Dorcas Hardy

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Dorcas Hardy
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
In office
June 26, 1986 – July 31, 1989
President Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Martha McSteen (Acting)
Succeeded by Gwendolyn King
Personal details
Born (1946-07-18) July 18, 1946 (age 71)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Republican
Education Connecticut College (BA)
Pepperdine University (MBA)

Dorcas R. Hardy (born 1946) is a former federal government official. Hardy served as the 10th Commissioner of the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). She was the first woman to serve as SSA Commissioner.

Early life and education[edit]

Hardy was born in Newark, New Jersey on July 18, 1946. She graduated from Miss Beard's School in Orange, New Jersey (now Morristown-Beard School) in 1964. Hardy completed her bachelor's degree at Connecticut College in 1968 and her Master of Business Administration degree at Pepperdine University in 1976. She then finished the Executive Program in Health Policy and Financial Management at Harvard University.[1]

Government service[edit]

President Ronald Reagan nominated Hardy as SSA Commissioner on March 20, 1986.[2] She began serving in the position later that year after Senate confirmation hearings in May.[3] Hardy then served as SSA Commissioner through the beginning of the George H. W. Bush Presidential Administration.[4] During the Reagan Administration, Hardy also served as Assistant Secretary for Human Development Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1981-1986). She served Assistant Secretary for Health of the California Health and Welfare Agency (1973-1974) during Reagan's governorship.[5]

Hardy chaired the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Task Force on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment in 2004 and the Policy Committee of the White House Conference on Aging in 2005.[6] As of 2013, she serves on the seven-member Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB). The SSAB advises the President, the U.S. Congress, and the Social Security Commissioner on policies for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income.[7]

Private sector activities[edit]

Hardy ran the Health Services Industry Committee of the Cost of Living Council as its executive director from 1971 to 1973. Between 1974 and 1981, she served as the Associate Director of the Center for Health Services Research at the University of Southern California. Hardy has also served as Chairman and CEO of Work Recovery Inc., a rehabilitation technology firm in Tucson, Arizona. In 2011, she received appointment to the Board of Visitors of the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Hardy has also served on the Board of Directors of First Coast Service Options Inc., a Medicare contractor, Wright Investors Service Managed Fund, and Options Clearing Corporation.[8]

Hardy previously hosted Financing Your Future, a weekly television program that aired in primetime on Financial News Network and UPI Broadcasting. She also hosted The Senior American, a political magazine TV show that aired on NET.

Honors and awards[edit]

The National Coalition of Hispanic Mental Health and Human Services awarded Hardy their National Humanitarian Award. National Hispanic University in East San Jose, California awarded her their Thomas Rivera Award.


  1. ^ Opening Keynote: 2013 CSA Conference
  2. ^ "Reagan Nominates Hardy to Head Social Security". The Wall Street Journal. March 20, 1986. 
  3. ^ "Congress Questions Nominee for Chief of Social Security". The Wall Street Journal. May 15, 1986. 
  4. ^ "Gwendolyn King Is Named for Social Security Post". The Wall Street Journal. July 17, 1989. 
  5. ^ SSA Commissioners: Dorcas Hardy, Social Security Administration.
  6. ^ The Honorable Dorcas R. Hardy
  7. ^ About the Board > Members
  8. ^ Dorcas Hardy, MBA ’76, Pepperdine University.
Political offices
Preceded by
Martha McSteen
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
Succeeded by
Gwendolyn King