A man who once relied on Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) himself is now being appointed to lead the office on disability at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the department announced Wednesday.

As director of the HHS Office on Disability, Henry Claypool will be the top disability adviser to the secretary of Health and Human Services. Currently Kathleen Sebelius is in the nomination process for that position.

Claypool will also oversee all programs within HHS pertaining to individuals with disabilities.

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Claypool experienced a spinal cord injury 25 years ago. In the years following, he relied on government programs like SSI while he completed his college education. His experience includes work at a center for independent living and as the director of the University of Colorado’s disability services office. More recently Claypool worked with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration.