Joint Press

Following Collins, McCaskill Effort, Seniors Will No Longer Need Cell Phones to Access Social Security Accounts Online

Senators’ push results in Social Security Administration rolling back text message identity authentication policy due to burden for seniors

WASHINGTON – Following efforts from U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Claire McCaskill, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee, seniors will once again be able to access their Social Security accounts online without needing to have a cell phone. Senators Collins and McCaskill sent a letter to the Social Security Administration (SSA) last week urging immediate action to roll back a new policy that required text message authentication for seniors to access their “my Social Security” account online.

While noting the need for enhanced security, Senators Collins and McCaskill were concerned that using text message authentication as the only means of guaranteeing an individual’s access to their account put an undue burden on seniors, many of whom do not own a cell phone. Following the letter from Collins and McCaskill, as well as feedback from customers around the country, the SSA announced it is rolling back the this policy that would have limited access for some users. 

“I am pleased that the Social Security Administration listened to the concerns we raised in our letter and reversed its decision to use text message authentication as the only means of guaranteeing individuals’ access to their online accounts,” said Senator Collins.  “As Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, I was troubled that the policy would have placed a high burden on seniors, many of whom do not own a cell phone.  While the Social Security Administration should develop ways to enhance security to prevent fraud, they must take into account the needs of seniors and ensure that they have easy access to their accounts.”

“Protecting our seniors and the retirement security they’ve earned is one of my top priorities as a Senator,” McCaskill said. “We’ve got to ensure seniors have easy and secure access to their accounts without having to jump through advanced technological hoops, so I am encouraged by the agency’s responsiveness in addressing this issue and look forward to working with them as they implement this new policy.”

To prevent seniors across our country from being unable to access their accounts, the letter U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Claire McCaskill sent to SSA Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin called on the agency to “consider the effect of this policy on the beneficiaries SSA is intended to serve” and asked “that [they] provide, as quickly as possible, additional authentication options” to “allow all seniors to have safe and speedy access to their own accounts.”

Click HERE to read the signed letter.