I. Statement of Regulatory Priorities

We administer the Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance programs under title II of the Social Security Act (Act), the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program under title XVI of the Act, and the Special Veterans Benefits program under title VIII of the Act. As directed by Congress, we also assist in administering portions of the Medicare program under title XVIII of the Act. Our regulations codify the requirements for eligibility and entitlement to benefits and our procedures for administering these programs. Generally, our regulations do not impose burdens on the private sector or on State or local governments, except for the States' Disability Determination Services. We fully fund the Disability Determination Services in advance or via reimbursement for necessary costs in making disability determinations.

The entries in our regulatory plan (plan) represent issues of major importance to the Agency. Through our regulatory plan, we intend to:

A. Update the medical criteria used to evaluate disability applications to keep pace with medicine, science, technology, and workforce changes;

B. Ensure quality decisions while carefully reducing the hearings backlog, improving the disability appeals process, and improving the integrity of the disability determinations process;

C. Update SSA disability evaluation criteria, and ensure the accuracy of SSA claimant and beneficiary data;

D. Protect SSA claimants and beneficiaries through representative and representative payee rules and standards;

E. Combat Social Security fraud and impose civil monetary penalties for specific violations of the Social Security Act, while also increasing overpayment collection thresholds for OASI and DI benefit payments to be consistent with SSI; and

F. Update our Freedom of Information Act and Privacy and Disclosure rules.

Regulatory Reform

We designate all of the proposed regulations in this plan as "fully or partially exempt" under Executive Order 13771. In compliance with the Administration's Regulatory Reform efforts, as prescribed by Executive Order 13771 and Executive Order 13777, SSA is committed to engaging in regulatory activity only when strictly necessary and to reducing regulatory burden wherever possible. Accordingly, our Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan include only those regulatory activities needed to administer our Social Security benefits and payments programs. Moreover, the Agenda includes de-regulatory items to remove outdated regulatory sections from the Code of Federal Regulations. Finally, we remain committed to innovate in ways that ease burdens on the public even outside the realm of formal de-regulation, such as through developing online reporting and application tools.

II. Regulations in the Prerule Stage

Our regulation in the prerule stage will:

  • Help protect our claimants and beneficiaries by asking for advance input on which types of previous criminal histories, if any, should preclude someone from serving as an organizational representative payee (RIN 0960-AH79).
  • III. Regulations in the Proposed Rule Stage

    Our regulations will:

  • Comprehensively update the medical listings for evaluating musculoskeletal disorders (RIN 0960-AG38);

  • Selectively update the medical listings for evaluating digestive, cardiovascular, and skin disorders (RIN 0960-AG65);

  • Ensure the accuracy of the data we collect by codifying our authority to access and use electronic payroll data (RIN 0960-AH88);
  • Propose to impose deadlines on when claimant representatives must file fee petitions, to mandate standardized registration for all individuals wishing to be representatives, and will propose to add educational requirements for direct pay non-attorney representatives (RIN 0960-AI22);
  • Clarify our rules regarding the redetermination of entitlement when fraud or similar fault is involved. (RIN 0960-AI10);

  • Impose that SSA can assess the maximum allowable civil monetary penalty for certain violations of the Social Security Act (RIN 0960-AH91 and 0960-AI04);
  • Update our Freedom of Information act policies to reflect recent legislation (RIN 0960-AI07); and
  • Allow SSA to create two new categories of Privacy Act exemptions, enabling the retention of important records (RIN 0960-AH97 and 0960-AI08).
  • IV. Regulations in the Final Rule Stage

    Our regulation in the final rule stage will:

  • Make permanent the Attorney Advisor program, helping to reduce the hearings backlog (RIN 0960-AI23).
  • Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations

    Pursuant to section 6 of Executive Order 13563, "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review" (January 18, 2011), SSA regularly engages in retrospective review and analysis for multiple existing regulatory initiatives. These initiatives may be proposed or completed actions, and they do not necessarily appear in The Regulatory Plan. You can find more information on these completed rulemakings in past publications of the Unified Agenda at in the "Completed Actions" section for the Social Security Administration.