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Social Security: New online accounts must go through identity verification

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Social Security: New online accounts must go through identity verification
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Q: I was unable to create a My Social Security account because I have a security  freeze on my credit report. Why should this matter?

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A: As a protection for you, part of the process when you create your My Social Security account includes contact by Social Security with the credit report firm Experian to help verify your identity.

As a result, you cannot create a My Social Security account online if you have a security freeze, fraud alert, or both on your Experian credit report. You first must ask Experian to remove the freeze or alert.

This is part of the security protection process. From its own internal records, Social Security can verify much of the information requested from you to establish your my Social Security account.

Using an additional, external from Social Security, means to further prove your identity when creating the my Social Security record provides another layer of security.

Experian provides questions from its records that also serve to verify your identity. These questions would not be about information routinely available, for example from a lost wallet or purse. This does not affect your credit score.

Your Social Security number is not shared with Experian and information from that firm is not kept by Social Security.

Multiple security protections are available for your use when creating your my Social Security account. Learn more about them at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Once established, your my Social Security account is useful whether or not you receive benefits yet. If receiving benefits or having Medicare now, you can:

  • Get your benefit verification letter
  • Check your benefit and payment information and your earnings record
  • Change your address and phone number and
  • Start or change direct deposit of your payment

If not receiving benefits yet, you can get your Social Security Statement with estimates of retirement, disability, and survivors benefits to help financial planning. You will also see your earnings record and the estimated SSA and Medicare taxes you have paid.

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 howard.kossover@ssa.gov. Read his online articles at http://socialsecurityinfo.areavoices.com.

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