A friend of mine told me that she had logged in to the Social Security Administration’s website recently and was able to review her account and get a forecast of her Social Security retirement income, should she make it to retirement.
Intrigued, I decided to do the same thing.
I went to the website (www.ssa.gov) and tried to create myself an account. I entered my Social Security number, my name, my address, my date of birth, all sorts of information.
After a while it told me that it could not create an account for my social security number. It suggested that I call the help desk and gave me a toll-free number.
So I called the number and followed the instructions to get to the help desk.
The help desk person was very nice. She asked me all of the same information that the website had asked.
She confirmed that the site would not activate access for me. She asked me if I had bad credit. I said no, I think I have excellent credit. She asked me about my mortgage, and I told her that my wife and I had paid off our mortgage a few years ago.
The woman told me that that explained the problem. It seems that the Social Security Administration outsources the identity verification function to one of the big credit bureaus. The credit bureau can not verify identity for folks without significant debt, it seems.
The only way for me to get an online account with the Social Security website is to take my passport or other identification to a Social Security field office and identify myself to them.
If I have paid off my mortgage, I can’t get access to the Social Security website without a personal visit to a field office?
Well, I work for a living and I can not afford to take time off from work to go visit the Social Security field office in order to get access to the website. Too bad that the identity verification service doesn’t work for folks without debt.