NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Neota Larson (1903-1966)
Neota Larson was a social worker who played a unique role in incorporating social work concerns and concepts into the policies of the Social Security Administration. Born in Nebraska, Larson received her bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska in 1934 and a Certificate in Social Work from the University of Minnesota in 1937.
After five years as director of research and field supervisor in the State Department of Public Welfare in Maryland, she joined the Federal Bureau of Public Assistance in 1942. From 1945 to 1952, she was assistant chief of the U.S. Children's Bureau. Her positions with the Social Security Administration from 1952 until her death included chief of the Program Planning Branch of Bureau of Old Age and Survivors Insurance and social policy consultant to the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. She played a large role in developing plans for social security disability insurance coverage for disabled minor and adult dependents of retired workers and home health benefits within the Medicare program received by mental hospital patients. Larson was active in several professional organizations including NASW, Council on Social Work Education, American Public Welfare Association, American Public Health Association, and Gerontological Society.