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Privacy Act of 1974; Notice of a Computer Matching Program

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Defense Manpower Data Center, DoD.

ACTION:

Notice of a computer matching program.

SUMMARY:

Subsection (e)(12) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, (5 U.S.C. 552a) requires agencies to publish advance notice of any proposed or revised computer matching program by the matching agency for public comment. The DoD, as the matching agency under the Privacy Act, is hereby giving notice to the record subjects of a computer matching program between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and DoD that their records are being matched by computer. The purpose of this agreement is to verify an individual's continuing eligibility for VA benefits by identifying VA disability benefit recipients who return to active duty and to ensure that benefits are terminated if appropriate.

DATES:

This proposed action will become effective June 29, 2009, and matching may commence unless changes to the matching program are required due to public comments or by Congressional or Office of Management and Budget objections. Any public comment must be received before the effective date.

ADDRESSES:

Any interested party may submit written comments to the Director, Defense Privacy Office, 1901 South Bell Street, Suite 920, Arlington, VA 22202-4512.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Samuel P. Jenkins at telephone (703) 607-2943.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Pursuant to subsection (o) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, (5 U.S.C. 552a), the DMDC and VA have concluded an agreement to conduct a computer matching program between the agencies. The purpose of this agreement is to verify an individual's continuing eligibility for VA benefits by identifying VA disability benefit recipients who return to active duty and to ensure that benefits are terminated if appropriate.

The parties to this agreement have determined that a computer matching program is the most efficient, expeditious, and effective means of obtaining the information needed by the VA to identify ineligible VA disability compensation recipients who have returned to active duty. This matching agreement will identify those veterans who have returned to active duty, but are still receiving disability compensation. If this identification is not accomplished by computer matching, but is done manually, the cost would be prohibitive and it is possible that not all individuals would be identified.

A copy of the computer matching agreement between VA and DMDC is available upon request to the public. Requests should be submitted to the address caption above or to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefit Administration, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420.

Set forth below is the notice of the establishment of a computer matching program required by paragraph 6.c. of the Office of Management and Budget Guidelines on computer matching published in the Federal Register at 54 FR 25818 on June 19, 1989.

The matching agreement, as required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act, and an advance copy of this notice was submitted on May 20, 2009, to the House Committee on Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget pursuant to paragraph 4d of Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A-130, `Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records about Individuals,' dated February 8, 1996 (61 FR 6435).

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Dated: May 26, 2009.

Patricia L. Toppings,

OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

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Notice of a Computer Matching Program Between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense for Verification of Disability Compensation

A. Participating Agencies: Participants in this computer matching program are the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) of the Department of Defense (DoD). The VA is the source agency, i.e., the activity disclosing the records for the purpose of the match. The DMDC is the specific recipient activity or matching agency, i.e., the agency that actually performs the computer matching.

B. Purpose of the Match: The purpose of this agreement is to verify an individual's continuing eligibility for VA benefits by identifying VA disability benefit recipients who return to active duty and to ensure that benefits are terminated if appropriate. VA will provide identifying information on disability compensation recipients to DMDC to match against a file of active duty (including full-time National Guard and Reserve) personnel. The purpose is to identify those recipients who have returned to active duty and are ineligible to receive VA compensation so that benefits can be adjusted or terminated, if in order.

C. Authority for Conducting the Match: The legal authority for conducting the matching program for use in the administration of VA's Compensation and Pension Benefits Program is contained in 38 U.S.C. 5304(c), Prohibition Against Duplication of Benefits, which precludes pension, compensation, or retirement pay on account of any person's own service, for any period for which he receives active duty pay. The head of any Federal department or agency shall provide, pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 5106, such information as requested by VA for the purpose of determining eligibility for, or amount of benefits, or verifying other information with respect thereto.

D. Records To Be Matched: The systems of records maintained by the respective agencies under the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 552a, from which records will be disclosed for the purpose of this computer match are as follows:

VA will use the system of records identified as ”VA Compensation, Pension and Education and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Records—VA (58 VA 21/22/28),” first published at 41 FR 9294, March 3, 1976, and last amended at 74 FR 14685, April 1, 2009, with other amendments, as cited therein. Attachment 4 is a copy of the system notice with the appropriate routine use, i.e., RU 39, annotated.

DoD will use the system of records identified as DMDC 01, entitled, “Defense Manpower Data Center Data Base,” last published at 73 FR 5820, January 31, 2008. Attachment 5 is a copy of the system notice with the Start Printed Page 25721appropriate routine use, i.e., RU 1(e)(1), annotated.

E. Description of Computer Matching Program: The Veterans Benefits Administration will provide DMDC with an electronic file which contains specified data elements of individual VA disability compensation recipients. Upon receipt of the electronic file, DMDC will perform a computer match using all nine digits of the SSNs in the VA file against a DMDC computer database. The DMDC database consists of personnel records of active duty (including full-time National Guard and Reserve) military members. Matching records, “hits” based on the SSN, will produce the member's name, branch of service, and unit designation, and other pertinent data elements. The hits will be furnished to the Veterans Benefits Administration which is responsible for verifying and determining that the data on the DMDC electronic reply file are consistent with the source file and for resolving any discrepancies or inconsistencies on an individual basis. The Veterans Benefits Administration will also be responsible for making final determinations as to positive identification, eligibility for benefits, and verifying any other information with respect thereto.

The electronic file provided by VA will contain information on approximately 3.2 million disability compensation recipients.

The DMDC computer database file contains approximately 1 million records of active duty military members, including full-time National Guard and Reserve.

F. Inclusive Dates of the Matching Program: This computer matching program is subject to public comment and review by Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. If the mandatory 30 day period for comment has expired and no comments are received and if no objections are raised by either Congress or the Office of Management and Budget within 40 days of being notified of the proposed match, the computer matching program becomes effective and the respective agencies may begin the exchange at a mutually agreeable time and thereafter on a quarterly basis. By agreement between VA and DMDC, the matching program will be in effect for 18 months with an option to renew for 12 additional months unless one of the parties to the agreement advises the other by written request to terminate or modify the agreement.

G. Address for Receipt of Public Comments or Inquiries: Director, Defense Privacy Office, 1901 South Bell Street, Suite 920, Arlington, VA 22202-4512. Telephone (703) 607-2943.

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[FR Doc. E9-12554 Filed 5-28-09; 8:45 am]

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