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Monday February 12, 2007
Mark Lassiter, Press Officer
For Immediate Release
410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973


News Release

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Michael J. Astrue was sworn in today as the Commissioner of Social Security at the agency’s national headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland.  He will serve a six-year term that expires on January 19, 2013.

Commissioner Astrue expressed his gratitude at being chosen to serve as Commissioner.  "I have seen first-hand the important work this Agency does and the essential protection it provides to the most vulnerable in our society," Astrue said.  "I feel blessed to have been asked to serve in a position so vital to our success as a nation."

Commissioner Astrue has a distinguished history of public service.  He is a former employee of the Social Security Administration, having served as Counselor to the Commissioner during the Reagan administration.  He also has served as General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation.  More recently, he served as a senior executive of several biotechnology companies.

Commissioner Astrue will be responsible for administering the Social Security retirement, disability and survivors insurance programs that pay approximately $580 billion annually in benefits to more than 49 million beneficiaries, as well as the Supplemental Security Income program that provides cash assistance to more than 7 million people with limited income and assets.  The agency has a national workforce of about 62,000 employees and 1,500 facilities throughout the U.S.

“My goal is to be a good steward of the Social Security program for both current and future beneficiaries,” Astrue stated.  “For current beneficiaries, this means setting high standards for management, performance and service—and committing to meeting those standards.  For future beneficiaries, this means engaging with the executive branch, with Members of Congress, and with outside groups and experts, to provide unbiased data about all the options for safeguarding the financial stability of the program.”

Born in Fort Dix, New Jersey, and a resident of Belmont, Massachusetts, Commissioner Astrue received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and his J. D. from Harvard University.  He and his wife Laura have two children.

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