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Former Md. Gov. Martin O'Malley

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Senate Confirms O'Malley as New Social Security Commissioner

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The full Senate confirmed by a 50-11 vote late Monday former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley as commissioner for the Social Security Administration.

O’Malley’s term expires Jan. 19, 2025. President Joe Biden nominated O’Malley for the post in late July.

In testimony in early November, O’Malley told members of the Senate Finance Committee that Social Security “faces a customer service crisis.”

O’Malley said then that for all its historic strengths, “we must acknowledge that Social Security faces a customer service crisis. The truth is, today, the Social Security Administration is serving a 50% increase in beneficiary customers with the same levels of staffing they had in 1995.”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Monday on the Senate floor that throughout his nomination process, O’Malley “has made it clear that his number one priority will be improving customer service for the millions of seniors and Americans with disabilities who count on Social Security. Not politics. Service.”

O’Malley’s “proven leadership will be needed in the days ahead. Americans pay into Social Security out of every paycheck, and they expect it to be there for them, no ifs, ands or buts,” Wyden continued. “That means fixing some of the pressing issues dogging the agency.”

Social Security and Medicare

John Greene, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals, or NABIP, told ThinkAdvisor Tuesday in an email that while he agrees that the Social Security Administration faces a customer service crisis “the issue isn’t just about people, it is about updating or automating some of its system[s].”

Social Security, Greene said, “serves as the portal for new Medicare beneficiaries to verify eligibility for Medicare. Medicare has definitive timelines for enrollment but beneficiaries can wait months to process their applications.”

NABIP has “tried to discuss this problem but has made little progress,” Greene continued. “Much of this can be automated and because of its routine nature, it should be automated, leaving flagged cases to be handled by SSA employees.”

Added Greene: “There are 12,000 baby boomers aging into the program every day. Some of them are sick, are in treatment and need continuity of care. These enrollment deadlines, if missed, can cause disruption in care penalties that never go away (10% a year for every year missed signing up for Part B). Medicare is the promise we made to seniors who paid into the system all their lives, and their first interaction with government healthcare is delay, uncertainty, and potential penalties.”

Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, applauded O’Malley’s nomination in a previous statement shared with ThinkAdvisor, stating that O’Malley is “a longtime Social Security champion.”

Like Biden, “O’Malley supports expanding Social Security’s modest benefits, not cutting them,” Altman said. “At a time when Social Security is under attack from Republicans in Congress, O’Malley is the fighter that the American people need at SSA’s helm.”


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