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Death Benefits

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Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.


Final rule.


The Executive Director of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (Agency) is adopting as final, without change, the Agency's proposed rule to permit the Agency to rely on a participant's marital status as stated on a Federal income tax form when determining whether a deceased participant had a common law marriage.


This final rule is effective February 28, 2006.

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John A. Hahn on (202) 942-1630.

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The Agency administers the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which was established by the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99-335, 100 Stat. 514. The TSP provisions of FERSA are codified, as amended, largely at 5 U.S.C. 8351 and 8401-79.

On January 12, 2006, the Agency published a proposed rule with request for comments in the Federal Register (71 FR 1984). The Agency received no comments on the proposed rule. Therefore, the Executive Director is publishing the proposed rule as final without change.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

I certify that these regulations will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. They will affect only employees of the Federal Government.

Paperwork Reduction Act

I certify that these regulations do not require additional reporting under the criteria of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

Pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 602, 632, 653, 1501-1571, the effects of this regulation on state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector have been assessed. This regulation will not compel the expenditure in any one year of $100 million or more by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector. Therefore, a statement under § 1532 is not required.

Submission to Congress and the General Accounting Office

Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A), the Board submitted a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States before publication of this rule in the Federal Register. This rule is not a major rule as defined at 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

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List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 1651

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Gary A. Amelio,

Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

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Accordingly, for the reasons set forth in the preamble, section 1651.5 of chapter VI of title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

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1. The authority citation for part 1651 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8424(d), 8432(j), 8433(e), 8435(c)(2), 8474(b)(5), and 8474(c)(1).

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2. Revise § 1651.5 to read as follows:

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Spouse of participant.

(a) For purposes of payment under § 1651.2(a)(2), the spouse of the participant is the person to whom the participant was married on the date of death. A person is considered to be married even if the parties are separated, unless a court decree of divorce or annulment has been entered. State law of the participant's domicile will be used to determine whether the participant was married at the time of death.

(b) If a person claims to have a marriage at common law with a deceased participant, the TSP will pay benefits to the putative spouse under § 1651.2(a)(2) in accordance with the marital status shown on the most recent Federal income tax return filed by the participant. Alternatively, the putative spouse may submit a court order or administrative adjudication determining that the common law marriage is valid.

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[FR Doc. 06-1864 Filed 2-27-06; 8:45 am]