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Notice

Proposed Data Collection(s) Available for Public Comment and Recommendations

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Summary: In accordance with the requirement of Section 3506 (c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 which provides opportunity for public comment on new or revised data collections, the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will publish periodic summaries of proposed data collections.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed information collections are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information has practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the RRB's estimate of the burden for the collection of the information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden related to the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

1. Title and purpose of information collection: Survivor Questionnaire; OMB 3220-0032.

Under Section 6 of the Railroad Retirement Act (RRA), benefits that may be due on the death of a railroad employee or a survivor annuitant include (1) a lump-sum death benefit (2) a residual lump-sum payment (3) accrued annuities due but unpaid at death, and (4) monthly survivor insurance payments. The requirements for determining the entitlement of possible beneficiaries to these benefits are prescribed in 20 CFR part 234.

When the RRB receives notification of the death of a railroad employee or survivor annuitant, an RRB field office utilizes Form RL-94-F, Survivor Questionnaire, to secure additional information from surviving relatives needed to determine if any further benefits are payable under the RRA. Completion is voluntary. One response is requested of each respondent.

The RRB proposes minor non-burden impacting changes to Form RL-94-F. The completion time for the RL-94-F is estimated at between 5 to 11 minutes. The RRB estimates that approximately 8,000 responses are received annually.

2. Title and Purpose of Information Collection: Pension Plan Reports; OMB 3220-0089.

Under Section 2(b) of the Railroad Retirement Act (RRA), the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) pays supplemental annuities to qualified RRB employee annuitants. A supplemental annuity, which is computed according to Section 3(e) of the RRA, can be paid at age 60 if the employee has at least 30 years of creditable railroad service or at age 65 if the employee has 25-29 years of railroad service. In addition to 25 years of service, a “current connection” with the railroad industry is required. Eligibility is further limited to employees who had at least one month of rail service before October 1981 and were awarded regular annuities after June 1966. Further, if an employee's 65th birthday was prior to September 2, 1981, he or she must not have worked in rail service after certain closing dates (generally the last day of the month following the month in which age 65 is attained). Under Section 2(h)(2) of the RRA, the amount of the supplemental annuity is reduced if the employees receive monthly pension payments, or lump-sum pension payments, from their former railroad employer, which are based in whole or in part on contributions from that railroad employer. The employees' own contributions to their pension accounts do not cause a reduction. An employer private pension is described in 20 CFR 216.40-216.42.

The RRB requires the following information from railroad employers to calculate supplemental annuities: (a) The current status of railroad employer pension plans and whether such employer pension plans cause reductions to the RRB supplemental annuity; (b) the amount of the employer private pension being paid to the employee; (c) whether or not the employer made contributions to the pension; (d) whether or not the employee was cashed out before attaining retirement age under the employer pension plan or received the pension in a lump-sum payment in lieu of monthly pension payments; and (e) whether the employer pension plan continues when the employer status under the RRA changes. The requirement that railroad employers furnish pension information to the RRB is contained in 20 CFR 209.2.

The RRB currently utilizes Form(s) G-88p (Employer's Supplemental Pension Report), G-88r (Request for Information About New or Revised Pension Plan), and G-88r.1 (Request for Additional Information about Employer Pension Plan in Case of Change of Employer Status or Termination of Pension Plan), to obtain the necessary information from railroad employers. One response is requested of each respondent. Completion is mandatory.

The RRB proposes no changes to Form G-88p, G-88r or G-88r.1

The estimated annual respondent burden is as follows:

Estimate of Annual Respondent Burden

Form No.(s)Annual responsesTime (min)Burden (hrs)
G-88p7508100
G-88r10102
G-88r.1571
Total765103
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Additional Information or Comments: To request more information or to obtain a copy of the information collection justification, forms, and/or supporting material, please call the RRB Clearance Officer at (312) 751-3363 or send an e-mail request to Charles.Mierzwa@RRB.GOV. Comments regarding the information collection should be addressed to Ronald J. Hodapp, Railroad Retirement Board, 844 North Rush Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611-2092 or send an e-mail to Ronald.Hodapp@RRB.GOV. Written comments should be received within 60 days of this notice.

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Charles Mierzwa,

Clearance Officer.

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[FR Doc. E9-5490 Filed 3-12-09; 8:45 am]

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