Department of Veterans Affairs.
This document affirms an amendment to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adjudication regulation regarding the definition of “date of receipt” authorizing the Under Secretary for Benefits to establish exceptions to the general rule when a natural or man-made event interferes with the channels through which the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) ordinarily receives correspondence, resulting in extended delays in receipt of claims, information, or evidence from claimants served by VBA. Currently, VBA receives correspondence through its 57 Regional Offices and through the Appeals Management Center, which develops claims on appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals. The intended effect is to ensure that claimants served by the affected VBA office or offices are not deprived of potential entitlement to benefits because of unexpected delays or impediments not caused by the claimants.
Effective date: August 31, 2005.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Maya Ferrandino, Consultant, Regulations Staff, Compensation and Pension Service, Veterans Benefits Administration, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420, telephone (202) 273-7232.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
VA's regulation addressing the date of receipt for purposes of benefit entitlement is located at 38 CFR 3.1(r), which implements the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 5110, the statutory provision regarding effective dates of awards. On July 19, 2004 (69 FR 42879), an interim final rule was published amending § 3.1(r) to provide that the Under Secretary for Benefits may establish exceptions to the rule governing date of receipt in circumstances when he or she determines that a natural or man-made disruption in the normal channels of communication results in one or more VBA offices experiencing extended delays in the receipt of correspondence.
We provided a 60-day comment period that ended September 17, 2004. We received no comments. Based on the rationale set forth in the interim final rule we now affirm as a final rule the changes made by the interim final rule.
Paperwork Reduction Act
This document contains no provisions constituting a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).
Administrative Procedure Act
This document without any changes affirms amendments made by an interim final rule that is already in effect. Accordingly, we have concluded under 5 U.S.C. 553 that there is good cause for dispensing with a delayed effective date based on the conclusion that such procedure is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest.
The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 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 (adjusted annually for inflation) in any given year. This final rule would have no such effect on State, local, or tribal governments, or the private sector.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
The Secretary hereby certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612. Only VA beneficiaries could be directly affected. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this final rule is exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of sections 603 and 604.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance numbers and titles for the programs affected by this document are 64.109, Veterans Compensation for Service-Connected Disability; and 64.110, Veterans Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Service-Connected Death.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 3
- Administrative practice and procedure
- Disability benefits
- Health care
- Radioactive materials
Approved: August 11, 2005.
Gordon H. Mansfield,
Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
[FR Doc. 05-17358 Filed 8-30-05; 8:45 am]
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