Social Security Reveals Equity Action Plan — 5 Ways It Incorporates Biden Executive Order

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The Social Security Administration unveiled its first Equity Action Plan on Thursday as a way of supporting President Joe Biden’s program to advance equity, civil rights, racial justice and equal opportunity.

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The plan follows on the heels of Biden’s January executive order, called Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. According to the SSA website, the order requires all federal agencies “to pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and other people who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.”

The idea behind the Equity Action Plan is to ensure Social Security services and benefits are provided equitably, without hurdles for disenfranchised recipients.

“Social Security’s programs touch the lives of nearly every American, providing income security for the diverse populations we serve, including people facing barriers, people with disabilities, people who are widowed, retirees, and their families,” Kilolo Kijakazi, acting commissioner of Social Security, said in a press release. “Systemic barriers may prevent people who need our programs the most from accessing them. Our Equity Action Plan will help to reduce these barriers and ensure people have access to our services.”

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The 22-page plan incorporates Biden’s executive order in five key ways, including the following:

  • Increasing the collection of race and ethnicity data to help understand whether programs are equitably serving applicants and beneficiaries
  • Revising policies and practices to expand options for service delivery
  • Ensuring equitable access for unrepresented claimants in the disability application process
  • Decreasing burdens for people who identify as gender diverse or transgender in the Social Security number card application process
  • Increasing access to research grant programs for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions and procurement opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses

You can learn more about the plan here.

The White House website called this and other agency plans “an important step forward” as part of a broader equity agenda.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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