Ok so I installed a role manager application (Capability Manager Enhanced) and immediately discovered I could no longer as an admin issue awards to people.
After a bit of digging I discovered it was because the "publish achievement progresses" option was disabled by default. Once I reenabled this it was all fine and good.
So this post is two fold one for anyone else who is trying to find the answer to this problem but second is it seems like as an admin user I should be able to force an award on a user even if the user lacks the ability to publish achievement status because, the user isn't the one publishing it at that point the admin is.
I have a couple user roles who I do not want to be able to earn awards but I would still like to be able to issue one to them as an admin.