Commissioner of Social Security to hold Chair
at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
at the University of Texas at Austin
Kenneth S. Apfel, Commissioner of Social Security, announced today that at the end of his term in January, 2001, he will leave his cabinet level position to join the faculty of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He will hold the Sid Richardson Chair in Public Affairs--a position that was once held by the late Wilbur Cohen, an aide to President Franklin Roosevelt and co-author of the Social Security program. Apfel is the first confirmed Commissioner since the Social Security Administration became an independent agency in 1995.
"It is an honor to be appointed to such a distinguished position at the LBJ School," Commissioner Apfel stated. "In the course of this new century, the leaders of our country will be called upon to find practical solutions to increasingly complex problems. And I can think of no finer calling than to use the experience and insights I have a gained in my years of public service to help young people prepare to meet the challenges of the future."
Since being nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Commissioner of Social Security in 1997, Apfel has headed up an Agency that literally touches the lives of all Americans. The position has frequently been described as one of the most complex and challenging in the federal government. Each month, the Social Security Administration issues benefit payments to more than fifty million people. The Agency's annual budget of $427 billion represents 23 percent of the entire federal budget. As Commissioner, Apfel is responsible for the actions of approximately 65,000 employees who, among other responsibilities, serve the needs of twenty-six million visitors each year to over 1,300 field offices and answer sixty million phone calls annually on the agency's toll-free telephone lines.
Over the past three years, Commissioner Apfel has played a leading role in educating Americans of all ages and backgrounds about the current Social Security program and the long-term challenges it faces as the 76 million strong baby boom generation moves closer to retirement in the next decade.
During his tenure as Commissioner, he has significantly strengthened the policy, planning and public education activities at the Social Security Administration. He has also played a leadership role in efforts to strengthen childhood disability programs and to enable persons with disabilities to return to work.
Apfel has committed his life's work to public service. He came to SSA from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Executive Office of the President where he served since 1995 as the Associate Director for Human Resource Programs. Prior to his appointment at OMB, Mr. Apfel served as Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Before joining the Clinton Administration, Mr. Apfel worked for two decades in the area of social policy. From 1982-1993, he served as legislative director to Senator Bill Bradley, overseeing the formulation and development of all aspects of congressional policy making. During this time, he served as the Senator's key staff person for the Committee's actions on the historic 1983 Social Security reform legislation. Between 1980 and 1982, Mr. Apfel was committee staff for human service resource programs for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. He was a college administrator from 1973-1976 at Newbury College in Massachusetts.
Apfel received his bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1970; a master's in rehabilitation counseling, Northeastern University, 1973; and a master's degree in public affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas, 1978.
"While I would like to have completed my term as Commissioner
by celebrating the enactment of legislation to strengthen the long-term
solvency of Social Security, I take great pride in the role that
the Social Security Administration has played in bringing the Social
Security discussion into family living rooms all across America,"
commented Commissioner Apfel. "I do believe that the efforts
to strengthen Social Security are moving in the right direction.
Social Security is truly part of the fabric of American society
and I believe that as a nation, we will continue our commitment
to providing a strong foundation of benefits for American families.
I believe a hundred years from now the Social Security program will
continue to provide economic security for Americans of all ages."
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