Martin J. O’Malley was sworn in today by Senator Ben Cardin as Commissioner of Social Security to a term that expires on January 19, 2025.
Commissioner O’Malley expressed his gratitude for being chosen to lead the Social Security Administration. “I am honored for the opportunity of a lifetime to lead Social Security’s outstanding public servants forward, together, in such an important mission to help the agency to deliver critical services to the American people,” said Commissioner O’Malley. “Social Security is the most far-reaching and important act of social and economic justice that the people of the United States have ever enacted. For tens of millions of Americans across our country, Social Security is the difference between living with dignity or living in poverty.”
A lifelong public servant, Commissioner O’Malley brings a vast amount of experience to the position. He served as Governor of Maryland from 2007 to 2015, following two terms as Mayor of the City of Baltimore. Prior to being elected Mayor, he served as a member of the Baltimore City Council from 1991 to 1999 and Assistant States Attorney for the City of Baltimore before that.
Commissioner O’Malley is a pioneer in using performance-management and customer service technologies in government and has written extensively about how to govern for better results in the Information Age by measuring the outputs of government on a real-time basis.
As Commissioner, Mr. O’Malley will be responsible for administering the Social Security retirement, disability, and survivors insurance programs that pay over 1.4 trillion dollars annually in benefits to more than 66 million beneficiaries, as well as the Supplemental Security Income program that provides cash assistance to approximately 7.5 million people with limited income and resources. The agency has a workforce of about 61,000 employees and 1,500 facilities across the country and around the world.
Since 2016, Commissioner O’Malley has lectured on public administration at numerous universities and institutions, including the University of Maryland, Harvard University, Georgetown University, and Boston College School of Law.
Commissioner O’Malley graduated from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., in 1985, and earned his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1988. He and his wife of over 30 years, Judge Katie Curran O’Malley, have four children, Grace, Tara, William, and Jack.
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“As we approach the end of 2023, I am reflecting on all that the Social Security Administration has accomplished, despite considerable challenges. It’s been my great privilege to lead Social Security’s approximately 60,000 employees for the past two and one-half years, and I’m so proud of the work they’ve done to fulfill our mission.
For more than 85 years, Social Security has provided income protection for retirees, adults and children with disabilities, and families who lose a wage earner. In order to pay benefits, we also issue millions of Social Security Numbers (SSN), maintain the country’s wage records, and more. The scope of what we do is enormous, and we are proud to serve the public every day. Despite our recent history of chronic underfunding, Social Security remains among the most trusted agencies in the Federal Government.
Social Security’s top priority is, and always will be, working to provide high-quality, timely customer service. Social Security employees deliver approximately $1.4 trillion in benefits to more than 70 million people each year. Each week, our employees serve over 500,000 people in over 1,000 offices across the country.
Despite insufficient budgets, we have prioritized business, policy and technology improvements to serve you better. For visitors to our local field offices, we expanded mobile check-in and instituted an online scheduling system for people who need an appointment for a Social Security card. We also updated our check-in kiosks to make them more accessible and improve the overall check-in process.
Our redesigned website, launched in December 2022, is easier to navigate, more task-oriented, and offers more self-service options and increased digital services, making it easier for people to apply for benefits and replacement SSN cards. Customers can start—and often complete—their SSN card requests and applications for certain benefits online, and our new Office of Transformation recently introduced an online tool that will allow customers to electronically sign and upload certain documents. These improvements allow millions of people to complete their business online quickly and securely, saving time for our customers and freeing up more time for our employees to help customers with more complex needs in person and process more cases.
Despite these efforts, the combined effect of the pandemic and chronic underfunding have taken a toll on our employees. It has led to high attrition and backlogs. Our budget directly drives the level of service we can provide. Bottom line, we need enough well-trained employees to ensure we can meet your needs. New hires are necessary to begin to reduce growing backlogs and improve service. I am pleased that the funding we received in fiscal year (FY) 2023 allowed us to hire nearly 8,000 employees in the past year, but we must be able to maintain this staffing level. Using targeted strategies, we have also reduced the backlog of hearings to a 21-year low and began to address the backlog of initial disability claims. With sustained and sufficient funding consistent with the President’s FY 2024 budget request, I’m confident that we can build on our progress and retain the best qualified workforce.
