Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Michael J. Astrue Out, Carolyn Colvin In As New SSA Head

The Social Security Administration (SSA) just had a change in its management after former Commissioner Michael J. Astrue left his position. Astrue was known to have overhauled the complex operations of the agency, making it more efficient and offer service of better quality.

Astrue, during his time as commissioner of the SSA, has adopted fast-track processes, reduced the time for disability hearings by about 180 days, replaced the data center with a state-of-the-art facility. Astrue was also responsible in developing a suite of electronic services both in English and Spanish, the best of any government-offered electronic services. Astrue was also responsible in initiating cooperation between the agency and the Bureau of Labor Statistics for better vocational tools for disability determinations. He has also provided tools to help Americans plan their retirement benefit and improve the quality of disability decision-making. Astrue also pushed the “plain language” reporting of annual financial status of the Medicare and Social Security programs.

These achievements have made Astrue well-loved by employees and Social Security beneficiaries. These made him the winner of many awards because of his service for the agency. As he now leaves the SSA, the agency needs a leader with the same dedication to lead the agency to a better direction.

Former deputy commissioner Carolyn Colvin has recently been appointed to take over Astrue’s post. She is now the Acting Commissioner of the SSA. Throughout her stint in the agency, she has been able to manage programs that have helped people with their healthcare and financial needs. She has held various key SSA positions like Deputy Commissioner for Policy and External Affairs, Programs and Policy, and Operations.

Colvin has also held important positions outside of the SSA. She became the Director of Human Services for the District of Columbia, Director of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. She also became the Chief Executive Officer of AMERIGROUP Community Care of the District of Columbia, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Transportation, and the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Human Resources. In all of these positions that she held, she was able to contribute significantly for the respective agency’s betterment.

Her great educational background and the many awards that she has received is a great testament to her dedication for work, making her perfect for the position as Deputy Commissioner of the SSA. A disability benefits lawyer believes in Colvin’s capabilities and her potential as the new head of the SSA. With the many challenges that the Social Security faces, the agency needs a leader with the proper skills and the concern for the public’s welfare. Everybody’s hoping that Colvin can be as effective, and even better than Astrue as a leader of the SSA.