For Immediate Release | July 3, 2024


Tom Novotny, (202)-243-7281

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Academy of Social Insurance has launched a new Task Force on Artificial Intelligence, Emerging Technology, and Disability Benefits.

“As the use and potential capabilities of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies have expanded, ‘benefits tech’ is now being utilized more by the day within the realm of social insurance,” said the Academy’s incoming CEO Rebecca Vallas. “This intersection is a critically important new focus for the Academy’s work,” she said.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has recently begun expanding its use of these technologies in administering its disability programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

On the one hand, AI and emerging tech offer opportunities to streamline access to benefits and reduce processing times to bring down SSA’s disability backlog. “Due in large part to the administrative complexity of SSA’s disability determination process, an estimated 30,000 disabled workers die every year waiting for benefits, according to the latest data,” said Tracey Gronniger, one of the Task Force’s Co-Chairs and a member of the Academy’s Board of Directors..

“At the same time, the use of AI and other emerging tech in the benefits realm also presents significant risks,” said Henry Claypool, also a Task Force Co-Chair. Experiences in other use cases—such as veterans’ benefits, Unemployment Insurance, Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—offer valuable lessons, both in terms of best practices and potential pitfalls from the perspective of equity and the rights of benefits applicants and recipients.

“The members of this Task Force bring a broad range of expertise to the table and bridge silos and sectors that are rarely represented in one room,” said Chantel Boyens, co-principal investigator of the Task Force.

The Task Force will begin its work by developing principles and guardrails for the use of AI and emerging tech in the context of disability benefits, and surveying learnings from other use cases, programs, and sectors.

Members of the Academy’s Task Force on AI, Emerging Technology, and Disability Benefits:

Chantel Boyens, Co-Principal Investigator and Principal Policy Associate, Urban Institute

Jack Smalligan, Co-Principal Investigator and Senior Policy Fellow, Urban Institute

Jen Burdick, Task Force Co-Chair and Divisional Supervising Attorney, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia

David Camp, Task Force, Co-Chair and CEO, National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives

Henry Claypool, Task Force Co-Chair and Technology Policy Consultant, American Association of People with Disabilities

Tracey Gronniger, Task Force Co-Chair and Managing Director of Economic Security and Housing, Justice in Aging

Ariana Aboulafia, Policy Counsel for Disability Rights, Center for Democracy and Technology

Ashley Burnside, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Law and Social Policy

Fay Cook, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, National Academy of Social Insurance, and Professor Emerita and Director Emerita, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

Jeff Cruz, Legislative Representative, American Federation of Government Employees

Indivar Dutta-Gupta, former Executive Director, Center for Law and Social Policy

Hannah Groch-Begley, Think Tank Director, Roosevelt Institute

Mia Ives-Rublee, Director of the Disability Justice Initiative, Center for American Progress

Dom Kelly, Co-Founder, President & CEO, New Disabled South

Graham MacDonald, Vice President for Technology and Data Science, Urban Institute

Aparna Mathur, Senior Manager, Economics, Amazon

Tom Nicholls, Government Affairs Director, AARP

Shaun O’Brien, Policy Director, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees

Aron Paquette, Vice President, Life Benefits and Financial Services, UNUM

Rylin Rodgers, Disability Policy Advisor, Microsoft

Steve Rollins, former SSA Office of Disability Policy and former director of the Pennsylvania Disability Determination Services (DDS)

Meilani Santillan, Program Director, Code for America

Tim Shaw, Policy Director, Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, Aspen Institute

Jude Soundar, U.S. Government Affairs Federal Health Director, Microsoft

Emerson Sprick, Economist, Bipartisan Policy Center

Shelley Washington, Executive Vice President AFGE 1923 Social Security Administration Headquarters

David Weaver, former SSA executive and Instructor, University of South Carolina

Darren Webb, Co-Founder and CEO at Mindset Care, Mindset Care

David Wittenburg, Vice President and Practice Director for Social Policy and Economics Research, Westat

The National Academy of Social Insurance is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance. Comprised of over 1,200 members – the nation’s top experts in social insurance and related programs and policies – the Academy advances solutions to challenges facing the nation by providing rigorous inquiry into how social insurance can continue to meet the changing needs of American families and increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security. 


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