Sent: Monday, January 28, 2013 3:20 PM
Subject: COMMISSIONER'S BROADCAST--01/28/13
A Message To All SSA And DDS Employees
I wanted you to hear from me that I will be submitting my resignation to President Obama next month.
I will have more to say as we get closer to my last day, but I consider it a great privilege to have led this remarkable agency for six years. I am very proud of all that we have accomplished in that time to reduce backlogs, improve service, adopt efficient cutting-edge technology, replace fraying infrastructure, and prepare our next generation of leaders for the challenges to come.
Laura, Maggie, and I started moving our summer clothes and books back to Massachusetts over the holidays and we expect to be back home soon. I will be starting jury duty in Middlesex County shortly after I leave, but otherwise have not made plans. I am still passionate about public service, teaching, literature, and curing diseases, and hope to find new ways to continue pursuing those interests.
I feel truly blessed. I am more grateful than I can convey for the skill and dedication of the hundreds of civil servants and political appointees—Republican and Democratic—who have worked closely with me over the past six years. I have witnessed the same expertise, compassion, and commitment to excellence in my travels outside of our Woodlawn headquarters.
I am confident that you will give Carolyn Colvin and future Commissioners the enthusiastic support that you have always given me. I will miss you and will always be rooting for you.
Michael J. Astrue
And here's a link to a press release that talks about Astrue's impending departure from Social Security. This gives information about accomplishments that Commissioner Astrue takes pride in, such as:
- He has served longer than any Republican Commissioner and longer than any Commissioners except Arthur J. Altmeyer (1940-46) and Robert M. Ball (1962-73).
- Adopted fast-track procedures for the 6% of the disability claimants who are most obviously disabled;
- Reduced the time to a disability hearing from about 540 days to about 360 days in an era of rapidly rising claims and dwindling budgets;
- Replaced the fraying data center with a state-of-the-art facility due to open next year and built a second co-processing center that can continue operations in the event of a disaster;
- Developed a suite of electronic services that are rated the best in government;
- Developed the federal government’s first interactive suite of Spanish services;
- Updated most of the agency’s medical listings and entered into a partnership with the Bureau of Labor Statistics to replace the antiquated vocational tool used for disability determinations;
- Created the online Retirement Estimator, which allows Americans to better plan for retirement by obtaining personalized information about their projected retirement payments;
- Improved the quality of disability decision-making through better staffing, training, and software support; and
- Spearheaded “plain language” efforts for the annual reports on the financial status of the Medicare and Social Security programs.