Social Security Now Requires Cell Phone to Use Online Services

People seeking to manage their federal Social Security benefits online can no longer do so unless they provide a cell phone number so they can receive an access code by text each time they log on. The change, which took effect July 30, is part of an effort to improve online security, according to the Social Security Administration. Users with online “mySocialSecurity” accounts already could choose to use texted codes as an extra layer of security, in addition to their user name and password. But now, the extra step is mandatory. Many businesses, including banks, offer such codes, but their use is typically optional. The agency said the move was a response to an executive order issued in October 2014 that requires federal agencies to provide “more secure authentication” for online services. Adding a texted code to the user name and password is a type of multifactor authentication intended to prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to confidential information, the agency said. The agency said that it realized the new security layer might be an inconvenience for some people. But, it added, “Our research shows that an overwhelming majority of American adults have cell phones and use them for texting.”

Source/more: New York Times

 

David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

 

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