Federal Register: April 19, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 75)
DOCID: FR Doc 04-8404
CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE
Corporation for National and Community Service
CFR Citation: 45 CFR Part 2551
RIN ID: RIN 3045-AA29
DOCUMENT ACTION: Final rule.
Senior Companion Program; Amendments
DATES: These amendments are effective as of April 19, 2004.
These amendments to the regulations governing the Senior Companion Program (SCP) modify provisions concerning deductions for medical expenses and the allowability of certain volunteer expense items. The specific amendments are as follows: Sec. 2551.42(c) is modified to increase the ceiling on medical expenses that may be deducted for determining income for eligibility purposes from 15 percent to 50 percent of the applicable income guideline; and Sec. Sec. 2551.45 and 2551.93(d) are modified to allow project funds, including the required nonFederal share, to be used to reimburse volunteers for expenses, including transportation costs, incurred while performing volunteer assignments, and for purchase of equipment or supplies for volunteers on assignment.
Senior Companion Program; amendments,
The Corporation published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for the Senior Companion Program, 45 CFR part 2551, in the Federal Register at 69 FR 6225, dated February 10, 2004.
Summary of Main Comments
In response to the Corporation's invitation in the notice of
proposed rulemaking, the Corporation received 36 responses addressing
the proposed amendments to the Senior Companion rules. All 36
respondents supported the proposed amendments modifying the medical
expense deduction. Those who provided explanations for why they favored
these amendments generally noted that it would permit a larger number
of individuals with high medical expenses to serve, thus increasing the
number of incomeeligible volunteers and broadening their recruitment
potential. Several noted that they have had to turn away volunteers who
were only slightly over income, and this change would have enabled them
to be enrolled. Concerning the amendments that would allow project
funds to be used to reimburse volunteers for certain expenses that now
may be paid only by the volunteer station, 16 responses expressed
support, 1 expressed partial support, and 19 did not comment. Reasons
cited for supporting the amendment included: (a) The possibility of
developing innovative highimpact volunteer opportunities, (b) the
value of increased flexibility to manage funds in accordance with local [[Page 20830]]
needs, (c) the need to reimburse transportation expenses in rural areas, and (d) the desire to provide Senior Companions with certain supplies that they can use on any assignment, regardless of the volunteer station they are assigned to. Other specific comments and the Corporation's responses follow:
Comment: In addition to increasing the medical expense deduction, the income eligibility guidelines for Senior Companions should be increased or eliminated.
Response: The Domestic Volunteer Service Act currently stipulates that volunteers receiving stipends must have incomes at or below 125% of the poverty level. This provision may not be changed by regulation. In ``Principles and Reforms for a Citizen Service Act,'' issued by President Bush April 9, 2002, the Administration proposed to eliminate the limits on income of Senior Companions receiving stipends. This continues to be the position of the Administration.
Comment: Grantees should not be allowed to use project funds to pay for expenses volunteers incur in transporting clients; these should remain the responsibility of the volunteer station.
Response: Under the modified regulation, grantees are free to establish their own policies regarding which assignmentrelated expenses volunteer stations must be responsible for under the memorandum of understanding between the grantee and the volunteer station.
Impact of Various Acts and Executive Orders
After carefully reviewing the changes implemented by this
amendment, and after coordination with the Office of Management and Budget, it was determined that:
(1) This was a significant regulatory action under section 3(f)(4) of Executive Order 12866 ``Regulatory Planning and Review'', and required a review by the Office of Management and Budget;
(2) The Corporation hereby certifies that the Regulatory Flexibility Act does not apply because there is no ``significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities''; (3) That the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. chapter 25, subchapter II) does not apply because the amendment does not result in any annual expenditures of $100 million by State, local, Indian tribal governments or the private sector;
(4) That the Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the amendments do not impose any additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements;
(5) That the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 does not apply because it is not a major rule as defined by section 251 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, and would not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; result in an increase in cost or prices; or have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United Statesbased companies to compete with foreignbased companies in domestic and export markets; and
(6) That Executive Order 13132, ``Federalism'' does not apply because it would not have substantial direct effects on the States or the relationship between the national government and the States. List of Subjects in 45 CFR Part 2551
Aged, Grant programssocial programs, Volunteers.
For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Corporation for National and Community Service amends 45 CFR part 2551 as follows:
PART 2551THE SENIOR COMPANION PROGRAM
1. The authority citation for part 2551 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4950 et seq.
Sec. 2551.42 [Amended]
2. In Sec. 2551.42(c), remove the words ``15 percent'' and add the words ``50 percent'' in their place.
Sec. 2551.45 [Amended]
3. In Sec. 2551.45, add a new paragraph (g), to read as follows: Sec. 2551.45 What cost reimbursements are provided to Senior Companions?
* * * * *
(g) Other volunteer expenses. Senior Companions may be reimbursed for expenses incurred while performing their volunteer assignments provided these expenses are described in the Memorandum of Understanding negotiated with the volunteer station to which the volunteer is assigned, and there are sufficient funds available to cover these expenses and meet all other requirements identified in the notice of grant award.
Sec. 2551.93 [Amended]
4. In Sec. 2551.93, remove paragraph (d) and redesignate paragraphs (e) through (i) as paragraphs (d) through (h).
Dated: April 7, 2004.
Director, National Senior Service Corps.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Peter L. Boynton, 202-606-5000, ext. 499.