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Acting SSA Commissioner Colvin To Leave Jan. 20

2017 January 13
by Steve Perrigo

Social Security Administration Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin announced her last day would be Jan. 20 in an email to all agency employees, ending a nearly four-year stint as head of the federal agency that provides almost $1 trillion in benefits to 65 million Americans.

Colvin took her post on Feb. 14, 2013, two years after being named deputy commissioner by President Obama. Though she was nominated to serve as commissioner in 2014 and was approved by the Senate Finance Committee, she was never confirmed by the full Senate.

During her leadership of the SSA, she placed an emphasis on anti-fraud and program integrity efforts, while continuing to argue that the agency needed increased funding to deal with growing workloads. One of the significant challenges of her administration was the combination of the federal sequestration and the government shutdown in 2013. These events severely hampered the administration’s ability to complete workloads and the effects were long-lasting.

During Colvin’s time in office, the number of Social Security Disability Insurance recipients declined from 9.5 million to 8.8 million today, and the disability hearing backlog worsened. The number of claimants with pending hearings increased from 847,984 in FY 2013 to 1,141,234 in January 2017, while hearing wait times increased from 382 to 564 days over the same period. The SSA’s workforce increased slightly from 63,777 in March 2013 to 64,394 by September 2016.

President-Elect Donald Trump has yet to announce a possible nominee to lead the SSA.

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