Greenstein and Kijakazi honored for social achievements – Community News
Social Security

Greenstein and Kijakazi honored for social achievements

Washington, Nov. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kilolo Kijakazi, acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), and Robert (Bob) Greenstein, founder of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), each received the 2021 Robert M. Ball Award from the National Academy of Social Insurance at a hybrid event on Nov. 9. Nearly one hundred and fifty guests (all required to provide proof of full vaccination) attended a reception at the Kennedy Center, including: Wendell Primus, Gene Sperling, Earl Pomeroy, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Ellen Nissenbaum, Lisa Mensah, Debra Whitman, Renée Landers, Indi Dutta-Gupta, Jason Fichtner, Rebecca Vallas, William Arnone, Ramsey Alwin, Maya MacGuineas, Lynette Rawlings, Chris Jennings and Rosa Maria Castañeda.

Speakers described to in-person guests and attendees via Zoom how Greenstein and Kijakazi are making innovative contributions to social insurance and related policy issues to help improve the well-being of millions of people. Wendell Primus, senior policy advisor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking as part of the awards ceremony to Kijakazi, said: “She has applied a critical and much-needed lens of justice to understand and address social problems within social insurance … is known as a true champion of low incomes [people] and families of color, with a particular focus on how to build wealth and financial security while in the workforce and after retirement.”

Gene Sperling, senior adviser to President Biden and coordinator of the US White House bailout, who spoke as part of the Greenstein award ceremony, said: “In a city defined by ego, power and money, Bob gave the poorest citizens [and] non-citizens in our country the most effective advocacy I’ve ever seen. His money – his power – has been the currency of world-class analytics… It’s hard to imagine anyone else who has shifted more resources to those without power and in most need.”

Since 2004, the Academy has presented the Robert M. Ball Award to individuals whose recent work has had a significant impact on the American social security system. This award honors Robert M. Ball, Social Security Commissioner (1962-1973) and chairman of the Academy’s founding board. For more than 60 years, Bob Ball has worked tirelessly to advance our nation’s social insurance programs.

Kilolo Kijakazi became deputy commissioner for pension and disability policy at SSA in January 2021, bringing her expertise in social insurance and pensions to lead the department’s policy development and research activities. In July 2021, she was appointed acting commissioner by President Biden. Bob Greenstein’s leadership has built CBPP, which he founded in 1981 and led through 2020, into a major force for helping shape federal and state policies on public programs, from Medicaid to unemployment insurance to Social Security and more. Photos from the event are available on the Academy’s website.

  • Robert Greenstein receives the Robert M. Ball Award 2021

  • Kilolo Kijakazi receives the Robert M. Ball Award 2021