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Social Security Advisory Board Bylaws

Last Update: January 31, 2020



Creation and Authority

The Social Security Advisory Board (referred to collectively herein as the “Board”) is a bipartisan, independent federal government agency established in 1994 by Section 703 of the Social Security Act to advise the President, the Congress, and the Commissioner of Social Security on matters of policy and administration of the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance and the Supplemental Security Income programs.



Board Compensation and Duties

Section 1 – Composition

The Board is composed of 7 members appointed to 6-year terms, as follows: 3 appointed by the President (no more than 2 from the same political party), by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; 2 each (no more than 1 from the same political party) by the Speaker of the House (in consultation with the Chair and Ranking Minority Member of the Committee on Ways and Means) and by the President pro tempore of the Senate (in consultation with the Chair and Ranking Minority Member of the Committee on Finance).

Each member of the Board serves for a term of 6 years, except that a member appointed to a term of office after the commencement of such term may serve under such appointment only for the remainder of such term.

Section 2 – Standards of Conduct

When carrying out the duties of the office, a member of the Board is performing work on behalf of the U. S. government and is not representing any private organization or institution with which the member may otherwise be affiliated.

Board members shall adhere to the basic obligations of public service set forth in 5 CFR § 2635.101 including the placing of loyalty to the Constitution, laws and ethical principles above private gain.  Board members shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that they are violating that law, or the ethical standards set forth in that regulation.

Board members shall maintain the confidentiality of information and materials as required by law.



The Board Chair

The President designates a member of the Board to serve as Chair for a term of 4 years, coincident with the term of the President, or until the designation of a successor.

Section 1 – Duties of the Chair

  • Call all regular and special meetings of the Board, in consultation with Board Members;
  • Preside over all Board meetings and calls and conduct all meetings in accordance with these Bylaws;
  • Work with Board members and the Staff Director to implement an annual work plan established by the Board;
  • Work with Board members and the Staff Director to establish and monitor priorities that guide the Board’s work;
  • Conduct an annual performance review of the Staff Director, which shall be approved by the Board;
  • Facilitate a Board vote to decide when a project will be undertaken, delayed or set aside before completion;
  • Communicate regularly with the Staff Director and Board Members to remain conversant with all significant organizational activities and decisions;
  • Establish Board member assignments and Work Groups in consultation with affected Board Members;
  • Designate another Board Member to chair a Board meeting or call when the Chair must be absent.

Section 2 – First Assistant to the Chair

In the event that the Chair of the Board dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office (including such inability as a result of the expiration of the Chair’s term of office as a member of the Board), such functions and duties shall be temporarily exercised in an acting capacity by the First Assistant to the Chair. The First Assistant to the Chair shall be a Board Member who is of the same party as the then President of the United States and who has had the longest period of service on the Board.



Working Groups

The Chair may establish Working Groups to conduct studies on subjects that are of interest to the Board. Working Groups will generally be bipartisan and will be comprised of those members who choose to participate. They will serve in an advisory capacity to the full Board. Board members may participate the activities of Working Groups as they choose.




Section 1 – Place and Frequency

Federal law requires the Board to meet not less than 4 times each year. The purpose of the meetings is to consider a specific agenda of issues, as determined by the Chair in consultation with the Staff Director and other members of the Board.  Meetings are held in the Board’s conference room unless otherwise determined by the Chair.

Section 2 – Notice, Agenda and Attendance

Board members will receive written notice of meetings not less than 7 days in advance of the meeting. The notice shall contain a summary of the agenda and the place, date, and time of the meeting. Notice of public meetings shall be posted on the Board’s home page in order to inform the public of Board proceedings. In exceptional circumstances, the Board may give less than 7 days prior notice of meetings to Board Members and the public, provided that the reasons for doing so are included in the meeting notice.  The Staff Director shall both propose agenda items and solicit Board Member suggestions for agenda topics.

Board meetings shall generally be open to the public. Meetings not subject to this requirement include: meetings of the Board and the Commissioner of Social Security or one or more other Federal official(s) for the purpose of exchanging facts or information and hearing the views of individual attendees; meetings of the Board or of two or more members that are convened solely to gather information or conduct research on behalf of the Board, to analyze relevant issues and facts, or to draft proposed position papers or reports for consideration by the Board; and meetings of the Board for the purpose of attending to Board administrative arrangements.

