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Notice

Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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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 collection is 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 of 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: RUIA Investigations and Continuing Entitlement; OMB 3220-0025.

Under Section 1(k) of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA), unemployment and sickness benefits are not payable for any day remuneration is payable or accrues to the claimant. Also Section 4(a-1) of the RUIA provides that unemployment or sickness benefits are not payable for any day the claimant receives the same benefits under any law other than the RUIA. Under Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) regulation 20 CFR 322.4(a), a claimant's certification or statement on an RRB-provided claim form, that he or she did not work on any day claimed and did not receive income such as vacation pay or pay for time lost, shall constitute sufficient evidence unless there is conflicting evidence. Further, under 20 CFR 322.4(b), when there is a question raised as to whether or not remuneration is payable or has accrued to a claimant with respect to a claimed day(s), an investigation shall be made with a view to obtaining information sufficient for a finding. The RRB utilizes the following three forms to obtain information from railroad employers, nonrailroad employers, and claimants, that is needed to determine whether a claimed day(s) of unemployment or sickness were improperly or fraudulently claimed: Form ID-5i, Request for Employment Information; Form ID-5R (SUP), Report of Employees Paid RUIA Benefits for Every Day in Month Reported as Month of Creditable Service; and Form UI-48, Statement Regarding Benefits Claimed for Days Worked. Completion is voluntary. One response is requested of each respondent.

To qualify for unemployment or sickness benefits payable under Section 2 of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA), a railroad employee must have certain qualifying earnings in the applicable base year. In addition, to qualify for extended or accelerated benefits under Section 2 of the RUIA, a railroad employee who has exhausted his or her rights to normal benefits must have at least 10 years of railroad service (under certain conditions, military service may be credited as months of railroad service). Accelerated benefits are unemployment or sickness benefits that are payable to a railroad employee before the regular July 1 beginning date of a benefit year if an employee has 10 or more years of service and is not qualified for benefits in the current benefit year.

During the RUIA claims review process, the RRB may determine that unemployment or sickness benefits cannot be awarded because RRB records show insufficient qualifying service and/or compensation. When this occurs, the RRB allows the claimant the opportunity to provide additional information if they believe that the RRB service and compensation records are incorrect.

Depending on the circumstances, the RRB provides the following forms to obtain information needed to determine if a claimant has sufficient service or compensation to qualify for unemployment or sickness benefits. Form UI-9, Statement of Employment and Wages; Form UI-44, Claim for Credit for Military Service; Form ID-4U, Advising of Service/Earnings Requirements for Unemployment Benefits; and Form ID-4X, Advising of Service/Earnings Requirements for Sickness Benefits. Completion of these forms is required to obtain or retain a benefit. One response is required of each respondent. The RRB proposes no change to the forms in this collection.

Estimate of Annual Respondent Burden

Form No.Annual responsesTime (minutes)Burden (hours)
UI-9691011
UI-441051
UI-4814123
ID-4U3553
ID-4X2552
ID-5i1,05015262
ID-5R (SUP)4001067
Total1,603349
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2. Title and purpose of information collection: Self-Employment/Corporate Officer Work and Earnings Monitoring; OMB 3220-0202.

Section 2 of the Railroad Retirement Act (RRA) provides for the payment of disability annuities to qualified employees. Section 2 also provides that if the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) receives a report of an annuitant working for a railroad or earning more than prescribed dollar amounts from either nonrailroad employment or self-employment, the annuity is no longer payable, or can be reduced, for the months worked. The regulations related to the nonpayment or reduction of the annuity by reason of work are prescribed in 20 CFR 220.160-164.

Some activities claimed by the applicant as “self-employment” may actually be employment for someone else (e.g., training officer, consultant, salesman). 20 CFR 216.22(c) states, for example, that an applicant is considered an employee, and not self-employed, when acting as a corporate officer, since the corporation is the applicant's employer. Whether the RRB classifies a particular activity as self-employment or as work for an employer depends upon the circumstances in each case. The circumstances are prescribed in 20 CFR 216.21-216-23.

Certain types of work may actually indicate an annuitant's recovery from disability. Regulations related to an annuitant's recovery from disability for work are prescribed in 20 CFR 220.17-220-20.

In addition, the RRB conducts continuing disability reviews (also known as a CDR), to determine whether the annuitant continues to meet the disability requirements of the law. Payment of disability benefits and/or a beneficiary's period of disability will end if medical evidence or other information shows that an annuitant is not disabled under the standards prescribed in Section 2 of the RRA. Continuing disability reviews are generally conducted if one or more of the following conditions are met: (1) The annuitant is scheduled for a routine periodic review, (2) the annuitant returns to work and successfully completes a trial work period, (3) substantial earnings are posted to the annuitant's wage record, or (4) information is received from the annuitant or a reliable source that the annuitant has recovered or returned to work. Provisions relating to when and how often the RRB conducts disability reviews are prescribed in 20 CFR 220.186.

To enhance program integrity activities, the RRB utilizes Form G-252, Self-Employment/Corporate Officer Work and Earnings Monitoring. Form G-252 obtains information from a disability annuitant who either claims to be self-employed or a corporate officer, or who the RRB determines to be self-employed or a corporate officer after a continuing disability review. The continuing disability review may be prompted by a report of work, return to railroad service, an allegation of a medical improvement or a routine disability review call-up. The information gathered is used to determine entitlement and/or continued entitlement to, and the amount of, the disability annuity, as prescribed in 20 CFR 220.176. Completion is required to retain benefits. One response is required of each respondent. The RRB proposes no changes to Form G-252.

Estimate of Annual Respondent Burden

Form No.Annual responsesTime (minutes)Burden (hours)
G-2521002033
Total10033

Additional Information or Comments: To request more information or to obtain a copy of the information collection justification, forms, and/or supporting material, contact Dana Hickman at (312) 751-4981 or Dana.Hickman@RRB.GOV. Comments regarding the information collection should be addressed to Brian Foster, Railroad Retirement Board, 844 North Rush Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611-1275 or emailed to Brian.Foster@rrb.gov. Written comments should be received within 60 days of this notice.

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Brian D. Foster,

Clearance Officer.

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[FR Doc. 2017-02272 Filed 2-2-17; 8:45 am]

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