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Proposed Rule

Federal Employees' Retirement System; Present Value Conversion Factors for Spouses of Deceased Separated Employees

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 24401

AGENCY:

Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is proposing to revise the table of reduction factors for early commencing dates of survivor annuities for spouses of separated employees who die before the date on which they would be eligible for unreduced deferred annuities, and to revise the annuity factor for spouses of deceased employees who die in service when those spouses elect to receive the basic employee death benefit in 36 installments under the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS) Act of 1986. These rules are necessary to ensure that the tables conform to the economic and demographic assumptions adopted by the Board of Actuaries and published in the Federal Register on May 20, 2019.

DATES:

Send comments on or before July 29, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments identified by docket number and/or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) and title, by the following method:

All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number or RIN for this document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Karla Yeakle, (202) 606-0299.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On May 20, 2019, OPM published notice 84 FR 22915 in the Federal Register to revise the normal cost percentages under the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS) Act of 1986, Public Law 99-335, 100 Stat. 514, as amended, based on economic assumptions and demographic factors adopted by the Board of Actuaries of the Civil Service Retirement System. By statute under 5 U.S.C. 8461(i), the revisions to the actuarial assumptions require corresponding changes in factors used to produce actuarially equivalent benefits when required by the FERS Act.

Section 843.309 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, regulates the payment of the basic employee death benefit. Under 5 U.S.C. 8442(b), the basic employee death benefit may be paid to a surviving spouse as a lump sum or as an equivalent benefit in 36 installments. These rules amend 5 CFR 843.309(b)(2) to conform the factor used to convert the lump sum to 36-installment payments with the revised economic assumptions.

Section 843.311 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, regulates the benefits for the survivors of separated employees under 5 U.S.C. 8442(c). This section provides a choice of benefits for eligible current and former spouses. If the current or former spouse is the person entitled to the unexpended balance under the order of precedence under 5 U.S.C. 8424, he or she may elect to receive the unexpended balance instead of an annuity.

Alternatively, an eligible current or former spouse may elect to receive an annuity commencing on the day after the employee's death or on the deceased separated employee's 62nd birthday. If the annuity commences on the deceased separated employee's 62nd birthday, the annuity will equal 50 percent of the annuity that the separated employee would have received had he or she attained age 62. If the current or former spouse elects an earlier commencing date, the annuity is reduced using the factors in Appendix A to subpart C of part 843 to make the annuity actuarially equivalent to the present value of the annuity that the spouse or former spouse would have received if the annuity had commenced on the deceased separated employee's 62nd birthday. These rules amend Appendix A to subpart C of part 843 to conform the factors to the revised actuarial assumptions.

Regulatory Impact Analysis

OPM has examined the impact of this rule as required by Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563, which directs agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public, health, and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). A regulatory impact analysis must be prepared for major rules with economically significant effects of $100 million or more in any one year. This rule was not designated as a “significant regulatory action,” under Executive Order 12866.

Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

This proposed rule is not expected to be a E.O. 13771 regulatory action because this proposed rule is not significant under E.O. 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Office of Personnel Management certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Federalism

We have examined this rule in accordance with Executive Order 13132, Federalism, and have determined that this rule will not have any negative impact on the rights, roles and responsibilities of State, local, or tribal governments.

Civil Justice Reform

This regulation meets the applicable standard set forth in Executive Order 12988.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

This rule will not result in the expenditure by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any year and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed Start Printed Page 24402necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

Congressional Review Act

This action pertains to agency management, personnel, and organization and does not substantially affect the rights or obligations of nonagency parties and, accordingly, is not a “rule” as that term is used by the Congressional Review Act (Subtitle E of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA)). Therefore, the reporting requirement of 5 U.S.C. 801 does not apply.

Paperwork Reduction Act

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) (PRA), unless that collection of information displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Control Number.

This rule involves an OMB approved collection of information subject to the PRA Application for Death Benefits (FERS)/Documentation and Elections in Support of Application for Death Benefits when Deceased was an Employee at the Time of Death (FERS), 3206-0172. The public reporting burden for this collection is estimated to average 60 minutes per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The total burden hour estimate for this form is 16,751 hours. The systems of record notice for this collection is: OPM SORN CENTRAL-1-Civil Service Retirement and Insurance Records.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 843

  • Air traffic controllers
  • Disability benefits
  • Firefighters
  • Government employees
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Pensions
  • Retirement
End List of Subjects Start Signature

Alexys Stanley,

Regulatory Affairs Analyst, Office of Personnel Management.

End Signature

For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Office of Personnel Management proposes to amend 5 CFR part 843 as follows:

Start Part

PART 843—FEDERAL EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM—DEATH BENEFITS AND EMPLOYEE REFUNDS

End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 843 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8461; §§ 843.205, 843.208, and 843.209 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 8424; § 843.309 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 8442; § 843.406 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 8441.

End Authority

Subpart C—Current and Former Spouse Benefits

Start Amendment Part

2. In § 843.309, revise paragraph (b)(2) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Basic employee death benefit.
* * * * *

(b) * * *

(2) For deaths occurring on or after October 1, 2019, 36 equal monthly installments of 2.96358 percent of the amount of the basic employee death benefit.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

3. Revise Appendix A to subpart C of part 843 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part

Appendix A to Subpart C of Part 843—Present Value Conversion Factors for Earlier Commencing Date of Annuities of Current and Former Spouses of Deceased Separated Employees

With at least 10 but less than 20 years of creditable service—

Age of separated employee at birthday before deathMultiplier
26.0998
27.1068
28.1138
29.1214
30.1291
31.1375
32.1463
33.1555
34.1651
35.1755
36.1867
37.1986
38.2113
39.2247
40.2390
41.2540
42.2701
43.2875
44.3057
45.3252
46.3460
47.3680
48.3917
49.4171
50.4445
51.4739
52.5055
53.5393
54.5758
55.6151
56.6578
57.7037
58.7536
59.8076
60.8663
61.9302

With at least 20, but less than 30 years of creditable service—

Age of separated employee at birthday before deathMultiplier
36.2153
37.2291
38.2436
39.2592
40.2756
41.2930
42.3116
43.3316
44.3527
45.3752
46.3992
47.4247
48.4521
49.4814
50.5131
51.5470
52.5834
53.6225
54.6646
55.7100
56.7592
57.8123
58.8698
59.9322

With at least 30 years of creditable service—

Age of separated employee at birthday before deathMultiplier by separated employee's year of birth
After 1966From 1950 through 1966
46.4912.5254
47.5226.5591
48.5564.5953
49.5926.6340
50.6316.6757
51.6733.7203
52.7181.7683
53.7663.8199
54.8182.8754
55.8741.9353
56.93461.0000
End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2019-10849 Filed 5-24-19; 8:45 am]

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