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Nancy J. Altman

30th Anniversary Honoree, Founding Board Member, Prominent Social Security Historian and Advocate

Nancy J. Altman of Social Security Works will be one of eight honorees at the Academy’s 30th Anniversary Celebration on June 7, 2017.  She will be recognized for her deep commitment to social insurance as an advocate for Social Security.

Social Security and private pensions have been the focus of Altman’s career for over 40 years.  After receiving her A.B. at Harvard University and J.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, she handled private pensions as a tax lawyer with Covington & Burling LLP in the mid-1970s.  She was then a legislative assistant to John C. Danforth (R-MO) and his advisor on Social Security.  As discussed in her podcast with Academy CEO William Arnone, Altman was Alan Greenspan’s assistant while he was chairman of the 1983 bipartisan commission which produced the 1983 Social Security amendments. From 1983 to 1989, she was a faculty member at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government where she taught courses on Social Security and private pensions.  

She is currently the Co-director of the non-profit organization Social Security Works and Co-chair of the Strengthen Social Security coalition or campaign.  She recently served two terms on the Academy’s board and is the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Social Security Works.  Altman has authored and co-authored many publications on Social Security including The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble (John Wiley & Sons, 2005) and Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All (with Eric Kingson) (The New Press, 2015).  She has made media appearances discussing Social Security on PBS Newshour, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR.

According to current Academy CEO William Arnone, As if looking into the future, Nancy consistently urged the Academy to focus on topics on which its reports would have an impact. She also chaired one of the first Membership Committees and suggested a category of awards for publications by new authors.”

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