[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 222 (Monday, November 18, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 68981-68983]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-27534]

Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register

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Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 222 / Monday, November 18, 2013 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 68981]]


5 CFR Part 850

RIN 3206-AM45

Electronic Retirement Processing

AGENCY: Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is adopting its 
proposed regulations applicable to electronic benefits processing under 
the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), the Federal Employees' 
Retirement System (FERS), the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance 
(FEGLI), the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB), and the Retired 
Federal Employee Health Benefits (RFEHB) Programs. These amendments are 
also being adopted to provide OPM with the flexibility to implement 
further improvements in automated retirement processing, recordkeeping, 
and electronic submission of forms and retirement applications as OPM's 
technological initiatives reach completion.

DATES: Effective November 18, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roxann Johnson or Kristine Prentice, 
(202) 606-0299.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On March 5, 2013, OPM published (at 78 FR 
14233) proposed regulations to amend part 850 of title 5, Code of 
Federal Regulations, by updating regulations previously published (at 
72 FR 73573). Pursuant to the President's January 18, 2011, Executive 
Order 13563--Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, 76 FR 3821 
(January 21, 2011), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) undertook 
a review of part 850 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, to 
streamline and revise this part so that it better serves OPM's ongoing 
modernization of the processing of benefits under the CSRS, FERS, 
FEGLI, FEHB, and the RFEHB Programs. OPM is adopting these amendments 
to part 850 to ensure the rule reflects the electronic recordkeeping 
and automated retirement processing improvements being deployed by OPM, 
agencies, and Shared Service Centers under OPM's Human Resources Line 
of Business.
    OPM received no comments on the proposed regulations. Accordingly, 
we are now adopting the proposed regulations as final without change.

Executive Order 13563 and Executive Order 12866

    The Office of Management and Budget has reviewed this rule in 
accordance with E.O. 13563 and E.O. 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities because the purpose of 
this regulation is to assist in facilitating OPM's ongoing 
modernization of the processing of benefits under CSRS, FERS, FEGLI, 

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 850

    Administrative practice and procedure, Air traffic controllers, 
Alimony, Claims, Disability benefits, Firefighters, Government 
employees, Income taxes, Intergovernmental relations, Law enforcement 
officers, Pensions, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 

Office of Personnel Management.
Katherine Archuleta,

    Accordingly, OPM is amending 5 CFR part 850 as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 850 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8347; 5 U.S.C. 8461; 5 U.S.C. 8716; 5 U.S.C. 
8913; sec. 9 of Pub. L. 86-724, 74 Stat. 849, 851-52 (September 8, 
1960) as amended by sec. 102 of Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1978, 
92 Stat. 3781, 3783 (February 23, 1978).

2. The heading for part 850 is revised to read as set forth above.
3. Revise 850.101 to read as follows:

Sec.  850.101  Purpose and scope.

    (a) The purpose of this part is to enable changes to OPM's 
retirement and insurance processing systems to improve the quality and 
timeliness of services to employees and annuitants covered by CSRS and 
FERS by using contemporary, automated business processes and supporting 
accessible technologies. By utilizing these automated processes, OPM 
will employ more efficient and effective business systems to respond to 
increased customer demand for higher levels of customer service and 
online self-service tools.
    (b) The provisions of this part authorize exceptions from 
regulatory provisions that would otherwise apply to CSRS and FERS 
annuities and FEGLI, FEHB, and RFEHB benefits processed by or at the 
direction of OPM. Those regulatory provisions that would otherwise 
apply were established for a hardcopy based retirement and insurance 
benefits processing system that may eventually be phased out but which 
will continue to operate concurrently with OPM's modernization efforts. 
During the phased transition to electronic retirement and insurance 
processing, certain regulations that were not designed with information 
technology needs in mind, and which are incompatible with electronic 
business processes, must be set aside with respect to electronic 
retirement and insurance processing. The regulations set forth in this 
part make the transition to electronic processing possible.
    (c) The provisions of this part do not affect retirement and 
insurance eligibility and annuity computation provisions. The 
provisions for capturing retirement and insurance data in an electronic 
format, however, may support, in some instances, more precise 
calculations of annuity and insurance benefits than were possible using 
hardcopy records.

4. Revise 850.103 to read as follows:

Sec.  850.103  Definitions.

