Ben Spec in the Swiss Alps

Ask Ben: How Do I Use SSA’s Online Service?

In Ben Spec, Benefits and Employment Articles, Featured, News by Ben Spec

Yodel-ay-he-hoo! I’m here in the Swiss Alps, learning to yodel and enjoying the beautiful mountains.  Did you know herders use yodeling to call their stock, and that the sound of a yodel can travel between Alpine villages?

I’ll give my voice a rest and answer a question from Dua about how to get in touch with Social Security. And I won’t suggest yodeling!

Dear Ben,

It’s so hard to get in touch with Social Security by phone, and going to the office takes a lot of time. I know there’s some kind of on-line access, but I’m not sure how to use it. Can you help me with that?

Dua


Dear Dua – you are right: it has become more challenging to get in touch with Social Security in recent years. A big reason for this is that Social Security’s resources have not increased as much as the demand for their services. This makes it difficult for them to respond to phone calls quickly, and it also makes visits to the office more time-consuming than ever.

Set Up a MySSA Account

A good resource for getting around this issue is to set up a MySSA Account on Social Security’s website. I was reluctant to set up my own account, but when I considered the time and travel involved in going to the Social Security office or waiting on the phone, I finally decided to make the leap.  It was fairly easy, has worked very well, and has saved me a whole lot of time.

You Can Accomplish a Lot Online

Social Security has been adding new features to MySSA and now you can do more online than ever before:

If you already receive Social Security benefits

  • Request a replacement Social Security card (You must meet certain requirements to do this online. For example, in Wisconsin residents need to have a driver’s license.)
  • Report your wages if you work (Not available to all beneficiaries. Check with your local Social Security office to see if this is an option for you.)
  • Review your annual earnings report
  • Get your benefit verification letter
  • Check your projected or current retirement and disability benefits
  • Report address and phone number changes
  • Start direct deposit or change your direct deposit information
  • Get a replacement Medicare card
  • Get a replacement SSA-1099 for your tax return

If you are a representative payee:

  • Complete and submit Representative Payee Accounting Reports
  • See the status of any completed Representative Payee Accounting Report
  • Receive a receipt for any report you submit

If you don’t currently receive benefits:

  • Request a replacement Social Security card if you meet certain requirements;
  • Check the status of your application or appeal
  • Get your Social Security Statement and:
    • Get an estimate your future benefits
    • Verify your earnings
    • View the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid

Is MySSA Right for You?

There are reasons that using MySSA might not be so easy or a good choice for some people. Here are some things you must be aware of about the process:

Be Able to Verify Your Identity

To create a MySSA account, you will have to answer some questions to verify your identity.  These can include:

  • addresses where you have lived
  • loans you have received
  • other details that some people will not easily remember

If you cannot answer these, you will need to go to your local Social Security office to set up your MySSA account.

Have Immediate Access to Email or Cell Phone When Signing In

When you sign into your account, you need to be able to receive a text or email for a security code that will be sent to you. The code is only valid for 10 minutes.

If you don’t have immediate access to email or a cell phone, you will not be able to complete the sign-in.

Know and Enter Your Username and Password Correctly

If you get your username or password wrong three times when trying to sign in, you will be locked out for 24 hours before you can try again.

Use a Private, Secure Internet Connection

It is not a good idea to use a public wi-fi connection to sign in to MySSA, because those connections are not as secure as a home or office connection. So, MySSA might not be a good choice for you if you rely on public internet connections.

You can learn more and set up a MySSA Account on Social Security’s website. And let me know if you have more questions, or any problems with MySSA.

All the best to you, Dua!

Ben

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