President Joe Biden fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul — who was appointed by former President Donald Trump — after he refused to resign, White House sources announced Friday.
“Since taking office, Commissioner Saul has undermined and politicized Social Security disability benefits, terminated the agencies telework policy that was utilized by up to 25 percent of the agency’s workforce, not repaired SSA’s relationships with relevant federal employee unions, including in the context of COVID-19 workplace safety planning, reduced due process protections for benefits appeals hearings, and taken other actions that run contrary to the mission of the agency and the president’s policy agenda,” an official said.
The official said Biden also asked for the resignation of Saul’s deputy, David Black, who agreed to do so.
Kilolo Kijakazi, the deputy commissioner for the SSA’s retirement and disability policy, will serve as interim commissioner until a permanent one is selected.
Kijakazi previously worked as a fellow at the Urban Institute, a program officer for the Ford Foundation, and a senior policy analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. A search for commissioner and deputy commissioner will be conducted.
Saul said he wouldn’t leave his post, though, saying Biden doesn’t have the authority to remove him. He said he plans to report to work Monday morning.
“I consider myself the term-protected commissioner of Social Security,” he told The Post. “This was the first I or my deputy knew this was coming. It was a bolt of lightning no one expected. And right now it’s left the agency in complete turmoil.”
The White House said the recent Supreme Court case that enabled Biden to fire the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency also gave him the power to fire Saul, whose term was supposed to last until January 2025.