In this part--
    Agency means an Executive agency as defined in section 105 of title 
5, United States Code; a legislative branch agency; a judicial branch 
agency; the U.S. Postal Service; the Postal Regulatory Commission; and 
the District of Columbia government.

[[Page 68982]]

    Biometrics means the technology that converts a unique 
characteristic of an individual into a digital form, which is then 
interpreted by a computer and compared with a digital exemplar copy of 
the characteristic stored in the computer. Among the unique 
characteristics of an individual that can be converted into a digital 
form are voice patterns, fingerprints, and the blood vessel patterns 
present on the retina of one or both eyes.
    Cryptographic control method means an approach to authenticating 
identity or the authenticity of an electronic document through the use 
of a cipher (i.e., a pair of algorithms) which performs encryption and 
    CSRS means the Civil Service Retirement System established under 
subchapter III of chapter 83 of title 5, United States Code.
    Digital signature means an electronic signature generated by means 
of an algorithm that ensures that the identity of the signatory and the 
integrity of the data can be verified. A value, referred to as the 
``private key,'' is generated to produce the signature and another 
value, known as the ``public key,'' which is linked to but is not the 
same as the private key, is used to verify the signature.
    Digitized signature means a graphical image of a handwritten 
signature usually created using a special computer input device (such 
as a digital pen and pad), which contains unique biometric data 
associated with the creation of each stroke of the signature (such as 
duration of stroke or pen pressure). A digitized signature can be 
verified by a comparison with the characteristics and biometric data of 
a known or exemplar signature image.
    Director means the Director of the Office of Personnel Management.
    Electronic communication means any information conveyed through 
electronic means and includes electronic forms, applications, 
elections, and requests submitted by email or any other electronic 
    Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) means the electronic 
system of images of hardcopy individual retirement records (SF 2806 and 
SF 3100) and other retirement-related documents.
    Electronic Individual Retirement Record (eIRR) means a web-based 
database that contains certified electronic closeout and fully paid 
post-56 military service deposit Individual Retirement Records (IRRs), 
also known as Standard Form (SF) 2806 and SF 3100. The eIRR is stored 
in the Electronic Individual Retirement Record records storage database 
(formerly known as the Individual Retirement Record Closeout Data 
Capture or ICDC records storage database).
    Electronic Official Personnel Record Folder (eOPF) means an 
electronic version of the hardcopy Official Personnel Folder (OPF), 
providing Web-enabled access for federal employees and HR staff to view 
eOPF documents.
    Electronic Retirement Record (ERR) means the certified electronic 
retirement record submitted to OPM as a retirement data feed in 
accordance with the Guide to Retirement Data Reporting. The ERR is 
submitted to OPM whenever an Agency would otherwise submit a hardcopy 
    Employee means an individual, other than a Member of Congress, who 
is covered by CSRS or FERS.
    Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) Data System means the 
comprehensive electronic retirement record-keeping system that supports 
OPM's retirement processing across the Federal Government.
    FEGLI means the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Program 
established under chapter 87 of title 5, United States Code.
    FEHB means the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program 
established under chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code.
    FERS means the Federal Employees' Retirement System established 
under chapter 84 of title 5, United States Code.
    Member means a Member of Congress as defined by section 2106 of 
title 5, United States Code, who is covered by CSRS or FERS.
    Non-cryptographic method is an approach to authenticating identity 
that relies solely on an identification and authentication mechanism 
that must be linked to a specific software platform for each 
    Personal identification number (PIN) or password means a non-
cryptographic method of authenticating the identity of a user of an 
electronic application, involving the use of an identifier known only 
to the user and to the electronic system, which checks the identifier 
against data in a database to authenticate the user's identity.
    Public/private key (asymmetric) cryptography is a method of 
creating a unique mark, known as a digital signature, on an electronic 
document or file. This method involves the use of two computer-
generated, mathematically-linked keys: A private signing key that is 
kept private and a public validation key that is available to the 
    Retirement Data Repository means a secure centralized data 
warehouse that stores electronic retirement data of employees covered 
under the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees 
Retirement System compiled from multiple sources including agencies and 
Shared Service Centers.
    RFEHB means the Retired Federal Employees Health Benefits Program 
established under Public Law 86-724, 74 Stat. 849, 851-52 (September 8, 
1960), as amended.
    Shared Service Centers means processing centers delivering a broad 
array of administrative services to multiple agencies.
    Shared symmetric key cryptography means a method of authentication 
in which a single key is used to sign and verify an electronic 
document. The single key (also known as a ``private key'') is known 
only by the user and the recipient or recipients of the electronic 
    Smart card means a plastic card, typically the size of a credit 
card, containing an embedded integrated circuit or ``chip'' that can 
generate, store, or process data. A smart card can be used to 
facilitate various authentication technologies that may be embedded on 
the same card.

