[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 131 (Wednesday, July 9, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 38747-38748]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-16043]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 131 / Wednesday, July 9, 2014 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 38747]]



FEDERAL RETIREMENT THRIFT INVESTMENT BOARD

5 CFR Part 1651


Aged Beneficiary Designation Forms

AGENCY: Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (Agency) amends 
its regulations to provide that a beneficiary designation form is valid 
only if it is received by the TSP record-keeper not more than one year 
after the date of the participant's signature.

DATES: This rule is effective on July 14, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurissa Stokes at 202-942-1645.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Agency administers the Thrift Savings 
Plan (TSP), which was established by the Federal Employees' Retirement 
System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99-335, 100 Stat. 514. The TSP 
provisions of FERSA are codified, as amended, largely at 5 U.S.C. 8351 
and 8401-79. The TSP is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan for 
Federal civilian employees and members of the uniformed services. The 
TSP is similar to cash or deferred arrangements established for 
private-sector employees under section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue 
Code (26 U.S.C. 401(k)).

Background

    Prior to 1995, active Federal employees submitted TSP beneficiary 
designation forms to the personnel office at their employing agency. 
Upon a participant's death or separation from service, the employing 
agency would forward the participant's beneficiary designation form to 
the TSP record-keeper.
    Beginning on January 1, 1995, the Agency required all TSP 
participants to mail or fax beneficiary designation forms directly to 
the TSP record-keeper. In addition to requiring all participants to 
submit beneficiary designation forms directly to the TSP record-keeper, 
the new policy of direct receipt by the TSP record-keeper required 
employing agencies to search their personnel records and forward all 
beneficiary designation forms then in their possession to the TSP 
record-keeper immediately. The TSP communicated the new policy in two 
bulletins sent to agency representatives and in three separate mailings 
sent directly to participants.
    The TSP codified the policy of direct receipt by the TSP record-
keeper in regulations on June 13, 1997 (62 FR 32426). All beneficiary 
designation forms in an employing agency's possession should have been 
forwarded to the TSP record-keeper before June 13, 1997. Nevertheless, 
employing agencies continue to forward to the TSP record-keeper 
beneficiary designation forms that are sometimes decades old.
    These aged forms often do not reflect the participant's current 
intent. Under the current regulations, the Agency must honor these aged 
forms if they are otherwise valid. When the Agency processes these 
forms, participants often become confused and believe their accounts 
have been accessed fraudulently. Further, if a participant passes away 
after the Agency has received an aged beneficiary designation form but 
prior to clarifying his/her current intent, the Agency must honor the 
old form even though it may not reflect the participant's current 
intent.
    On September 20, 2013, the Agency published a proposal to amend its 
regulations to provide that a beneficiary designation form is valid 
only if it is received by the TSP record-keeper not more than 365 
calendar days after the date of the participant's signature on the 
form. 78 FR 57807 (September 20, 2013). The Agency received no 
comments. Therefore, the Agency is publishing the proposed rule as 
final without change except for a minor clarification. The Agency is 
clarifying that, in the event that a beneficiary designation form 
contains multiple participant signatures with different dates, the TSP 
will rely on the most recently dated signature to determine whether 365 
days have passed since the participant signed the form.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. This regulation will 
affect Federal employees and members of the uniformed services who 
participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, which is a Federal defined 
contribution retirement savings plan created under the Federal 
Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99-335, 
100 Stat. 514, and which is administered by the Agency.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    I certify that these regulations do not require additional 
reporting under the criteria of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 602, 
632, 653, 1501-1571, the effects of this regulation on state, local, 
and tribal governments and the private sector have been assessed. This 
regulation will not compel the expenditure in any one year of $100 
million or more by state, local, and tribal governments, in the 
aggregate, or by the private sector. Therefore, a statement under Sec.  
1532 is not required.

Submission to Congress and the General Accounting Office

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 810(a)(1)(A), the Agency submitted a report 
containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, 
the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the 
United States before publication of this rule in the Federal Register. 
This rule is not a major rule as defined at 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 1651

    Claims, Government employees, Pensions, Retirement.

Gregory T. Long,
Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Agency amends 5 CFR 
chapter VI as follows:

PART 1651--Death Benefits

0
1. The authority citation for part 1651 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 8351, 8433, 8434, 8435, 8474(b)(5), 
8474(c)(1), and Sec. 109,

[[Page 38748]]

Pub. L. 11-31,123 Stat. 1176 (5 U.S.C. 8433(e)).


0
2. Amend Sec.  1651.3 by:
0
a. Amending paragraph (c)(6) to remove ``and'';
0
b. Amending paragraph (c)(7) to remove the period and add ``; and''; 
and
0
c. Adding paragraph (c)(8) to read as follows:


Sec.  1651.3  Designation of beneficiary.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (8) Be received by the TSP record-keeper not more than 365 calendar 
days after the date of the participant's most recent signature.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2014-16043 Filed 7-8-14; 8:45 am]
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