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Nancy Altman
Nancy J. Altman has a thirty-five year background in the areas of Social Security and private pensions. She is co-director of Social Security Works and co-chair of the Strengthen Social Security coalition and campaign. She is the author of The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble (John Wiley & Sons, 2005).

From 1983 to 1989, Ms. Altman was on the faculty of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and taught courses on private pensions and Social Security at the Harvard Law School. In 1982, she was Alan Greenspan's assistant in his position as chairman of the bipartisan commission that developed the 1983 Social Security amendments. From 1977 to 1981, she was a legislative assistant to Senator John C. Danforth (R-MO), and advised the Senator with respect to Social Security issues. From 1974 to 1977, she was a tax lawyer with Covington & Burling, where she handled a variety of private pension matters.

Ms. Altman is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pension Rights Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of beneficiary rights. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Foundation of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, as well as the National Academy of Social Insurance, a membership organization of over 800 of the nation's leading experts on social insurance. In the mid-1980s, she was on the organizing committee and the first board of directors of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Ms. Altman has an A.B. from Harvard University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Entries by Nancy Altman

Congressman John Larson's Important Plan to Expand Social Security

(2) Comments | Posted August 20, 2014 | 6:27 PM

The idea of expanding Social Security is gaining momentum. Senators from the blue states of Massachusetts and Vermont (Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders), the swing states of Iowa and Ohio (Senators Tom Harkin and Sherrod Brown), and the red state of Alaska (Senator Mark Begich),...

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Happy Birthday Social Security: Time to Expand Your Protections

(12) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 9:52 AM

Today marks 79 years since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Social Security into law on August 14th, 1935. Today, our Social Security system celebrates nearly eight decades of ensuring basic economic security for America's workers and their families when wages are lost as the result of death, disability, or old...

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Women's Economic Security Depends on Raising the Wage and Expanding Social Security

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 11:18 AM

March marks Women's History Month, a time to highlight women's contributions to society and role in making our country what it is today.

To call Frances Perkins (1880-1965) a trailblazer would be to put it very mildly. Perkins was selected by FDR as Secretary of Labor in 1933,...

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United We Win: How Progressives Defeated the Chained CPI

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 4:02 PM

Last week, progressive groups won a huge victory when the White House announced the chained CPI Social Security cut will be not be in President Obama's budget for the upcoming year. We should reflect on two lessons from this victory. The first is the strength and power that comes when...

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Stealing From Federal Civil Servants: You May Be Next

(688) Comments | Posted December 8, 2013 | 3:59 PM

Imagine that an employer wishes he hadn't paid you so much in the past, so he goes into your bank account and takes what he wants. Sound outrageous? That's essentially what the federal government may be about to do to its workers!

And if that doesn't make you angry,...

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Chained-CPI Supporters Believe This Year's Tiny Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Is Too Generous

(53) Comments | Posted October 17, 2013 | 11:15 AM

To ensure that Social Security benefits do not erode over time, they are adjusted every January. Notwithstanding the annual adjustments, those benefits do not keep pace with inflation. Shockingly, rather than make those adjustments more accurate, some politicians support making them more miserly, through a change, known as the "chained...

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Dear Journalists: Please See and Report the Good News in the 2013 Social Security Trustees Report

(23) Comments | Posted May 29, 2013 | 3:41 PM

Beginning in 1940 when the first Social Security retirement check was mailed out to Ida Fuller, a retired legal secretary living in Brattleboro, Vermont, and continuing to this day, no public policy has done more to protect the financial security and dignity of Americans. No public policy has charged our...

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One Group of Lawmakers Is Thinking Seriously About America's Future, And Another Group Isn't

(2) Comments | Posted March 25, 2013 | 4:18 PM

This week is a week of tremendous excitement for those who are interested in the Congressional budget process -- which is likely to be a relatively small group of folks. Beneath all the eye-glazing numbers, though, are values. And real people whose lives will be shaped, for better or worse,...

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Cancel the Sequester! It's Really That Simple for Congress

(161) Comments | Posted February 28, 2013 | 9:34 AM

Co-authored by Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson, Founding Co-Directors of Social Security Works and Co-Chairs of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition.

It's not usual for politicians to admit error.

