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New Social Security Online Issues


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For those of you using the online system for Social Security to check on your payment dates and other information you should have received an email today telling you that you will be required to have a text/data cell phone (smart phone) that SS can send you a text message on to be able to log into the system as of tomorrow. I have called to check if they have my Panama cell phone number and whether they will be able to send text messages out of country. They could not tell me one way or another. 

If you do not have your Panama cell phone listed on your account as of tomorrow you will not be able to log into your account. You may want to check it today. Whether it will work tomorrow is anyone’s guess. I have already posed this question to our warden, Hank Landis to see if he can get an answer.

Here is what they sent:

Starting in August 2016, Social Security is adding a new step to protect your privacy as a my Social Security user.  This new requirement is the result of an executive order for federal agencies to provide more secure authentication for their online services. Any agency that provides online access to a customer’s personal information must use multifactor authentication. When you sign in at ssa.gov/myaccount with your username and password, we will ask you to add your text-enabled cell phone number.  The purpose of providing your cell phone number is that, each time you log in to your account with your username and password, we will send you a one-time security code you must also enter to log in successfully to your account.Each time you sign into your account, you will complete two steps: Step 1:  Enter your username and password. Step 2:  Enter the security code we text to your cell phone (cell phone provider's text message and data rates may apply). The process of using a one-time security code in addition to a username and password is one form of “multifactor authentication,” which means we are using more than one method to make sure you are the actual owner of your account. 

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I received the same message from Soc Sec US and had trouble earlier yesterday and today signing in to my account.  Kept getting the message you see below.  Just now I was able to get through, but when signing out I again got this message.  So I assume lots of folks are just trying to get in to their accounts to make sure their smart phone numbers are part of their profile.  Mine is so no problem.  The problem is that the SS account profile page only accepts one phone number and it must be 10 digits.  But I'm guessing that those with Panama mobile phones with 10 digits won't be accepted since the 507 country code isn't a recognized area code in the US.  This is one reason I kept my US smart phone.  It might be some time before all government, finance and commercial institutions recognize the global nature of many citizens' lives and enable us all to live with just one phone and number.

Social Security

The Official Website of the U.S. Social Security Administration

We are sorry, but this service is not available at this time.

     
 

Please try again later. This service is available during the following hours (Eastern Time):
Monday-Friday 5 AM - 1 AM 
Saturday 5 AM 11 PM
Sunday 8 AM - 11:30 PM
Federal Holidays: Same availability hours as Monday - Sunday for the day on which the Holiday occurs

If you need immediate assistance:

 

                                You may call us Monday through Friday: 7:00AM 7:00pm at                                                                   1-800-772-1213

 

                                 If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, call our toll-free TTY number                                                           1-800-325-0778

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14 hours ago, Dennis Philpot said:

I received the same message from Soc Sec US and had trouble earlier yesterday and today signing in to my account.  Kept getting the message you see below.  Just now I was able to get through, but when signing out I again got this message.  So I assume lots of folks are just trying to get in to their accounts to make sure their smart phone numbers are part of their profile.  Mine is so no problem.  The problem is that the SS account profile page only accepts one phone number and it must be 10 digits.  But I'm guessing that those with Panama mobile phones with 10 digits won't be accepted since the 507 country code isn't a recognized area code in the US.  This is one reason I kept my US smart phone.  It might be some time before all government, finance and commercial institutions recognize the global nature of many citizens' lives and enable us all to live with just one phone and number.

Social Security

The Official Website of the U.S. Social Security Administration

We are sorry, but this service is not available at this time.

     
 

Please try again later. This service is available during the following hours (Eastern Time):
Monday-Friday 5 AM - 1 AM 
Saturday 5 AM 11 PM
Sunday 8 AM - 11:30 PM
Federal Holidays: Same availability hours as Monday - Sunday for the day on which the Holiday occurs

If you need immediate assistance:

 

                                You may call us Monday through Friday: 7:00AM 7:00pm at                                                                   1-800-772-1213

 

                                 If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, call our toll-free TTY number                                                           1-800-325-0778

For what it's worth, I have alerted the U.S. Embassy in Panama to this problem and suggested that they may want to bring the telephone number issue to the attention of the federal U.S. Social Security office. I would guess that they are hearing about this from embassies all over the world.

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  • 2 weeks later...

According to money magazine today, Social security has dropped the texting requirement:

The Social Security Administration has dropped a measure to boost its website security that had the effect of locking some people out of their online accounts.
About two weeks ago, the agency began requiring people to use a security code sent by text message to a cellphone—in addition to a user name and password—to log into a “my Social Security” account. That requirement was problematic for some people, including seniors, who don’t have reliable cellphone service or text-enabled phones—or who simply aren’t comfortable with this means of communication.
That “multifactor authentication” rule is now gone, the agency website declares:We removed the requirement to use a cell phone to access your account. While it’s not mandatory, we encourage those of you who have a text capable cell phone to take advantage of this optional extra security. We continue to pursue more options beyond cell phone texting.
 
 

 

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