We continue working to improve equity and access for all customers through partnerships and policy initiatives. Our newly established Office of Native American Partnerships is piloting mobile services by sending SSA employees to health facilities in remote locations and improving video service delivery in Tribal communities. We’ve also worked with the Biden-Harris Administration and other agencies to promote Economic Impact Payments, the Affordable Connectivity Program, and Child Tax Credits, so our customers could learn about and benefit from these programs without affecting their Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income payments.
To make it easier for people seeking benefits from Social Security to obtain legal representation, we increased our representative fees for the first time in 13 years and conducted outreach to the unrepresented to help them prepare for hearings. We are simplifying our disability redetermination and overpayment notices so they’re shorter, easier to understand, and less burdensome for our customers. We also made significant progress toward simplifying our rules around in-kind support and maintenance and past relevant work, in order to reduce burdens on both applicants and employees. We developed Social Security’s first comprehensive Limited English Proficiency policy to help customers with little or no understanding of English access our information and services. Further, we regularly meet with advocates, experts, and other external stakeholders to listen and gather feedback on our efforts to continuously improve.
Social Security remains a trusted program and agency, one that the public increasingly relies on. We’ve added at least 8 million more beneficiaries in the past 10 years alone. It’s imperative that we can sustain and support our workforce, improve our customers’ experience, communicate clearly with the public, and hone our policies and procedures to provide the service the public expects and deserves. With sufficient and sustained financial support from Congress, Social Security can continue to build on our accomplishments in 2024 and many years to come.”
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Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 71 million Americans will increase 3.2 percent in 2024, the Social Security Administration announced today. On average, Social Security retirement benefits will increase by more than $50 per month starting in January.
More than 66 million Social Security beneficiaries will see the 3.2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) beginning in January 2024. Increased payments to approximately 7.5 million people receiving SSI will begin on December 29, 2023. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).
“Social Security and SSI benefits will increase in 2024, and this will help millions of people keep up with expenses,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.
Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $168,600 from $160,200.
Social Security begins notifying people about their new benefit amount by mail starting in early December. Individuals who have a personal mySocial Security account can view their COLA notice online, which is secure, easy, and faster than receiving a letter in the mail. People can set up text or email alerts when there is a new message--such as their COLA notice--waiting for them in mySocial Security.
Information about Medicare changes for 2024 will be available at www.medicare.gov. For Social Security beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare, their new 2024 benefit amount will be available in December through the mailed COLA notice and mySocial Security's Message Center.
The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Social Security Administration has provided people with income security for over 80 years. The agency takes seriously its responsibilities to ensure eligible individuals receive the benefits to which they are entitled and to safeguard the integrity of benefit programs to better serve its customers. Agency employees work hard to pay the right person the right amount at the right time, and payment accuracy rates remain high.
Social Security pays $1.4 trillion in benefits to more than 71 million people each year. While payment accuracy rates are high, overpayments do happen given the number of people the agency serves, the number of changes in their circumstances, and the complexity of the programs.
Only around 0.5 percent of Social Security payments are overpayments. For the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, overpayments also represent a small percentage of payments—about 8 percent—but are higher due to the complexity in administering statutory income and resource limits and asset evaluations.
“Despite our high accuracy rates, I am putting together a team to review our overpayment policies and procedures to further improve how we serve our customers,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “I have designated a senior official to work out of the Office of the Commissioner to lead the team and report directly to me.”
There is misinformation in the media claiming that the Social Security Administration is attempting to collect $21 billion. This figure was derived from the total amount of overpayments that have occurred over the history of the programs. Each person’s situation is unique, and the agency handles overpayments on a case-by-case basis. In particular, if a person doesn’t agree that they’ve been overpaid, or believes the amount is incorrect, they can appeal. If they believe they shouldn’t have to pay the money back, they can request that the agency waive collection of the overpayment. There’s no time limit for filing a waiver.
