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Notice

Proposed Information Collection Activity: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Board of Veterans' Appeals, Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, Federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of a currently approved collection, and allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on the information required in processing appeals from denial of VA benefits and in regulation of representatives' fees.

DATES:

Written comments and recommendations on the proposed collection of information should be received on or before May 17, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

Submit written comments on the collection of information to Sue Hamlin, Board of Veterans' Appeals (01C), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420 or e-mail sue.hamlin@mail.va.gov. Please refer to “OMB Control No. 2900-0085” in any correspondence.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sue Hamlin at (202) 565-5686.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under the PRA of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13; 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. This request for comment is being made pursuant to Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA.

With respect to the following collection of information, BVA invites comments on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of BVA's functions, including whether the Start Printed Page 13236information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of BVA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or the use of other forms of information technology.

Titles

a. Appeal to Board of Veterans' Appeals, VA Form 9.

b. Withdrawal of Services by a Representative.

c. Filing of Representative's Fee Agreements and Motions for Review of Such Agreements.

d. Motion for Review of Representative's Charges for Expenses.

e. Request for Changes in Hearing Date.

f. Motion for Reconsideration.

OMB Control Number: 2900-0085.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Abstract

a. Appeal to Board of Veterans' Appeals, VA Form 9, may be used by appellants to complete their appeal to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) from a denial of VA benefits. The information is used by BVA to identify the issues in dispute and prepare a decision responsive to the appellant's contentions and the legal and factual issues raised.

b. Withdrawal of Services by a Representative: When the appellant's representative withdraws from a case, both the appellant and the BVA must be informed so that the appellant's rights may be adequately protected and so that the BVA may meet its statutory obligations to provide notice to the current representative.

c. Filing of Representative's Fee Agreements and Motions for Review of Such Agreements: Agreements for fees charged by individuals or organizations for representing claimants and appellants before VA are filed with, and reviewed by, the Board of Veterans' Appeals. The information is used to determine whether such fees are excessive or unreasonable.

d. Motion for Review of Representative's Charges for Expenses: Expense reimbursements claimed by individuals and organizations for representing claimants and appellants before VA have been monitored for fairness for many years. The information is used to review changes by claimants' representatives for expenses to afford protection to such claimants from overreaching by unscrupulous representatives and is useful in monitoring fees charged by representatives and to ensure that fee limitations are not avoided by mischaracterizing fees as expenses.

e. Request for Changes in Hearing Date: VA provides hearings to appellants and their representatives, as required by basic Constitutional due-process and by Title 38 U.S.C. 7107(b). From time to time, hearing dates and/or times are changed, hearing requests withdrawn and new hearings requested after failure to appear at a scheduled hearing. The information is used to comply with the appellants' or their representatives' requests.

f. Motion for Reconsideration: Decisions by BVA are final unless the Chairman orders reconsideration of the decision either on the Chairman's initiative, or upon motion of a claimant. The Board Chairman, or his designee, uses the information provided in deciding whether reconsideration of a Board decision should be granted.

Affected Public: Individuals or households, business or other for profit, and not for profit institutions.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 49,700 hours.

a. Appeal to Board of Veterans' Appeals, VA Form 9—46,592 hours.

b. Withdrawal of Services by a Representative—183 hours.

c. Filing of Representative's Fee Agreements and Motions for Review of Such Agreements—283 hours.

d. Motion for Review of Representative's Charges for Expenses—4 hours.

e. Request for Changes in Hearing Date—1,761 hours.

f. Motion for Reconsideration—877 hours.

Estimated Average Burden Per Respondent

a. Appeal to Board of Veterans' Appeals, VA Form 9—1 hour.

b. Withdrawal of Services by a Representative—20 minutes.

c. Filing of Representative's Fee Agreements and Motions for Review of Such Agreements—1 hour (contract modifications), 10 minutes (basic filing), 2 hours (filing motion or response).

d. Motion for Review of Representative's Charges for Expenses—4 hours (2 hours for motion and 2 hours for response to motion).

e. Request for Changes in Hearing Date—15 minutes (basic request), 1 hour (requests requiring preparation of a motion).

f. Motion for Reconsideration—1 hour.

Frequency of Response: On occasion.

Estimated Total Number of Respondents: 53,874.

a. Appeal to Board of Veterans' Appeals, VA Form 9—46,592.

b. Withdrawal of Services by a Representative—550.

c. Filing of Representative's Fee Agreements and Motions for Review of Such Agreements—1,279.

d. Motion for Review of Representative's Charges for Expenses—2.

e. Request for Changes in Hearing Date—4,574.

f. Motion for Reconsideration—877.

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Dated: March 11, 2005.

By direction of the Secretary.

Loise Russell,

Director, Records Management Service.

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[FR Doc. E5-1195 Filed 3-17-05; 8:45 am]

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