MacArthur Fellows Program

Thomas C. Joe

Social Policy Analyst | Class of 1986

Social Policy Analyst
Washington, District of Columbia
51 at time of award
October 2, 1999
Published August 1, 1986

About Thomas Work

Thomas Joe was a social policy analyst who initiated and critiqued government policies that affect the disadvantaged.

He was instrumental in developing the nation’s federal income maintenance system for elderly and disabled persons (Supplemental Security Income), and helped two administrations draft plans for family welfare reform.  Joe assisted state and local governments in the design and financing of human services for dependent children and low-income families.  Former special assistant to the undersecretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (1969-73), and consultant to the White House Domestic Policy Council (1975-79), he also served on the first National Council of the Handicapped (1982).  He is co-author of By the Few for the Few (1985) and co-editor of Images of the Disabled, Disabling Images (1986).


Joe was director of the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit organization he founded in 1979.

Joe received a B.A. (1958) and an M.A. (1961) from the University of California, Berkeley, where he also completed course work in the Ph.D. program in political science.  Joe was totally blind since the age of thirteen. 

Last updated January 1, 2005.

Select News Coverage of Thomas C. Joe
October 5, 1999
"Obituary: Tom Joe, Policy Maker on Poverty"
The New York Times
Thomas C. Joe , 1986 MacArthur Fellow
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