The agency is continually improving how it serves the millions of people who depend on its programs, including by preventing overpayments and making it easier to navigate the recovery and waiver processes.
For instance, the agency just released its streamlined waiver request form that is easier to understand and less burdensome for people to request a debt recovery waiver. It is also developing a new electronic payroll data exchange program that will automatically use wage information to adjust payment amounts when appropriate to prevent overpayments. Additionally, the agency intends to publish a proposed rule to streamline processes and reduce burden so eligible individuals can more easily seek debt relief.
When overpayments do happen, the agency is required by law to adjust benefits or recover debts. The law allows Social Security to waive recovery in some cases, which must be balanced with the agency’s stewardship responsibility to safeguard the integrity of benefit programs and the trust funds.
Social Security is committed to working with people if they seek to appeal or to explore potential repayment options and waivers when allowed by law.
Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today announced 12 new Compassionate Allowances conditions: 1p36 Deletion Syndrome, Anaplastic Ependymoma, Calciphylaxis, Cholangiocarcinoma, FOXG1 Syndrome, Leber Congenital Amaurosis, Metastatic Endometrial Adenocarcinoma, Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration, Pineoblastoma – Childhood, Primary Omental Cancer, Sarcomatoid Carcinoma of the Lung – Stages II-IV, and Trisomy 9.
The Compassionate Allowances program quickly identifies claims where the applicant’s medical condition or disease clearly meets Social Security’s statutory standard for disability. Due to the severe nature of many of these conditions, these claims are often allowed based on medical confirmation of the diagnosis alone. To date, nearly 900,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through this accelerated, policy-compliant disability process, which now includes a total of 278 conditions.
“The Social Security Administration remains committed to reducing barriers and ensuring people who are eligible for benefits receive them,” said Acting Commissioner Kijakazi. “Our Compassionate Allowances program allows us to reinforce that commitment by expediting the disability application process for people with the most severe disabilities.”
When a person applies for disability benefits, Social Security must obtain medical records in order to make an accurate determination. The agency incorporates leading technology to identify potential Compassionate Allowances cases and make quick decisions. Social Security’s Health IT brings the speed and efficiency of electronic medical records to the disability determination process. With electronic records transmission, Social Security can quickly obtain a claimant’s medical information, review it, and make a faster determination.
Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced that the agency has expanded its outreach to people in critical need of financial help who may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSI provides monthly payments to adults age 65 and older or to other adults – and children – with a disability or blindness who have limited income and financial resources. SSI helps pay for basic needs like rent, food, clothing, and medicine.
“Helping eligible people access critical benefits, including SSI, is part of Social Security’s core mission,” said Acting Commissioner Kijakazi. “Underserved communities face additional challenges, like unreliable or no access to the internet and computers, that widen the divide. Social Security’s campaign strives to reach people in their communities to tell them about the eligibility criteria for SSI, and how to contact us online at www.ssa.gov/ssi or by phone for more information or an appointment to apply.” The campaign supports President Biden’s Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.
Social Security used data to identify and reach underserved communities in rural and urban areas across the country where it noted the greatest decline in SSI applications since the pandemic, and where the majority of people living in those zip codes are people of color and/or people living at or below the 150 percent Federal poverty threshold.
Social Security’s campaign uses a variety of ways to reach people, including radio and television public service announcements (PSA), radio ads, mailers, bus shelter and other large signs, flyers distributed to local stores, and printed publications in several language options.
Watch the 60-second television PSA below.
Social Security also is reaching more people online through social media, digital, YouTube ads, and search engine marketing.
Individuals who receive SSI may qualify for other financial help, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), Medicaid, and discounted internet service through the Federal Trade Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program. Individuals who receive Social Security benefits may also be eligible for SSI.
People with limited income and financial resources, and with access to the internet, should visit www.ssa.gov/ssi to learn more about SSI eligibility and request an appointment to apply for benefits. People without access to the internet can call Social Security’s National 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213 to speak with a representative.
In addition to this campaign, Social Security recently proposed simplifications to the SSI program when people are receiving food assistance. The proposed changes will simplify the rules, making it easier to understand and comply with program requirements. This will save time for the public and Social Security and improve the equitable treatment of food assistance within the SSI program. Social Security accepted comments about the proposed rule through April 17, 2023.
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Olivia and Liam are once again America’s most popular baby names in 2022. Liam has topped the list for six years in a row, and Olivia has been the top choice for new parents for four years. There is only one new name in the top 10, with Luna crawling into the top 10 for the first time.
Here are the top 10 boys’ and girls’ names for 2022:
Social Security began compiling the baby names list in 1997, with names dating back to 1880. Each year, the list reveals the effect of pop-culture on naming trends. Here are the top five fastest rising boys’ and girls’ names in 2022:
Please visit www.ssa.gov/babynames to view the entire list and see where your name ranks now and over the past 100 years.
“Just like your name, Social Security is with you from day one. One of the first things parents do for their newborn is get them a Social Security number. That makes Social Security the ultimate source for the most popular baby names each year!” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “And just like a name, Social Security is with you through life’s journey. See what else you can do at www.ssa.gov while you’re online.”
Visitors will experience a fresh homepage and new design to help them find what they need more easily, with clear paths to the tasks customers need to accomplish. This is part of ongoing efforts to improve how the public can do business with the agency.
While online, users can create mySocial Security accounts. mySocial Security is a personalized online account that people can use beginning in their working years and continuing into retirement. Nearly 80 million people have signed up at www.ssa.gov/myaccount and benefited from the many secure and convenient self-service options. They can request a replacement Social Security card online if they meet certain requirements. If they already receive Social Security benefits, they can start or change direct deposit online, request a replacement SSA-1099, and if they need proof of their benefits, they can print or download a current Benefit Verification Letter from their account.
People not yet receiving benefits can use their mySocial Security account to get personalized Social Security Statements, which provide their earnings information as well as estimates of their future benefits. The portal also includes links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits.
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The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASI and DI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2034, one year earlier than projected last year, with 80 percent of benefits payable at that time.
The OASI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted in 2033, one year sooner than last year’s estimate, with 77 percent of benefits payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund asset reserves are not projected to become depleted during the 75-year projection period.
In the 2023 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:
The asset reserves of the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds declined by $22 billion in 2022 to a total of $2.830 trillion.
The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income in 2023 and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period. Total cost began to be higher than total income in 2021. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2034. At that time, there would be sufficient income coming in to pay 80 percent of scheduled benefits.
“The Trustees continue to recommend that Congress address the projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely fashion to phase in necessary changes gradually,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “Social Security will continue to play a critical role in the lives of 67 million beneficiaries and 180 million workers and their families during 2023. With informed discussion, creative thinking, and timely legislative action, Social Security can continue to protect future generations.”
Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:
Total income, including interest, to the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to $1.222 trillion in 2022. ($1.107 trillion from net payroll tax contributions, $49 billion from taxation of benefits, and $66 billion in interest)
Total expenditures from the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to $1.244 trillion in 2022.
Social Security paid benefits of $1.232 trillion in calendar year 2022. There were about 66 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 3.61 percent of taxable payroll – higher than the 3.42 percent projected in last year’s report.
During 2022, an estimated 181 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
The cost of $6.7 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2022 was a very low 0.5 percent of total expenditures.
The combined trust fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 2.4 percent in 2022.
The Board of Trustees usually comprises six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Julie Su, Acting Secretary of Labor. The two public trustee positions are currently vacant.
Statement by Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, on the President’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Key investments focus on improving service, modernizing our information technology, and improving the customer experience and equity in our programs.
The Biden-Harris Administration today released the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The Budget details a blueprint to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out, lower costs for families, protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security, and reduce the deficit by ensuring the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share—all while ensuring no one making less than $400,000 per year pays more in taxes.
“Our programs affect individuals throughout their lives: from birth, to entering the workforce, to facing a disability or loss, and to retirement. The broad and critical nature of our programs drives our request for the resources necessary to improve our service to the public.”
The President’s FY 2024 Budget request for the Social Security Administration (SSA) proposes $15.5 billion in discretionary budget authority. The Budget will:
Improve Service Delivery: The Budget provides an increase of $1.4 billion, a 10-percent increase over our FY 2023 enacted level to improve customer service at our field offices, State disability determination services, and teleservice centers for retirees, people with disabilities, and their families while maintaining the integrity of our programs. Each year, we process more than 6 million retirement, survivors, and Medicare claims and more than 2 million disability and SSI claims. The Budget supports increased staffing levels from FY 2023, allowing us to process about a half million more disability cases in FY 2024 than we completed in FY 2022 and significantly reduce wait times for those decisions.
Advance Equity and Accessibility: We are one of the most important anti-poverty programs in the country. We remain committed to administering our programs in a way that promotes equity and fairness. We are making it easier for people to access the services they rely on, including individuals experiencing homelessness, children with disabilities, and people with mental and intellectual disabilities. The Budget makes investments in these areas to support SSI outreach work, including collaborating with government agencies and other third-party organizations in local communities to provide convenient access to our services and ensure members of the public are aware of their potential benefit eligibility.
We are also committed to enhancing the diversity and richness of our workforce to strengthen and maintain an inclusive work environment that values individual differences and treats employees with dignity and respect; thereby, enriching our current workforce, which is driven by our public service mission. This Budget continues our efforts to hire and promote the Nation’s best talent and build a diverse and representative workforce and ensure that all employees have equal opportunities to advance in their chosen careers.
Modernize our Information Technology: The Budget continues investment in our information technology (IT) to reduce the burden on the public, modernize our website and online services, and provide an improved customer experience.
To accelerate our progress, the Budget includes $50 million in dedicated no-year funding for our Benefits Modernization efforts. Our Benefits Modernization efforts will provide our employees with better technology tools to determine eligibility and process claims in order to better serve the public. The Benefits Modernization project is in addition to the efforts we are taking to sustain our systems.
Provides National, Comprehensive Paid Family and Medical Leave: The vast majority of America’s workers do not have access to paid family leave, including three out of four private sector workers. Among the lowest-paid workers, who are predominantly women and workers of color, 92 percent have no access to paid family leave through their employers. As many as one in five retirees leave the workforce earlier than planned to care for an ill family member, which negatively impacts families as well as the Nation’s labor supply and productivity. The Budget proposes to establish a national, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program administered by SSA. The program would: provide workers with progressive, partial wage replacement to take time off for family and medical reasons; include robust administrative funding; and use an inclusive family definition. The Budget would provide up to 12 weeks of leave to allow eligible workers to take time off to: care for and bond with a new child; care for a seriously ill loved one; heal from their own serious illness; address circumstances arising from a loved one’s military deployment; or find safety from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The Budget would also provide up to three days to grieve the death of a loved one. The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress to make this critical investment and strengthen America’s economy.
Building on the President’s strong record of fiscal responsibility, the Budget more than fully pays for its investments—reducing deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade by asking the wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share.
The Social Security Administration and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) continue to raise public awareness about Social Security imposter scams during the fourth annual “Slam the Scam” Day on March 9. Social Security scams — where fraudsters pressure victims into making cash or gift card payments to fix alleged Social Security number problems or to avoid arrest – are an ongoing government imposter fraud scheme. For several years, Social Security impersonation scams have been one of the most common government imposter scams reported to the Federal Trade Commission. Social Security has made concerted efforts to address this issue, through extensive outreach and investigative initiatives. These efforts have made a significant impact, reducing money reported lost to Social Security scams by 30 percent from 2021 to 2022.
