My Social Security (8/15/2018)

If you do not already have one, opening a free “My Social Security” account would be a good idea. This secure account allows you to have convenient online access to information on your record and to manage your benefits once you start receiving them. You do not have to wait until you receive benefits to sign up.

Your account is the primary way to learn about your benefits, and more than 30 million people already have accounts. The Social Security Administration (SSA) used to send out paper benefits statements, but they decided to switch to online notification to save money. You can also use the online service to get a benefit verification letter, change your address or phone number, obtain a replacement social security card, or manage the direct deposit of your benefits. You will be able to see your future or present benefits and can also verify that your annual earnings are being posted correctly.

Setting up an account could also help prevent your benefit payments from ending up in the hands of identity thieves. Scammers who have your Social Security number and address, for example, can go online and set up a “My Social Security” account in your name if you haven’t already done so. Only one account is permitted per Social Security number, so claiming your account early is key.

Go to to create your account. You will need to provide some personal information. You also will need to give the correct answers to some questions that only you are likely to know. Next, you create a username and password that you will use to access your online account. As an additional safeguard, since June of last year the My Social Security site has required a two-step login process. After you enter your username and password, you are sent an email or a text message with a verification code that you must enter on the website. That code helps the SSA confirm that you are in fact you.

Whether you are close to retirement or not, having access to your personal information will be helpful for planning purposes and to make sure that your data is being recording correctly. It’s an important portal to your Social Security benefits. By setting up your own account, you are also taking a step to prevent your personal data from falling into the hands of others.  

Lisa Dugan

August 15, 2018