Interested persons may be permitted to appear before the Board to provide or request information. Individuals who wish to appear before the Board shall submit their request to the Board in writing and sufficiently in advance of the desired meeting so that their request may be considered.  Reasonable accommodations will be provided for attendees upon request, as appropriate.

Section 3 – Quorum and Transition of Business

As required by Section 703(g)(2) of the Social Security Act, four members of the Board (not more than 3 of whom may be of the same political party) shall constitute a quorum for purposes of conducting business.

Each member shall have one vote. The votes of a majority of the Board who are present and voting at a meeting shall be necessary for adoption by the Board of any action. Voting shall be by oral vote unless on any matter a member requests voting by written ballot.

Any Board member may propose, and the Board may vote to take up items not on the proposed agenda.

Section 4 – Voting by Absent Members

A member of the Board who is absent from a meeting of the Board may vote at the meeting if the member provides a proxy to the Chair prior to or at the time of the meeting.

A member who is absent from a meeting and has not provided a proxy to the Chair may give consent to, or register dissent from, any action adopted by the Board at the meeting if the member provides notice of consent or dissent with the Chair within five days before or after the meeting.

Section 5 – Minutes of Meetings

The Chair shall ensure that minutes of each Board meeting are recorded. Minutes of open meetings shall include: time, date, and place; a list of the persons present; in the event of a large public meeting, an estimated number of other members of the public present; a description of each matter discussed and the resolution, if any, made by the Board; and copies of each report or other document received or approved by the Board. The Chair shall certify to the accuracy of all minutes of meetings, following approval by the Board. The Board shall make available to any person at actual cost of duplication and delivery, copies of Board minutes.



Action Between Meetings

Section 1 – Action Pursuant to Direction at a Meeting

The Board may vote on a proposed action without a meeting if the Chair determines that a matter must be considered before the next regularly scheduled meeting.  If the Chair so determines, the Chair shall transmit information relating to the proposed action to the members, and a call for a vote thereon. A proposed action that is adopted by the votes of a majority of Board Members without a meeting shall become effective when all votes are received from serving members or thirty days from the date of request for a vote, whichever is earlier.


The procedure described in this Article may not be used with respect to actions proposed under Article 10 of these Bylaws, “Amendment of Bylaws”.




Section 1 – Preparation

The Board shall institute the development of content such as reports, studies and briefs for delivery to the President, the Congress, and the Commissioner on subjects that are related to the functions of the Board as specified in Section 703(b) of the Social Security Act. The development of content shall be instituted by the vote of a majority of the Board that includes at least one appointed member from each political party.

Section 2 – Adoption

Following a preliminary review by the Board that attempts to resolve any issues that members may have about proposed content, the Board shall vote to decide whether to adopt the content for delivery to the President, the Congress and the Commissioner. Unless the Board has agreed that the adoption of proposed content must be by consensus, content may be adopted by vote of a majority of the Board that includes at least one appointed member from each political party. Content will be made available to the public upon adoption and delivery to officials by the Board.

Section 3 – Minority and Supplemental Views

Any member of the Board may submit minority or supplemental views to the Chair of the Board within 7 days before and following a vote adopting any content. Timely submitted views shall be printed and otherwise made available with the content.

Section 4 – Independent Panels

The Board may institute independent panels of experts to study and report on items of interest to the Board.  A panel is deemed “independent” if its product is considered to be the work of the panel which shall not be altered by the Board.  In developing a governing charter for an independent panel, the Board may stipulate: 1) whether the panel is expected to produce a written report and when, before public release, an advance copy of that report is to be provided to the Board; and 2) whether the report shall include language stating that the report reflects only the views of the independent panel and is not endorsed by the Board.



Public Accountability

The Board shall prepare annual reports on its budget and on the activities of the Board, which shall be made available to the public.



Staff Director

The Board shall appoint a Staff Director who shall serve as the chief operating officer of the Board and who shall have the responsibility of carrying out the day-to-day operations of the Board. The Chair, in consultation with the Board, will annually review the Staff Director job description and, subject to final Board approval, annually evaluate the performance of the Staff Director.



Amendment of Bylaws

The Board shall review these Bylaws upon Board member request.  The Bylaws may be repealed, altered, or amended only by consent of all duly appointed members of the Board then serving. A copy of any proposed amendment shall be filed with the Chair and shall be sent to each member of the Board with the notice announcing the meeting at which the proposed amendment will be considered. Adoption of a proposed change shall be deemed to waive any notice required by this Article.