As we first reported last week, new federal online security rules have led the Social Security Administration to require all new and current account holders to SSA’s online portal, my Social Security, to have a text-enabled cell phone to access their account online.
Since only a quarter (27%) of adults ages 65 and older own smartphones this new rule is baffling. NCPSSM President/CEO, Max Richtman, has urged Social Security’s Acting Commission, Carolyn Colvin, to change the new requirement:
We are concerned that the new authentication requirements will mean that millions of Americans will find themselves cut off from this convenient avenue of service delivery. That’s why we urge you to move quickly to protect seniors by expanding your authentication procedures to include options that can be used by those who do not have text-capable cell phones. One option would be to send an authentication code to mySocialSecurity account holders via email. Such an expansion would go a long way in ensuring that seniors will continue to be able to access their accounts.
We understand the dilemma SSA confronts in making individuals’ personally-identifiable information available to them through an online service portal such as mySocialSecurity.
“Too little security can compromise the privacy of millions of Americans. Authentication procedures that are overly-rigorous or that offer too few options can close off an important avenue of service delivery and lead to increased phone and walk-in traffic in local Social Security offices. We urge you to review the new authentication procedures with the goal of striking the right balance between access and security. Establishing an authentication option based on email or a person’s landline telephone would significantly increase the number of account holders who would continue to have access to the services that mySocialSecurity so admirably provides.”
You can read our entire letter here.