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Presumption of Service Connection for Cirrhosis of the Liver in Former Prisoners of War

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Department of Veterans Affairs.


Final rule.


This document amends the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adjudication regulations concerning presumptive service connection for certain diseases by adding cirrhosis of the liver to the list of diseases for which entitlement to service connection is presumed for former prisoners of war (POWs). The intended effect is to make it easier for former POWs to obtain compensation benefits for cirrhosis based on scientific and medical research showing a higher risk of death from cirrhosis in former WWII POWs than in the general population.


Effective Date: July 18, 2003.

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Beth McCoy, Consultant, Regulations Staff, Compensation and Pension Service (211A), Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 111 W. Huron St, Buffalo, NY 14202, (716) 551-4842.

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In a document published in the Federal Start Printed Page 42603Register on February 10, 2003 (68 FR 6679), we proposed to amend the VA adjudication regulations to add cirrhosis of the liver to the list of diseases for which entitlement to service connection is presumed for former POWs under 38 CFR 3.309(c).

We asked interested persons to submit comments on or before April 11, 2003. We received no comments. Based on the rationale set forth in the proposed rule, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule without change.

Administrative Procedures Act

Because this rule solely provides for a new benefit it is not subject to the effective date provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

This rule contains no provisions constituting collections of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Secretary hereby certifies that this regulatory amendment will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612. The reason for this certification is that this amendment will not directly affect any small entities. Only VA beneficiaries could be directly affected. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this amendment is exempt from the initial and final flexibility analysis requirements of sections 603 and 604.

Unfunded Mandates

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act requires, at 2 U.S.C. 1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before developing any rule that may result in an expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any given year. This rule will have no such effect on State, local, or tribal governments, or the private sector.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number is 64.109.

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List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 3

  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Claims
  • Disability benefits
  • Health care
  • Pensions
  • Veterans
  • Vietnam
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Approved: July 2, 2003.

Anthony J. Principi,

Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

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For the reasons set forth in the preamble, VA amends 38 CFR part 3 as follows:

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Subpart A—Pension, Compensation, and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

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1. The authority citation for part 3, subpart A continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), unless otherwise noted.

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2. Section 3.309(c) is amended by adding “Cirrhosis of the liver.” following “Peripheral neuropathy except where directly related to infectious causes.” and before the explanatory note.

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[FR Doc. 03-18233 Filed 7-17-03; 8:45 am]