Why Retirement Advocates Embrace New Social Security Leadership – Community News
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Why Retirement Advocates Embrace New Social Security Leadership

An office of the Social Security Administration in San Francisco.

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There is a new leadership at the Social Security Administration. Some advocates of retirement welcome the move.

President Joe Biden fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul on July 9. Saul, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, closed heads with Democrats earlier this year over the timing of stimulus check payments to Social Security beneficiaries, as well as other issues.

His six-year term is set to expire in 2025. Saul’s deputy, David Black, resigned the same day, at the request of the White House.

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Biden has appointed Kilolo Kijakazi as acting commissioner. Kijakazi was previously appointed by Biden to serve as deputy commissioner for retirement and disability policy.

“From the beginning of their tenures with the Social Security Administration, Andrew Saul and David Black have been anti-beneficiary and anti-employee,” said Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat who serves as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Social Security Subcommittee, said in a statement.

Larson’s complaints about Saul’s leadership include the pursuit of rules to make it more difficult for some people to access benefits, especially disabilities for those unable to communicate in English. The administration has also moved to appoint attorneys from the agency to be responsible for appeal decisions, reducing the protection of a fair trial.

“Now President Biden can appoint someone who will work to keep his promise to protect and improve Social Security,” Larson said.

Neither Saul nor Black responded to requests for comment.

Teresa Ghilarducci, a labor economist and professor at the New School for Social Research, praised Kijakazi’s selection.

“Just make it permanent!” ghilarducci tweeted. “[Kijakazi] knows all about social security and its effects on workers and the poor elderly.”

Other retirement advocacy groups also supported the leadership change.

“Andrew Saul and David Black were appointed by former President Donald Trump to undermine Social Security,” Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, said in a statement. “That includes waging a war on people with disabilities, demoralizing the agency’s workforce and delaying President Biden’s stimulus checks.”

Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, also praised the change.

Andrew Saul was a disaster for seniors and all Social Security beneficiaries, said Fiesta. “From day one, he was on a mission to demolish the social security system from the inside out.

“Thank you President Biden for taking decisive action.”

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