Role of Social Security acting chief violated law after Nov. 17

WASHINGTON — The Social Security Administration's acting commissioner had no authority to act after mid-November because the agency is in violation of a federal law regarding vacant positions, according to a report to the president.

In a letter to President Donald Trump on Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office said the Federal Vacancies Reform Act limits the time a position can be filled by an acting official.

"Specifically, we are reporting that the service of Nancy A. Berryhill as Acting Commissioner at SSA after November 17, 2017, is in violation of the Act," the letter said.

"We have previously determined that using the acting title of a position during the period in which the position should be vacant violates the time limitations in the Vacancies Reform Act," the GAO wrote. "Therefore Ms. Berryhill was not authorized to continue serving using the title of Acting Commissioner after November 16."

Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee, called on Trump to nominate a commissioner soon.

"This just reinforces what we already know: Social Security has gone without a Senate-confirmed commissioner for far too long. This is simply unacceptable," he said in a statement. "The president needs to nominate a Social Security commissioner now. The American people deserve nothing less."


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