Social Security goes woke with 'Equity Action Plan'

"Systemic barriers may prevent people who need our programs the most from accessing them," the agency's acting commissioner said.

Updated: April 14, 2022 - 4:14pm

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The Social Security Administration announced Thursday it will start an "Equity Action Plan," which will focus on gathering data on race and ethnicity and helping people who are "gender diverse" obtain Social Security cards.

"Systemic barriers may prevent people who need our programs the most from accessing them," acting Social Security Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi said. "Our Equity Action Plan will help to reduce these barriers and ensure people have access to our services."

In the 22-page plan, the agency said it will also focus on increasing "equitable access" to grants and opportunities for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and "small and disadvantaged businesses," including those owned by women or located in specific areas.

The department said it plans on making easier for people to apply for Supplemental Security Income by "clarifying some
questions for improved readability," among other things.

"We will explore self-attestation to change a person’s sex designation on our records without requiring legal or medical documentation," the Social Security Administration said.

The Transportation Security Administration and the State Department are also looking into gender-neutral options for identification.

"Our programs are intended to provide or improve income security for the diverse group of people we serve," the SSA concluded.

"However, systemic barriers external and internal to the agency hinder our ability to ensure equitable access to our programs and services," the agency said. "We have and intend to continue to identify the sources of these barriers, take actions to address them sometimes in collaboration with our executive branch partners and external stakeholders—and measure the results over time."

The Biden administration announced the SSA plan along with other "Equity Action Plans" at the Department of Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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