The Social Security Administration has added a new step this month to protect your privacy as a mySocialSecurity user. This new requirement is the result of an executive order for federal agencies to provide more secure authentication for their online services. Any agency that provides online access to a customer’s personal information must use multifactor authentication.
When you sign in at ssa.gov/myaccount with your username and password, the SSA will ask you to add your text-enabled cell phone number. The purpose of providing your cell phone number is that, each time you log in to your account with your username and password, you will be sent a one-time security code you must also enter to log in successfully to your account.
Each time you sign into your account, you will complete two steps:
- Step 1: Enter your username and password.
- Step 2: Enter the security code SSA sends as a text to your cell phone (cell phone provider’s text message and data rates may apply).
The process of using a one-time security code in addition to a username and password is one form of “multifactor authentication,” which means the SSA is using more than one method to make sure you are the actual owner of your account.
If you do not have a text-enabled cell phone or you do not wish to provide your cell phone number, you will not be able to access your mySocialSecurity account.
If you are unable to or choose not to use mySocialSecurity, there are other ways you can contact the Social Security Administration including calling, emailing or walking in to an office. To learn more, please review the Frequently Asked Questions found here.
It’s a sign of the times that you’ll be required to share additional personal information to use the convenient mySocialSecurity online service.
By Melinda Nelson, CPA