Former Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul was fired on Friday thanks to an ongoing dispute over responsibility for administering retirement and disability benefits, according to Fox News.
Saul, who was one of the few federal appointees from former President Donald Trump’s administration, was being questioned about his leadership of the independent agency which is responsible for the benefits.
The White House relieved the Trump appointee of his duties after he refused to resign, unlike Deputy Social Security Commissioner David Black who was asked to resign and complied with the request.
According to Washington Post‘s account of Saul’s dismissal, he questioned the president’s decision in an interview with the paper. Surprisingly, Saul also told the publication that despite his dismissal, he plans to be at work on Monday.
“I consider myself the term-protected Commissioner of Social Security,” Saul said.
The White House does not share his opinion, however, having recited a list of grievances against Saul that included claimed that he undermined and politicized Social Security disability benefits, terminated the agency’s telework policy that was utilized by up to 25 percent of the agency’s workforce.”
The complaint went on to say that Saul had “not repaired SSA’s relationships with relevant Federal employee unions including in the context of COVID-19 workplace safety planning, reduced due process protections for benefits appeals hearings, and taken other actions that run contrary to the mission of the agency and the President’s policy agenda,” a White House official said in a statement.
The president has appointed Kilolo Kijakazi, the current Deputy Commissioner for Retirement and Disability Policy at the Social Security Administration, to serve as acting commissioner until a permanent replacement can be appointed.