New Forms of Verification for a mySocialSecurity Account

Feb 23, 2021 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Associate Editor

Advisors and workers who previously used the Social Security Administration’s website to set up a mySocialSecurity account may recall that the verification process previously required users to answer a series of questions, pulled from information on file with credit bureaus. Common questions would include things like, “Which of the following streets have you lived on?” and, “Which of the following is a company through which you have previously held a line of credit?” The pressure some workers felt to answer the questions correctly would lead to anxiety, which only further increased the likelihood that they would answer one of the questions wrong! No more. Gone is the old system of requiring an exam-like series of questions about one’s past (though this still remains a secondary option for certain individuals). In its place, workers are now given a choice to verify their identity in one of two ways, the simplest of which is the ability to verify their identity using their smartphone and a state-issued ID card.

Workers who choose this method will be prompted to request a text message from the Social Security Administration containing a link that will take them to a photo capturing tool that will allow them to snap a picture of their state-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license. The process is similar to using one’s phone to capture an image of a check to make a virtual deposit to one’s bank account. After uploading the image of the state-issued photo ID, workers will return to the mySocialSecurity application to fill in some basic information about the ID, such as the type of ID the state in which the ID was issued, and the number associated with the ID.

Workers who want to establish a mySocialSecurity account and either can’t or don’t want to provide the Social Security Administration with a picture of their state-issued photo ID can opt to use financial information to verify the worker’s identity. Workers can choose to use credit card information, Social Security benefit amount information, a Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement, or a Schedule SE (Self-Employment Tax) from the most recent Form 1040 on file with the Social Security Administration. Once workers select the applicable document, they will be prompted to enter the specific information needed to verify their identity.

In the event that a client does not yet have a mySocialSecurity account, advisors should encourage them to establish one as soon as possible. Advisors can help such individuals by letting them know, in advance, what information and documents they should have available. Reviewing an individual’s Social Security statement can provide an advisor with valuable information, help clients to better understand their future potential Social Security Retirement Benefits, and serve as a launching point for deeper conversations with the client, such as how much guaranteed retirement income an individual needs to feel comfortable.

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