Baltimore County

Jim Renacci

Social Security without permanent leader

Social Security without permanent leader

Six months after former Social Security Administration commissioner Michael J. Astrue left his post, the Obama administration has yet to nominate a replacement — leaving a leadership gap as the agency wrestles with shrinking budgets and hard choices.

Interim leaders at the Woodlawn-based agency, which serves nearly 57 million beneficiaries, are making lasting decisions about whether to close public field offices and furlough employees as they implement $890 million in budget cuts called for under sequestration.

And like all federal agencies, the Social Security Administration is bracing for the likelihood of another round of spending cuts when the new fiscal...