“I am proud of the work we have done to combat Social Security imposter scams and raise public awareness,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to protect the public and their critical benefits. We urge Americans to remain vigilant, do not give out personal information or money, and report any scam attempts.”
Scammers use sophisticated tactics to trick potential victims into disclosing personal and financial information. Typically, they use these P’s – Pretend, Prize or Problem, Pressure, and Payment. For example, scammers pretend they are from Social Security in phone calls or emails and claim there is a problem with the person’s Social Security number. The scammer’s caller ID may be spoofed to look like a legitimate government number. Scammers may also send fake documents to pressure people into complying with demands for information or money. Other common tactics include citing “badge numbers” and using fraudulent Social Security letterhead to target individuals for payment or personal information.
Social Security will never tell you that your Social Security number is suspended; contact you to demand an immediate payment; threaten you with arrest; ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone; request gift cards or cash; or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information or money.
Social Security employees do contact the public by telephone for business purposes. Ordinarily, the agency calls people who have recently applied for a Social Security benefit, are already receiving payments and require an update to their record, or have requested a phone call from the agency. If there is a problem with a person’s Social Security number or record, Social Security will typically mail a letter.
“Working with our law enforcement and private sector partners to inform consumers about scammers and their deceptive practices remains a priority for my office. We will continue promoting National Slam the Scam Day to help protect consumers from these predators. Slamming the scam begins with consumers quickly taking a step to hang up the phone, or delete suspicious texts and emails, without responding to the scammers,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “That remains the easiest and most effective method to avoid falling prey to these vicious scams.”
Tomorrow’s events include:
1 p.m. ET: Join the FTC’s National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) Twitter chat (in Spanish) for advice on avoiding common scams with @laFTC. Follow the conversation by using the hashtag #NCPW2023.
3 p.m. ET: Join the FTC’s NCPW Twitter chat (in English) for advice on avoiding common scams with @FTC. Follow the conversation by using the hashtag #NCPW2023.
Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi appointed Richard Litsey as the Director for the Office of Native American Partnerships, the new Social Security Administration tribal office within the Office of the Commissioner. This office serves to elevate and centralize efforts to administer comprehensive programs and policies related to American Indians and Alaska Natives. It will enhance the agency’s relationship with Tribes and serve as the primary point of contact on Tribal affairs for all stakeholders.
“I am very pleased to welcome Richard Litsey as the first Director of our new office. Richard brings a wealth of experience advising federal agencies on ways to improve public programs and services for American Indians and Alaska Natives,” Acting Commissioner Kijakazi said. “Our Office of Native American Partnerships provides Tribal communities more representation and strengthens our commitment to reducing barriers to ensure people who are eligible for our benefits receive them.”
“I am thrilled to lead the new Office of Native American Partnerships, which will further develop and maintain a strong presence with Tribes nationwide to ensure effective delivery of our services to retirees, people with disabilities, and elder populations,” commented Richard Litsey. “The office serves as the agency’s primary point of contact for external and internal stakeholders on Tribal affairs.”
The Office of Native American Partnerships is responsible for many functions to assist Tribal communities throughout the country. It seeks to improve services to communities by engaging in meaningful national and regional policy consultations, roundtable discussions, and seminars with Tribal and Federal experts. It also coordinates internal agency Native American efforts, increases external program awareness to the Tribal community, helps to recruit a diverse candidate pool for hiring at all levels of Social Security, and serves as the primary point of contact for Tribal Government Offices to foster transparency and collaboration. Additionally, the office will conduct ongoing data collection and analysis to improve outreach to Tribal communities.
Mr. Litsey previously worked for the National Indian Health Board as the Director of Policy and Advocacy, the U.S. Senate as Counsel & Senior Advisor for Indian Affairs, Committee on Finance, and the Social Security Administration as a Hearing Office Director and Senior Attorney. He is an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and a member of the Federal Bar Association, Capitol Hill Chapter.