Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, received a 2013 VIDA Award from the National Alliance for Hispanic Health (the Alliance), a science-based source of information and trusted advocate for the health of Hispanics in the United States. The national award honors leaders that exemplify the VIDA credo of Vision, Innovation, Dedication, and Advocacy.
"Commissioner Astrue's commitment to all communities has defined his life. He is a man of principle and values that we respect and honor," said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the Alliance.
The VIDA National Hispanic Health Leadership Award is presented by the Alliance to recognize exceptional leaders for their work to secure the best health outcomes for all. Under his leadership, Social Security has reduced the average length of time applicants wait to receive a decision on their claim for Social Security disability benefits. Key components to this reduction were his development and expansion of initiatives such as Compassionate Allowances and Quick Disability Determinations. This two-part, fast-track system makes disability decisions in days instead of months or years and provides benefits quickly to applicants with the most severe disabilities. In the last two years, nearly 300,000 people have been awarded disability benefits under these innovative initiatives.
Commissioner Astrue received the award at the Alliance’s 40th Anniversary celebration, held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.