5. Amend Sec.  850.106 by revising paragraph (a)(4) to read as follows:

Sec.  850.106  Electronic signatures.

    (a) * * *
    (4)(i) In general, any regulatory requirement under CSRS, FERS, 
FEGLI, FEHB or RFEHB that a signature be notarized, certified, or 
otherwise witnessed, by a notary public or other official authorized to 
administer oaths may be satisfied by the electronic signature of the 
person authorized to perform those acts when such electronic signature 
is attached to or logically associated with all other information and 
records required to be included by the applicable regulation.
    (ii) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(4)(iii) of this section, a 
person signing a consent or election for the purpose of electronic 
notarization under paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this section must be in the 
physical presence of the notary public or an official authorized to 
administer oaths.
    (iii) The Director may provide in directives issued under Sec.  
850.104 that alternative procedures utilized by a notary public or 
other official authorized to administer oaths (such as audio-video 
conference technology) will be deemed to satisfy the physical presence 
requirement for a notarized, certified, or witnessed election or 
consent, but only if those procedures with respect to the electronic 

[[Page 68983]]

provide the same safeguards as are provided by physical presence.
* * * * *

6. Revise Sec.  850.201 to read as follows:

Sec.  850.201  Applications for benefits.

    (a) Hardcopy applications and related submissions that are 
otherwise required to be made to an individual's employing agency 
(other than by statute) may instead be submitted electronically in such 
form as the Director prescribes under Sec.  850.104.
    (b) Data provided under subpart C of this part are the basis for 
adjudicating claims for CSRS and FERS retirement benefits, and will 
support the administration of FEGLI, FEHB and RFEHB coverage for 
annuitants, under this part.

Sec.  850.202  [Amended]

7. Amend Sec.  850.202 by removing the paragraph parenthetical 
designation ``(a)'' and by removing paragraph (b).
8. Revise Sec.  850.203 to read as follows:

Sec.  850.203  Other elections.

    Any other election may be effected in such form as the Director 
prescribes under Sec.  850.104. Such elections include but are not 
limited to elections of coverage under CSRS, FERS, FEGLI, FEHB, or 
RFEHB by individuals entitled to elect such coverage; applications for 
service credit and applications to make deposit; and elections 
regarding the withholding of State income tax from annuity payments.

9. Revise Sec.  850.301 to read as follows:

Sec.  850.301  Electronic records; other acceptable records.

    (a) Acceptable electronic records for retirement and insurance 
processing by OPM include--
    (1) Electronic employee data, including an eIRR or an ERR, 
submitted by an agency, agency payroll office, or Shared Service 
Center, or other entity and stored within the EHRI Retirement Data 
Repository, the eIRR records storage database, or other OPM database.
    (2) Electronic Official Personnel Folder (eOPF) data; and
    (3) Documents, including hardcopy versions of the Individual 
Retirement Record (SF 2806 or SF 3100), or data or images obtained from 
such documents, including images stored in EDMS, that are converted to 
an electronic or digital form by means of image scanning or other forms 
of electronic or digital conversion.
    (b) Documents that are not converted to an electronic or digital 
form will continue to be acceptable records for processing by the 
retirement and insurance processing system.

10. Revise Sec.  850.401 to read as follows:

Sec.  850.401  Electronic notice of coverage determination.

    An agency or other entity that submits electronic employee records 
directly or through a Shared Service Center must include in the notice 
of law enforcement officer, firefighter, or nuclear materials 
retirement coverage, required by Sec. Sec.  831.811(a), 831.911(a), 
842.808(a), or 842.910(a) of this chapter, the position description 
number, or other unique alphanumeric identifier, in the notice for the 
position for which law enforcement officer, firefighter, or nuclear 
materials courier retirement coverage has been approved. Agencies or 
other entities must submit position descriptions to OPM in a PDF 
document to combox address: combox@opm.gov.

[FR Doc. 2013-27534 Filed 11-15-13; 8:45 am]