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Notice

Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988; Notice of RRB and SSA Records Used in Computer Matching

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Railroad Retirement Board (RRB).

ACTION:

Notice of records used in computer matching programs; notification to individuals who are railroad employees, or applicants and beneficiaries under the Railroad Retirement Act or who are applicants or beneficiaries under the Social Security Act.

SUMMARY:

As required by the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988, RRB is issuing public notice of its use and intent to use, in ongoing computer matching programs, information obtained from the Social Security Administration (SSA) of the amount of wages reported to SSA and the amount of benefits paid by that agency. The RRB is also issuing public notice, on behalf of the Social Security Administration, of SSA's use and intent to use, in ongoing computer matching programs, information obtained from the RRB of the amount of railroad earnings reported to the RRB.

The purposes of this notice are (1) to advise individuals applying for or receiving benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act of the use made by RRB of this information obtained from SSA by means of a computer match and (2) to advise individuals applying for or receiving benefits under the Social Security Act of the use made by SSA of this information obtained from RRB by means of a computer match.

ADDRESSES:

Interested parties may comment on this publication by writing to Ms. Beatrice Ezerski, Secretary to the Board, Railroad Retirement Board, 844 North Rush Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611-2092.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. LeRoy Blommaert, Privacy Act Officer, Railroad Retirement Board, 844 North Rush Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611-2092, telephone number (312) 751-4548.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988, Pub. L. 100-503, requires a Federal agency participating in a computer matching program to publish a notice regarding the establishment of a matching program. The last notice for the matching program which began October 2, 2000, was published at 65 FR 50724 (August 21, 2000).

Name of Participating Agencies: Social Security Administration and Railroad Retirement Board.

Purpose of the Match: The RRB will, on a daily basis, obtain from SSA a record of the wages reported to SSA for persons who have applied for benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act and a record of the amount of benefits paid by that agency to persons who are receiving or have applied for benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act. The wage information is needed to compute the amount of the tier I annuity component provided by sections 3(a), 4(a) and 4(f) of the Railroad Retirement Act (42 U.S.C. 231b(a), 45 U.S.C. 231c(a) and 45 U.S.C. 231c(f). The benefit information is needed to adjust the tier I annuity component for the receipt of the Social Security benefit. This information is available from no other source.

In addition, the RRB will received from SSA the amount of certain social security benefits which the RRB pays on behalf of SSA. Section 7(b)(2) of the Railroad Retirement Act (45 U.S.C. 231f(b)(2)) provides that the RRB shall make the payment of certain social security benefits. The RRB also requires this information in order to adjust the amount of any annuity due to the receipt of a social security benefit. Section 10(a) of the Railroad Retirement Act (45 U.S.C. 231i(a)) permits the RRB to recover any overpayment from the accrual of social security benefits. This information is not available from any other source.

Thirdly, the RRB will receive from SSA once a year a copy of SSA's Master Benefit Record for earmarked RRB annuitants. Section 7(b)(7)) of the Railroad Retirement Act (45 U.S.C. 231f(b)(7) requires that SSA provide the requested information. The RRB needs this information to make the necessary cost-of-living computation quickly and accurately for those RRB annuitants who are also SSA beneficiaries.

SSA will receive form RRB weekly RRB earnings information for all railroad employees. SSA will match the identifying information of the records furnished by the RRB against the identifying information contained in its Master Benefit Record and its Master Earnings File. If there is a match, SSA will use the RRB earnings to adjust the amount of Social Security benefits in its Annual Earnings Reappraisal Operation (AERO). This information is available from no other source.

SSA will also receive from RRB on a daily basis RRB earnings information on selected individuals. The transfer of information may be initiated either by RRB or by SSA. SSA needs this information to determine eligibility to Social Security benefits and, if eligibility is met, to determine the benefit amount payable. Section 18 of the Railroad Retirement Act (45 U.S.C. 231q(2)) requires that earnings considered as compensation under the Railroad Retirement Act be considered as wages under the Social Security Act for the purposes of determining entitlement under the Social Security Act if the person has insufficient years of railroad service to qualify for an annuity under the Railroad Retirement Act, or has sufficient years of service but does not have a current connection with the railroad industry at the time of his/her death.

Authority for Conducting the Match: Section 7(b)(7) of the Railroad Retirement Act (45 U.S.C. 231f(b)(7)) provides that the Social Security Administration shall supply information necessary to administer the Railroad Retirement Act.

Sections 202, 205(o) and 215(f) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 402, 405(o) and 415(f) relate to benefit provisions, inclusion of railroad compensation together with wages for payment of benefits under certain circumstances, and the recomputation of benefits.

Categories of Records and Individuals Covered: All applicants for benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act and current beneficiaries will have a record of any social security wages and the amount of any social security benefits furnished to the RRB by SSA. In addition, all persons who ever worked in the railroad industry after 1936 will have a record of their service and compensation furnished to SSA by RRB. The applicable Privacy Act Systems of Records used in the matching program are as follows: RRB-5, Master File of Railroad Employees' Creditable Compensation; RRB-22, Railroad Retirement, Survivor, Pensioner Benefit System; SSA/OSR, 09-60-0090, Master Beneficiary Record (MBR); and SSA/OSR, 09-60-0059, Master Earnings File (MEF).

Inclusive Dates of the Matching Program: The consolidated matching program shall become effective no sooner than 40 days after notice of the Start Printed Page 10058matching program is sent to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), or 30 days after publication of this notice in the Federal Register, whichever date is later. The matching program will continue for 18 months from the effective date and may be extended for an additional 12 months thereafter, if certain conditions are met.

The notice we are giving here is in addition to any individual notice.

A copy of this notice will be or has been furnished to the Office of Management and Budget and the designated committees of both Houses of Congress.

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Dated: February 25, 2003. By Authority of the Board.

Beatrice Ezerski,

Secretary to the Board.

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[FR Doc. 03-4857 Filed 2-28-03; 8:45 am]

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