). We are not making any substantive changes in 
our current rule, but are only extending the expiration date of the 
rule and making minor editorial changes. In addition, as discussed 
above, the change we are making in this final rule will allow us to 
better utilize our scarce administrative resources in light of the 
current budgetary constraints under which we are operating. For these 
reasons, we find that it is contrary to the public interest to delay 
the effective date of our rule.

Executive Order 12866, as Supplemented by Executive Order 13563

    We consulted with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and 
determined that this final rule does not

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meet the criteria for a significant regulatory action under Executive 
Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, OMB 
did not review it.
    We also determined that this final rule meets the plain language 
requirement of Executive Order 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    We certify that this final rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it 
affects individuals only. Therefore, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as 
amended, does not require us to prepare a regulatory flexibility 
analysis.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule does not create any new or affect any existing 
collections and, therefore, does not require OMB approval under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 96.001, Social 
Security--Disability Insurance; 96.002, Social Security--Retirement 
Insurance; 96.004, Social Security--Survivors Insurance; 96.006, 
Supplemental Security Income.)

List of Subjects

20 CFR Part 404

    Administrative practice and procedure; Blind, Disability benefits; 
Old-age, Survivors and Disability Insurance; Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements; Social security.

20 CFR Part 416

    Administrative practice and procedure; Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements; Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    Dated: October 30, 2013.
Carolyn W. Colvin,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, we are amending subpart Q 
of part 404 and subpart J of part 416 of title 20 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations as set forth below:

PART 404--FEDERAL OLD-AGE, SURVIVORS AND DISABILITY INSURANCE 
(1950-----)

Subpart Q--[Amended]

0
1. The authority citation for subpart Q of part 404 continues to read 
as follows:

    Authority: Secs. 205(a), 221, and 702(a)(5) of the Social 
Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405(a), 421, and 902(a)(5)).


0
2. Amend Sec.  404.1615 by revising paragraph (c)(3) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  404.1615  Making disability determinations.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) A State agency disability examiner alone if the claim is 
adjudicated under the quick disability determination process (see Sec.  
404.1619) or the compassionate allowance process (see Sec.  404.1602), 
and the initial or reconsidered determination is fully favorable to 
you. This paragraph will no longer be effective on November 14, 2014 
unless we terminate it earlier or extend it beyond that date by 
publication of a final rule in the Federal Register; or
* * * * *

PART 416--SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME FOR THE AGED, BLIND, AND 
DISABLED

Subpart J--[Amended]

0
3. The authority citation for subpart J continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  Secs. 702(a)(5), 1614, 1631, and 1633 of the Social 
Security Act (42 U.S.C. 902(a)(5), 1382c, 1383, and 1383b).

0
4. Amend Sec.  416.1015 by revising paragraph (c)(3) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  416.1015  Making disability determinations.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) A State agency disability examiner alone if you are not a child 
(a person who has not attained age 18), and the claim is adjudicated 
under the quick disability determination process (see Sec.  416.1019) 
or the compassionate allowance process (see Sec.  416.1002), and the 
initial or reconsidered determination is fully favorable to you. This 
paragraph will no longer be effective on November 14, 2014 unless we 
terminate it earlier or extend it beyond that date by publication of a 
final rule in the Federal Register; or
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2013-26524 Filed 11-5-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4191-02-P