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THIS MONTH IN SOCIAL SECURITY HISTORY
December 30, 1938 Ellen S. Woodward took the oath of office as a member of the Social Security Board; she succeeded Mary W. Dewson who resigned December 10, 1938.
December 8-11, 1940 Arthur J. Altmeyer went to Lima, Peru to develop Pan American cooperation in Social Security. Following the meeting, a temporary Inter-American Committee on Social Security was formed.
December 4, 1941 The Committee on Long Range Work and Relief Policies of the National Resources Planning Board transmitted to the President a comprehensive report "Security, Work and Relief Policies." This report advocated the addition of an insurance system that would provide disability and sickness benefits.
December 8, 1941 The work week was extended to 48 hours, after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
December 20, 1962 Secretary Celebrezze announced a reorganization in DHEW to accord top level administrative status to the old-age, survivors and disability insurance program by making it the primary mission of the Social Security Administration. At the same time, all the principal welfare programs of the Department would be brought together in a new Welfare Administration.
December 1968 California's Lt. Governor, Robert H. Finch, was named by President Nixon to be the eighth Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
December 30, 1969 President Nixon signed the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act under Title IV of the act. Monthly cash benefits were provided coal miners who became totally disabled because of pneumoconiosis (black lung disease), and for their dependents and survivors. The Social Security Administration was made responsible for the payment and administration of benefit claims provided before January 1, 1973. The Department of Labor was to have the responsibility for claims filed after December 31, 1973.
December 20, 1977 The Social Security Amendments of 1977 were signed by President Carter. This legislation was designed to restore the financial soundness of the Social Security system into the 21st century, and making future benefits and costs much more predictable.
December 16, 1981 President Reagan promulgated Executive Order 12335, which established the National Commission on Social Security Reform. The Commission was created as a result of the continuing deterioration of the financial position of the Old-Age and Survivors Trust Fund and to made recommendations to assure the financial integrity of the Social Security System.
December 19, 1989 President Bush signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989. This law contained 25 provisions relating to Social Security.
December 31, 1994 The bipartisan commission on the "notch" issued its report: "Final Report on the Social Security 'Notch' Issue." The Commission's recommendation was: "The central finding of the Commission is that benefits paid to those in the 'Notch' years are equitable, and no remedial legislation is in order."
December 4, 1996 A report by the Boskin Commission recommended downward adjustments in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 1.1%. The CPI is the basis for Social Security COLAs and this recommendation, if adopted, would reduce future Social Security COLA increases.
December 17, 1997 Commissioner Apfel announced the results of his "top to bottom" review of the SSI childhood disability determination process. While expressing overall confidence in the quality of the determinations, some problems were found. The Commissioner directed a new review of approximately 45,000 of the 135,000 cases where benefits had been ceased, and offered a second opportunity to appeal for all ceased beneficiaries who did not choose to appeal initially. In addition, all 15,000 new claims filed since the August 1996 passage of the "welfare reform" changes in the law were to be reviewed again.
December 8-9, 1998 The first-ever White House Conference on Social Security was held in Washington, D.C.
December 28, 1998 President Clinton announced that SSA's computer systems were now fully Y2K compliant. This made SSA the first major federal agency to complete work on the Year 2000 computer problem. About 700 programmers worked on the project, starting in 1989. The year 2000 project's estimated cost was $42 million.
December 13, 1999 The Social Security Administration announced that the legislated increase in the normal retirement age for Social Security is set to increase beginning in January 2000. The age for collecting full Social Security benefits will gradually increase from age 65 to 67 over a 22-year period.
December 17, 1999 President Clinton signed the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-170). The legislation is the most significant change in disability policy since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. The signing ceremony took place at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.
December 29, 2000 SSA published final regulations rules implementing automatic adjustments each year to the substantial gainful activity level for individuals with impairments other than blindness, the trial work period, and the student earned income exclusion. These rules became effective January the 29th.
December 11, 2001 The President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security held its final meeting and voted unanimously to approve the Draft Final Report. The Commission declined to recommend a single reform proposal but instead offered three possible scenarios for how private accounts might be introduced into the Social Security program.
December 18, 2001 Commissioner Barnhart signed-out the final regulations for implementing the "Ticket to Work" disability provisions and the regs. were sent to the Federal Register for publication.
December 17, 2007 Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, announced that the agency’s National Hearing Center (NHC) is open for business. The NHC is one of the many steps the agency has taken this year to address the backlog of disability cases at the hearing level. Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Frank Cristaudo presided over the first hearing from the NHC in Falls Church, Virginia using electronic video technology. The claimant and the claimant’s representative took part in the hearing from a hearing office in Cleveland, Ohio.
December 16, 2008 The Social Security Administration announced that it will be the first government agency to utilize the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN). Beginning in early 2009, Social Security will receive medical records for some disability applicants electronically through the NHIN gateway.
December 22, 2010 The United States Senate confirmed Carolyn Colvin as Deputy Commissioner of Social Security to a term that expires on January 19, 2013.