The "sequester" poses an unnecessary and huge danger, potentially inflicting deep wounds to the economy and to...

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President Obama: We the People Thank You for Defending Social Security in Your Second Term

(10) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 1:16 PM

In his stirring second inaugural address, President Barack Obama demonstrated that he understands what Social Security means to the American people. In saying, "[W]e reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build...

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Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid: Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire?

(37) Comments | Posted January 2, 2013 | 4:31 PM

Notwithstanding the White House claim that the fiscal-cliff deal is "A Victory for Middle Class Families and the Economy," we worry that it will play out as a defeat for both. Intended or not, the deal set the agenda for negotiations that will threaten the future of Social Security, Medicare,...

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Dear Congress: A Vote for the Chained CPI Is a Vote to Cut Social Security Benefits

(77) Comments | Posted December 28, 2012 | 3:25 PM

The following letter was co-authored by Eric Kingson and Nancy Altman, co-chairs of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition, and sent to every Congressional office.

Our coalition of 320 organizations representing a broad cross-section of the American people respectfully urges you to reject the use of the less-generous and...

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Our 'How-to Manual' for Betraying Seniors and People with Disabilities

(23) Comments | Posted December 18, 2012 | 10:17 AM

Pity those poor politicians who want to cut Social Security benefits by changing the way cost of living adjustments (COLAs) are calculated.

They want to be counted as among the "serious people in the room." You know, the folks who are willing to "compromise" the well-being of everyday Americans...

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Social Security Sustainable: Productivity Improvements Enlarge the Pie, Facilitate Funding Boomer Benefits and Beyond

(2) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 6:19 PM

Attempts to undo or diminish Social Security began upon the program's enactment; they continue unabated. Early charges of unconstitutionality foundered when the Supreme Court upheld the law. The Bush push for "privatization" shocked but did not awe. Participants and the public know that work and contributions earn the program's benefits....

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Lame Duck Whip Count

(4) Comments | Posted October 25, 2012 | 2:23 PM

Once again, politicians are quietly scheming about ways to implement Wall Street austerity plans, including cutting important systems like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

That's why we're asking every member of Congress to promise:

  • NO benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
  • NO tax cuts for the top...

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Attention All Journalists: 8 Things You Need to Know Before Reporting on the Social Security COLA

(4) Comments | Posted October 15, 2012 | 9:35 AM

On October 16, at 8:30 a.m., the Social Security Administration will post on its website the size of the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2013. Experts estimate that the 2013 COLA will increase Social Security benefits in nominal dollars by between 1.5 and 1.7 percent. The adjustment...

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How the GOP-Backed Ryan Plan Threatens Middle-Class Retirement Security

(14) Comments | Posted August 6, 2012 | 1:00 PM

by Nancy Altman, Social Security Works, Eric Kingson, Syracuse University, and Benjamin W. Veghte, Scholars Strategy Network, Harvard University

This piece was originally published by the Scholars Strategy Network, and the full brief is available as a PDF here.

Generations of Americans have worked together to build...

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Has Obama Snookered SCOTUS Into Declaring the Right Wing Agenda Unconstitutional?

(655) Comments | Posted June 24, 2012 | 4:12 PM

Health care reform (the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, aka, "PPCA") is President Obama's most important domestic achievement, providing a means to ensure health care coverage for an estimated 92 percent of non-elderly Americans while reducing costs in the health care system.

The individual mandate, the...

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Alan Simpson: Pulling Apart Social Security, And Proud of It

(10) Comments | Posted June 11, 2012 | 5:42 PM

The Honorable Alan Simpson
United States Senator (retired)
1201 Sunshine Avenue
Cody, Wyoming 82414

Dear Senator Simpson,

Your plan would begin pulling apart our Social Security system brick by brick. Unfortunately, you seem to think that bigotry and bullying will silence those of us who are trying...

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An Open Letter About Alan Simpson's Recent Comments

(9) Comments | Posted May 29, 2012 | 6:59 PM

The Honorable Erskine Bowles
National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

Dear Mr. Bowles:

While we have extremely serious objections to the Social Security provisions proposed in the Bowles-Simpson plan and, indeed, its inclusion at all in a deficit reduction package, this is not why we are...

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