Washington, D.C. – Dorcas R. Hardy was the first woman appointed as Commissioner of Social Security. She was appointed by President Reagan in 1986 and to the Social Security Advisory Board (“Board”) in 2002. In the latter capacity, she served three terms, more than 14 years and longer than any other Board member. She passed away on November 28, 2019.
As Commissioner, Dorcas instituted Social Security’s 800 number to improve the agency’s service to the public. Her focus on using technology to enhance service delivery carried over to the Board as she called for Social Security to modernize its information technology systems.
Dorcas was also passionate about financial security education. As Commissioner she instituted the mailing of Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statements (PEBES). She continued lecturing about the need for retirement savings as president of DR Hardy & Associates and was instrumental in the Board’s work on the Social Security Statement (formerly PEBES).
Dorcas tackled controversial issues. Board publications during her tenure reflect her commitment to solving problems, including a recurring report outlining different ways to address Social Security’s fiscal challenges, Why Action Should be Taken Soon.
Dorcas believed that it was important to hear the views of Social Security’s front-line employees. She insisted that Board site visits include field offices and that all employee meetings be held without management in the room.
Dorcas Hardy’s many contributions to the Board continue to inspire our work. Our thoughts are with Dorcas’ family and friends.