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NOSSCR Awards Eileen P. Sweeney Distinguished Service Award to Senator Tom Harkin

  December 7, 2017

On Friday, December 1, 2017, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) presented the Eileen P. Sweeney Distinguished Service Award to former Iowa Senator, Tom Harkin.

At the award ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa, Barbara Silverstone, NOSSCR’s Executive Director, recognized Senator Harkin for his steadfast dedication to empowering individuals with disabilities throughout his career and beyond. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, one of Senator Harkin’s most important contributions to society, provided the disabled with full participation and equal opportunity, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.

NOSSCR presents the Eileen P. Sweeney Distinguished Service Award to one or more individuals whose outstanding service has resulted in a significant:

  • Improvement in the quality of advocacy for Social Security claimants,
  • Increase in the availability of advocacy for Social Security claimants, or
  • Improvement in the Social Security adjudicatory process.


There is no doubt that Senator Harkin meets these qualifications. When presenting the award, Ms. Silverstone expressed her sincere admiration for Senator Harkin and his accomplishments: “I am truly honored to recognize all Senator Harkin has achieved and continues to achieve for those with disabilities. During his time in Congress, Senator Harkin was the disability community’s ‘number one champion.’ From the beginning, he understood what those with disabilities were going through, what they were entitled to, and that lawyers could be necessary to make things happen.”

Senator Harkin served 10 years in the House of Representatives (five terms), representing his Iowa community in the 1970s and early 1980s, and then served 30 years in the Senate until retiring after his sixth term in 2015. According to Ms. Silverstone, “Senator Harkin has been a stalwart friend of all the Social Security programs for his entire career. We at NOSSCR have always been honored and proud to have the opportunity to work with him on these important issues.”

NOSSCR Executive Director, Barbara Silverstone, presenting Eileen P. Sweeney Distinguished Service Award to Senator Tom Harkin.

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