Larson Statement on Removal of SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul
Hartford, CT - House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) released following statement after the Biden Administration removed the Social Security Administration's Commissioner Andrew Saul and Deputy Commissioner David Black. Larson had called for their removal in March 2021.
“From the beginning of their tenure at the Social Security Administration Andrew Saul and David Black were anti-beneficiary and anti-employee. The Biden Administration made the right move to fire both Saul and Black after they refused to resign. As Justice Alito recently stated, the President needs someone running the agency who will follow their policy agenda. Now, President Biden will be able install someone who will work to fulfill his promise of protecting and enhancing Social Security. I look forward to working with Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi,” said Larson.
Mr. Saul was appointed Commissioner by former President Trump for a six-year term that expires in 2025; Mr. Black previously was part of the Trump transition team for SSA, and was then appointed Deputy Commissioner. Their actions have disproportionately harmed vulnerable Americans like low-income seniors and people with disabilities, immigrants, and people of color, and have included:
- Implementing a new rule that denies disability benefits for older, severely disabled workers who are unable to communicate in English, resulting in approximately 100,000 people being denied more than $5 billion in benefits from 2020 to 2029;
- Finalizing a new regulation that dramatically reduces due process protections for Social Security appeals hearings, by allowing the SSA to use agency attorneys instead of independent judges for the hearings;
- Proposing to abuse the disability review process to cut off benefits for eligible people, and proposing to make it significantly harder for older, severely disabled workers to be found eligible for disability benefits;
- Advancing the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant policies by resuming mailing controversial “no-match letters” to employers with even minor discrepancies between their wage reports and their employees’ Social Security records. These letters effectively serve to harass immigrants and their employers, often leading to U.S. citizens and work-authorized immigrants being fired; and
- Wholeheartedly embracing the Trump Administration’s anti-federal employee policies, including forcing harsh union contracts that strip employees of rights and ending telework for thousands of employees just months before the COVID-19 pandemic started – a particularly ill-fated decision given the critical role telework has played in SSA’s ability to continue serving the public during the pandemic.