New regs for Monday: Disability payments, helping veterans find jobs

Monday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for payments to families that support members with disabilities, payments to veterans who have been rehabilitated and are looking for new jobs, and rules for nuclear power reactors.

Here's what is happening:

Disability assistance payments: The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) is looking to improve a program that helps families support people with disabilities through a new research initiative.

Under the proposal, the NIDRR's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) would look for ways to improve the outcomes of people with disabilities and the family members who take care of them. 

The program would focus on providing effective support to family members who take care of people with disabilities. This could include providing them with cash, meals, training, home modifications, counseling and more.

A family caregiver could be parent assisting a child, a child assisting a parent, a spouse to a spouse, or a sibling to a sibling, the agency said. The government is looking to support these caregivers with cash payments, the agency said.

"Family support is the predominant source of long-term services and supports for persons with disabilities in the United States," the agency wrote. "Without the contributions of family members, the public costs and demand for paid personal assistance would increase dramatically and become unsustainable."

The agency pointed to studies that estimate the annual cost of providing these services ranges between $335 billion and $450 billion.

"In addition to the value of the uncompensated hours of family direct support, families routinely incur substantial out-of-pocket expenses associated with a family member's disability," the agency wrote.

"Furthermore, families that include at least one individual with a disability often experience substantial economic and career losses," the agency added.

The agency also noted that many family caregivers face more than just economic hardships. They also deal with psychological, social and health stresses.

Veterans employment: The Department of Veterans Affairs is extending a program that helps veterans who were injured in battle find civilian jobs after the military.

Veterans Affairs already provides two months of employment adjustment assistance to these veterans who have been rehabilitated and are looking for work. These payments help the veterans find new jobs. 

But the agency plans to extend the program by an additional two months for rehabilitated veterans who are displaced by a natural or other type of disaster while they are trying to find work.

Contractor performance: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is rescinding acquisition regulations that the agency deemed redundant and unnecessary. The EPA will drop policies that required it to collect certain information about contractors' past performance, because the agency has other means of reviewing that information. 

The EPA said the rule was "administrative in nature."

Nuclear: The Nuclear Regulation Commission (NRC) is considering changes to a rule that would revise the acceptance criteria for certain parts for nuclear power reactors.

The proposed rule would apply to emergency core cooling systems for light-water nuclear power reactors. The new performance-based criteria would apply to fuel rods with zirconium alloy cladding.

IRS: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is getting rid of an "obsolete" payment system. The agency announced Friday is it doing away with information reporting and backup withholding regulations for the Qualified Payment Card Agent program, because it has not been used in years.

At one time, the program was used as a way for companies to pay their suppliers without having to worry about collecting their tax information.

Copyright: The U.S. Copyright Office is establishing a new fee schedule for registering copyright claims and filing Freedom of Information Act requests.

This will raise the cost of registering online for a standard copyright claim to $55 from $35, among other things.