On June 4, 2019, the Senate voted to confirm Andrew Saul to be Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) for the term expiring January 19, 2025. Saul becomes SSA’s first time confirmed Commissioner since 2013.
Commissioner Saul previously served as Chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which manages the retirement Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees. He was also Chair of the Manhattan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York City and served on the board of the Manhattan Institute. President Trump originally nominated Saul in 2018. See the April 2018 edition of this Newsletter. The Senate did not confirm the nomination in 2018, so he was re-nominated on January 16, 2019, for the remainder of the term that ended on January 19, 2019, as well as for the following six-year term.
Not much is known about the new Commissioner’s positions since he has not previously worked with SSA. At his October 2018 confirmation hearing, Mr. Saul emphasized he would undertake a “top to bottom” review of many of SSA’s policies, including the disability programs and IT modernization plans. Mr. Saul has professed his role as Commissioner of Social Security would be to manage the agency; the issues of Social Security solvency should be taken up by the Treasury Department and the legislative branch.
Commissioner Saul is now the proper defendant in Social Security cases and, under Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(d)(1) and 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), is automatically substituted in pending actions.