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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 Start Printed Page 8895comment 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: Placement Service; OMB 3220-0057. Section 12(i) of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA), authorizes the RRB to establish, maintain, and operate free employment offices to provide claimants for unemployment benefits with job placement opportunities. Section 704(d) of the Regional Railroad Reorganization Act of 1973, as amended, and as extended by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, required the RRB to maintain and distribute a list of railroad job vacancies, by class and craft, based on information furnished by rail carriers to the RRB. Although the requirement under the law expired effective August 13, 1987, the RRB has continued to obtain this information in keeping with its employment service responsibilities under Section 12(k) of the RUIA. Application procedures for the job placement program are prescribed in 20 CFR 325. The procedures pertaining to the RRB's obtaining and distributing job vacancy reports furnished by rail carriers are described in 20 CFR 346.1.

The RRB currently utilizes four forms to obtain information needed to carry out its job placement responsibilities. Form ES-2, Central Register Notification, is used by the RRB to obtain information needed to update a computerized central register of separated and furloughed railroad employees available for employment in the railroad industry. Forms ES-21, Referral to State Employment Service, and ES-21c, Report of State Employment Service Office, are used by the RRB to provide placement assistance for unemployed railroad employees through arrangements with State Employment Service offices. Form UI-35, Field Office Record of Claimant Interview, is used primarily by the RRB to conduct in-person interviews of claimants for unemployment benefits.

Completion of these forms is required to obtain or maintain a benefit. In addition, the RRB also collects Railroad Job Vacancies information received voluntarily from railroad employers. The RRB no longer offers the Central Register as a basic employment service as of April 2017 and propose to obsolete Form ES-2. The RRB proposes no changes to Forms ES-21 and ES-21c and proposes minor changes to Form UI-35 to remove all reference to the obsolete Central Register and renumber accordingly.

Estimate of Current Annual Respondent Burden

Form No.Annual responsesTime (minutes)Burden (hours)
* UI-35 in person6,3007.00735
* UI-35 by mail70010.50123
Job Vacancies47010.0078

Estimate of Proposed Annual Respondent Burden

Form No.Annual responsesTime (minutes)Burden (hours)
*UI-35 in person6,3007.00735
*UI-35 by mail70011.00128
Job Vacancies47010.0078

2. Title and purpose of information collection: Certification Regarding Rights to Unemployment Benefits; OMB 3220-0079.

Under Section 4 of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA), an employee who leaves work voluntarily is disqualified for unemployment benefits unless the employee left work for good cause and is not qualified for unemployment benefits under any other law. RRB Form UI-45, Claimant's Statement—Voluntary Leaving of Work, is used by the RRB to obtain the claimant's statement when the claimant, the claimant's employer, or another source indicates that the claimant has voluntarily left work.

Completion of Form UI-45 is required to obtain or retain benefits. One response is received from each respondent. The RRB proposes no changes to Form UI-45.Start Printed Page 8896

Estimate of Annual Respondent Burden

Form No.Annual responsesTime (minutes)Burden (hours)

3. Title and purpose of information collection: Self-Employment and Substantial Service Questionnaire; OMB 3220-0138.

Section 2 of the Railroad Retirement Act (RRA) provides for payment of annuities to qualified employees and their spouses. In order to receive an age and service annuity, Section 2(e)(3) states that an applicant must stop all railroad work and give up any rights to return to such work. However, applicants are not required to stop nonrailroad work or self-employment.

The RRB considers some work claimed as “self-employment” to actually be employment for an employer. Whether the RRB classifies a particular activity as self-employment or as work for an employer depends upon the circumstances of each case. These circumstances are prescribed in 20 CFR 216.

Under the 1988 amendments to the RRA, an applicant is no longer required to stop work for a “Last Pre-Retirement Nonrailroad Employer” (LPE). However, Section 2(f)(6) of the RRA requires that a portion of the employee's Tier II benefit and supplemental annuity be deducted for earnings from the “LPE.”

The “LPE” is defined as the last person, company, or institution with whom the employee or spouse applicant was employed concurrently with, or after, the applicant's last railroad employment and before their annuity beginning date. If a spouse never worked for a railroad, the LPE is the last person for whom he or she worked.

The RRB utilizes Form AA-4, Self-Employment and Substantial Service Questionnaire, to obtain information needed to determine if the work the applicant claims is self-employment is really self-employment or work for an LPE or railroad service. If the work is self-employment, the questionnaire identifies any month in which the applicant did not perform substantial service. One response is requested of each respondent. Completion is voluntary. However, failure to complete the form could result in the nonpayment of benefits. The RRB proposes to the following changes to Form AA-4:

  • Update the officer title and RRB zip code in the Paperwork Reduction Act/Privacy Act Notices section;
  • update the example date in Section 1—General Instructions; and
  • update the RRB office hours in Section 7—Certification.

Estimate of Annual Respondent Burden

Form No.Annual responsesTime (minutes)Burden (hours)
AA-4 (With assistance)57040380
AA-4 (Without assistance)307035

4. Title and purpose of information collection: Withholding Certificate for Railroad Retirement Monthly Annuity Payments; OMB 3220-0149.

The Internal Revenue Code requires that all payers of tax liable private pensions to U.S. citizens or residents: (1) Notify each recipient at least concurrent with initial withholding that the payer is, in fact, withholding benefits for tax liability and that the recipient has the option of electing not to have the payer withhold, or to withhold at a specific rate; (2) withhold benefits for tax purposes (in the absence of the recipient's election not to withhold benefits); and (3) notify all beneficiaries, at least annually, that they have the option to change their withholding status or elect not to have benefits withheld.

The RRB provides Form RRB-W4P, Withholding Certificate for Railroad Retirement Payments, to its annuitants to exercise their withholding options. Completion of the form is required to obtain or retain a benefit. One response is requested of each respondent. The RRB proposes no changes to Form W-4P.

The RRB estimates that 25,000 annuitants utilize Form RRB W-4P annually. The completion time for Form RRB W-4P varies depending on individual circumstances. The estimated average completion time for Form RRB W-4P is 39 minutes for recordkeeping, 24 minutes for learning about the law or the form, and 59 minutes for preparing the form.

5. Title and purpose of information collection: Designation of Contact Officials; 3220-0200 Coordination between railroad employers and the RRB is essential to properly administer the payment of benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act (RRA) and the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA). In order to enhance timely coordination activity, the RRB utilizes Form G-117a, Designation of Contact Officials. Form G-117a is used by railroad employers to designate employees who are to act as point of contact with the RRB on a variety of RRA and RUIA-related matters.

Completion is voluntary. One response is requested from each respondent. The RRB proposes no changes to Form G-117a.Start Printed Page 8897

Estimate of Annual Respondent Burden

Form No.Annual responsesTime (minutes)Burden (hours)

Additional Information or Comments: To request more information or to obtain a copy of the information collection justification, forms, and/or supporting material, contact Kennisha C. Tucker at (312) 469-2591 or 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 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. 2020-03107 Filed 2-14-20; 8:45 am]