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Monday, March 24, 2014

Honoring Bob Ball on his 100th birthday

Tom Bethell, National Academy of Social Insurance

Robert M. Ball had every intention of living to 100, and he almost made it. Born on March 28, 1914, he was just two months shy of his 93rd birthday when he died in 2008. Until the very end he worked ceaselessly to promote the evolution of social insurance and to protect the programs he had administered and championed — notably Social Security and Medicare — against every attempt to weaken them. His name may have been unfamiliar to most of the Americans whose security he made his life’s work, but, as Senator Edward M. Kennedy said of him: “Few if any in the long history of our country have done so much for so many for so long.”

Bob Ball devoted his entire adult life to public service, which he saw as a high calling. Now, as we mark his centennial on March 28, how would he most want to be remembered?

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Posted on March 24, 2014  |  5 comments  |  Add your comment
Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Social Policy Call to Arms at NASI's Conference

Andrea Louise Campbell, 2014 Conference Co-Chair, MIT

As a co-chair of this year’s NASI policy research conference, I was gratified by the excellent turnout, the fascinating presentations, and the thoughtful discussions. I was most inspired, however, by three speakers, who, through their very different personal styles, issued a social- policy call to arms.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Social Security: Making the Most of Your Biggest Retirement Asset

Virginia P. Reno, National Academy of Social Insurance

The National Academy of Social Insurance joins more than 1,000 organizations nationwide during America Saves Week, February 24-28, with a public education initiative to help Americans boost their financial security. 

The Academy’s new toolkit, When to Take Social Security: It Pays to Wait, explains how waiting to take Social Security retirement benefits, if you can, will increase your monthly benefit by as much as 76 percent. Key messages are:

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Posted on February 26, 2014  |  3 comments  |  Add your comment
Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thought for Thanksgiving: Thanks for Social Insurance

Jasmine V. Tucker, National Academy of Social Insurance

In September, the Census Bureau released the official poverty figures for 2012, which showed that 46.4 million Americans (15%) lived in poverty last year. Three vitally important social insurance programs, Social Security, unemployment insurance (UI), and workers' compensation, and a related program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), kept the poverty rate from being much higher. Last year, these four programs worked together to keep nearly 26 million Americans above the federal poverty level, which was roughly $12,000 for a non-elderly adult living alone and $23,300 for two non-elderly adults and two children.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Benefit that Robert Ball Wouldn’t Administer

Lisbeth B. Schorr, Center for the Study of Social Policy

It was early 1965 when I sat in on a meeting that was one of a series deliberating the final touches of the legislation that would soon be enacted as Medicare. Those gathered that day were the Undersecretary of HEW, Wilbur Cohen, the Commissioner of Social Security, Robert Ball, a representative of the White House whose name I can no longer remember, and the director of social security for the AFL-CIO, Nelson Cruikshank.

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Posted on November 5, 2013  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment