Social Security invests much time, effort in protecting client identity
Q: My daughter tried to create a my Social Security account to see her work record and get family benefit estimates but could not because her address did not match a credit report address shown for her. She moved frequently over the last several years and does not know what address was needed. Can this be fixed?
A: Yes. The Social Security Administration puts lots of effort into protecting the identity and electronic records of our public. Usually these efforts do not create inconvenience but, unfortunately, this time they did. An overview of methods used to verify and protect a person’s identity are in the my Social Security section at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
In summary, creating a My Social Security account involves use of routine ID questions from SSA records and several others provided by the Experian credit firm. The credit firm questions are a security feature since the answers are less likely to be known except by the actual person.
Social Security does not keep an address database except for people currently receiving benefits so the address question seen by your daughter would be from the credit firm. As in your daughter’s attempt, online registration cannot be completed if all information provided fails to completely match available records.
She can still complete her My Social Security registration by visiting a Social Security office and presenting current photo ID. An appointment is not required.
Having a security freeze or credit alert on your Experian credit report also prevents you from creating a my Social Security account online. In this case you can either temporarily unblock your credit report and then create your My Social Security account online, or you can retain the block and visit a Social Security office with photo ID to have a representative can help you.
People not yet receiving Social Security benefits can use their My Social Security account to get their SSA Statement with retirement, survivors and disability estimates and view their earnings record as it is on SSA records. They can also receive information about previously received benefits.
Through My Social Security, people receiving a Social Security benefit can request a letter to verify the amount as well as update their address and direct deposit bank information for those benefits.
Based in Grand Forks, Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota. Send general interest questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his online articles at socialsecurityinfo.areavoices.com.