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Recent polling reconfirms that Social Security, which provides a guaranteed income stream for retirees and disabled workers, as well as their survivors, is wildly popular across partisan lines. This is hardly surprising when you consider that today, roughly nine out of ten Americans over the age of 65 receive Social Security benefits. But with Social Security’s reserves set to be depleted in the mid-2030s, at which point 75–80 percent of promised benefits will be payable with incoming revenues, what will it take to protect and sustain the program for future generations? 

Join us on Wednesday, May 3, from 3:00 to 4:00 PM ET, for a conversation about the future of Social Security, what policies are needed to ensure its longevity and the politics of achieving this critical goal. 


  • Sherry Glied, dean, NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
  • Mark Zuckerman, president, The Century Foundation


  • Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi, acting commissioner, Social Security Administration (SSA)


  • Isa Alomran, lead analyst and National Omnibus Program director, Data for Progress
  • Jason J. Fichtner, vice president and chief economist, Bipartisan Policy Center 
  • Tracey Gronniger, managing director of economic security and housing, Justice in Aging
  • Laura Haltzel, senior fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Moderator: Dylan Matthews, senior correspondent, Vox.com

Live captions and ASL interpretation will be provided.

Co-sponsored by NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and The Century Foundation. 

Speaker Bios

Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi is the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Prior to her appointment as Acting Commissioner under the Social Security Act, Dr. Kijakazi served as the Deputy Commissioner for Retirement and Disability Policy at SSA from January 2021- July 2021. During her time as Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Kijakazi advised the Commissioner on policy issues and was responsible for planning and managing the development of program policy, policy research and evaluation, and statistical programs to inform programs administered by SSA. These programs include Retirement and Survivors Insurance, Disability Insurance, and Supplemental Security Income.

From 2014 – 2021, Dr. Kijakazi served as an Institute fellow at the Urban Institute where she developed collaborative partnerships to expand and strengthen Urban’s rigorous research agenda, effectively communicate findings to diverse audiences, and recruit and retain a diverse research staff at all levels. Dr. Kijakazi also conducted research in the areas of economic security, structural racism, and the racial wealth gap.

Dr. Kijakazi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York, Binghamton, a Master of Social Work degree from Howard University, and a PhD in public policy from the George Washington University.

Isa Alomran is a lead analyst and National Omnibus Program director at Data for Progress. He leads polling and data analysis across various projects and issue areas and is passionate about supporting team members and partners in their work. Isa graduated from New York University in 2020 with a dual degree in economics & political science. He is based in Brooklyn, New York, and in his spare time, enjoys jogging and reading fiction in the city’s different parks.

Jason J. Fichtner, PhD, is vice president and chief economist at the Bipartisan Policy Center. His research focuses on Social Security, federal tax policy, federal budget policy, retirement security, and policy proposals to increase saving and investment.

He is also a senior fellow with the Alliance for Lifetime Income and the Retirement Income Institute, as well as a research fellow with the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin. Fichtner is on the Board of Directors for the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), and a member of the Puerto Rico Pension Reserve Trust, where he serves on both the Pension Benefits Council and the Pension Reserve Board.

Fichtner has significant government experience, having served in several positions at the Social Security Administration, including as deputy commissioner of Social Security (acting), chief economist, and associate commissioner for Retirement Policy. He also served as a senior economist with the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress and as an economist with the Internal Revenue Service. He has held teaching positions at Johns Hopkins University—School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Georgetown University, and Virginia Tech.

His work has been featured in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, and USA Today, as well as on broadcasts by C-SPAN, PBS, NBC, NPR, and SiriusXM.

Fichtner earned his BA from the University of Michigan; his MPP from Georgetown University; and his PhD from Virginia Tech.

Fichtner is the author of The Hidden Cost of Federal Tax Policy and the editor of The Economics of Medicaid.

You can follow Fichtner on Twitter @JJFichtner

Tracey Gronniger is the Managing Director for Economic Security and Housing at Justice in Aging, which uses the power of law to fight senior poverty. In this role, she focuses on improving access to benefits and services that provide income support and housing to low-income older adults. Her work also focuses on highlighting the experiences and needs of populations that have traditionally experienced systemic discrimination and lacked legal protections, including people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, and people with limited English proficiency. She is currently based in Justice in Aging’s Washington, DC office.

Tracey is on the Board of Directors for the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), is a co-chair of the CCD Social Security Task Force, and is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). Tracey received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and graduated from Harvard University. She is admitted to the Bar in the state of Maryland.

Laura Haltzel is a senior fellow with The Century Foundation, where she focuses on ensuring retirement income security for all Americans. Haltzel has twenty-five years of experience producing politically sensitive, analytically rigorous, nonpartisan policy and research reports on retirement security issues for clients in the U.S. Congress, Social Security Administration (SSA), and Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Laura has deep expertise in Social Security policy. She has served as an advisor to both the Social Security Administration’s Retirement and Disability Research Consortium and the Social Security Advisory Board, testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on Social Security policy, and regularly briefed Members of Congress on the program. Laura holds a master of public policy degree from Duke University, and a BA in international relations and Hispanic studies from Connecticut College.

Dylan Matthews has since 2018 served as a senior correspondent and head writer for Future Perfect, Vox’s section that tells stories about people and institutions trying to do the most good for the world they can. He is particularly interested in global health and pandemic prevention, anti-poverty efforts in the United States and abroad, economic policy and theory, and conflicts about the right way to do philanthropy.

Dylan joined Vox as one of our first three employees in February 2014, and has been here ever since, writing about everything from furries to foreign aid. In the distant past, he wrote for the Washington Post, the New Republic, the American Prospect, and Slate. He co-hosted The Weeds podcast, and can be reached on Twitter at @dylanmatt.