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Rule

Accrued Benefits

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amends its adjudication regulation regarding accrued benefits. The amendments are the result of changes in statute and are intended to clarify existing regulatory provisions. This document adopts as final rule, without change, the proposed rule published in the Federal Register on June 29, 2006.

DATES:

Effective Date: January 29, 2007.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Maya Ferrandino, Consultant, Policy and Regulations Staff, Compensation and Pension Service, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 273-7210.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

In a document published in the Federal Register on June 29, 2006, (71 FR 37027), VA proposed to amend its regulations regarding accrued benefits to clarify existing regulatory provisions and to ensure consistency with section 104 of the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003, Public Law 108-183, which amended 38 U.S.C. 5121, with respect to payment of certain accrued benefits upon the death of a beneficiary.

The public comment period ended on August 28, 2006, and VA received no comments. Based on the rationale set forth in the proposed rule, we are adopting the provisions of the proposed rule as a final rule without change.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This document contains no provisions constituting a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521).

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, 5 U.S.C. 601-612. This final rule would not affect any small entities. 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.

Executive Order 12866

Executive Order 12866 directs agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). The Executive Order classifies a “significant regulatory action,” requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) unless OMB waives such review, as any regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive Order.

The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy implications of this final rule have been examined and it has been determined to be a significant regulatory action under the Executive Order because it is likely to result in a rule that may raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive Order.

Unfunded Mandates

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 issuing any rule that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any year. This final rule would have no such effect on State, local, and tribal governments, or on the private sector.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers and Titles

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance program numbers and titles for this proposal are 64.102, Compensation for Service-Connected Deaths for Veterans' Dependents, 64.104, Pension for Non-Service-Connected Disability for Veterans, 64.105, Pension to Veterans Surviving Spouses, and Children, 64.109, Veterans Compensation for Service-Connected Disability, and 64.110, Veterans Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Service-Connected Death.

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List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 3

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Approved: December 7, 2006.

Gordon H. Mansfield,

Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

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For the reasons set out in the preamble, VA amends

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PART 3—ADJUDICATION

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. Amend § 3.1000 as follows:

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a. In paragraph (a) introductory text, remove “at his death” and add, in its place, “at his or her death”; remove “decisions, or” and add, in its place, “decisions or”; and remove “for a period not to exceed 2 years prior to the last date of entitlement as provided in § 3.500(g)”.

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b. Redesignate paragraph (a)(4) as paragraph (a)(5).

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c. Add a new paragraph (a)(4).

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d. In paragraph (d)(4), add “, in support of a claim for VA benefits pending on the date of death” immediately following “before the date of death”.

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e. Add paragraph (d)(5).

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f. Add paragraph (i).

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The additions read as follows:

Entitlement under 38 U.S.C. 5121 to benefits due and unpaid upon death of a beneficiary.

(a) * * *

(4) Upon the death of a child claiming benefits under chapter 18 of this title, to the surviving parents.

* * * * *

(d) * * *

(5) Claim for VA benefits pending on the date of death means a claim filed with VA that had not been finally adjudicated by VA on or before the date of death. Such a claim includes a deceased beneficiary's claim to reopen a finally disallowed claim based upon new and material evidence or a deceased beneficiary's claim of clear and unmistakable error in a prior rating or decision. Any new and material evidence must have been in VA's possession on or before the date of the beneficiary's death.

* * * * *

(i) Active service pay. Benefits awarded under this section do not include compensation or pension benefits for any period for which the veteran received active service pay.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5304(c).)

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[FR Doc. E6-22339 Filed 12-28-06; 8:45 am]

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