Obama picks Colvin to head Social Security agency

Friday - 6/20/2014, 12:48pm EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is naming the acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration to officially fill the job overseeing the massive retirement and disability program amid looming financial challenges.

The White House said Friday that Obama will nominate Carolyn Watts Colvin, who has been the deputy commissioner for three and a half years and acting commissioner since Michael Astrue stepped down in February 2013 at the end of his six-year term.

Colvin's nomination comes at a critical time for agency, with trustees saying trust funds will run dry in 2033. That would leave only enough revenue to pay about 75 percent of benefits. Already, the program is paying out more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes.

More than 47 million people receive Social Security retirement benefits, an increase of nearly a 20 percent from a decade ago. About 11 million people receive Social Security disability benefits, a 38 percent increase from a decade ago.

Colvin is Obama's first nominee to oversee the agency, since Astrue was nominated by President George W. Bush. She would work into the next administration if she is approved by the Senate and serves a full term.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.