The Social Security Administration has now enhanced its security verification with a new step process for users to access their benefits information online.
Two-step authentication is typically something we love. It's designed to add another layer of security to the login process. However, to access accounts on ssa.gov, people will now need a text-enabled cellphone number.
That's great until you realize the problem it creates for anyone who does not have a cellphone. The outcome of this new step should affect a large number of Americans, as more than 59 million retirees, disabled workers, survivors and their families receive Social Security benefits each year, a number that has grown by 6 million in just the past five years.
First, users will enter their username and password. Next, they must enter the one-time security code texted to your cellphone. The code will be valid for 10 minutes.
The security step, aimed at identity theft, encountered technical difficulties upon its launch. Verizon Wireless customers were unable to access their personal information on Monday. The agency said it was working to fix the problem.
This multifactor authentication (MFA) procedure has been an optional service available to online users since the agency launched My Social Security in 2012. Now it is mandatory as a result of an executive order that requires all federal agencies to provide more security authentication for online services.
If you do not have a text-enabled cellphone, you'll need to call the Social Security Administration's toll-free number 1-800-772-1213, or visit your local Social Security office to review the details of your account.