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Notice

Proposed Extension of Information Collection Request Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations

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ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the general public and other federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA 95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This Start Printed Page 49703program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed.

Currently, the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration is soliciting comments concerning the extension without change of the information collection request (ICR) included in the suspension of pension benefits regulation issued pursuant to the authority of section 203(a)(3)(B) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which governs the circumstances under which pension plans may suspend pension benefit payments to retirees who return to work, or of participants who continue to work beyond normal retirement age (29 CFR 2530.203-3). A copy of the ICR may be obtained by contacting the office listed in the Addresses section of this notice.

DATES:

Written comments must be submitted to the office listed in the ADDRESSES section below on or before November 27, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Interested parties are invited to submit written comments regarding the collection of information. Send comments to Mr. Gerald B. Lindrew, Office of Policy and Research, U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N-5647, Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 219-4782 Fax: (202) 219-4745 (these are not toll-free numbers).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Section 203(a)(3)(B) of ERISA governs the circumstances under which pension plans may suspend pension benefit payments to retirees that return to work or to participants that continue to work beyond normal retirement age. Furthermore, section 203(a)(3)(B) of ERISA authorizes the Secretary to prescribe regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.

In this regard, the Department issued a regulation which describes the circumstances and conditions under which plans may suspend the pension benefits of retirees that return to work, or of participants that continue to work beyond normal retirement age (29 CFR § 2530.203-3). In order for a plan to suspend benefits pursuant to the regulation, it must notify affected retirees or participants (by first class mail or personal delivery) during the first calendar month or payroll period in which the plan withholds payment, that benefits are suspended. This notice must include the specific reasons for such suspension, a general description of the plan provisions authorizing the suspension, a copy of the relevant plan provisions, and a statement indicating where the applicable regulations may be found, (i.e., 29 CFR § 2530.203-3). In addition, the suspension notification must inform the retiree or participant of the plan's procedure for affording a review of the suspension of benefits.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

The Department of Labor is particularly interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected;
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

III. Current Actions

The Office of Management and Budget's approval of this ICR will expire on November 30, 2001. This notice requests comments on the extension of the ICR. The Department is not proposing or implementing changes to the existing ICR at this time in connection with this extension. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

Agency: Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration.

Title: Suspension of Benefits Regulation pursuant to 29 CFR 2530.203-3.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

OMB Number: 1210-0048.

Affected Public: Individuals or households; Business or other for-profit; Not-for-profit institutions.

Total Respondents: 74,872.

Total Responses: 74,872.

Frequency of Response: On occasion.

Total Annual Burden: 18,718.

Total Burden Cost (Operating and Maintenance): $63,000.

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Dated: September 25, 2001.

Gerald B. Lindrew,

Deputy Director, Office of Policy and Research, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration.

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[FR Doc. 01-24321 Filed 9-27-01; 8:45 am]

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