General, Online Services

How to Change Your Second Factor Authentication for Your Personal my Social Security Account

September 2, 2021 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: September 24, 2021

man using digital tabletThis is part three of our three-part blog series, “my Social Security 101.” Miss the first two blogs? You can read Part 1 and Part 2 here.

Did you recently get a new cell phone number or email address? If you did, you will need to update your personal my Social Security account to reflect the new number or email. You will be required to use the second factor process to access your account. Second factor authentication provides an extra level of security for your account. Here’s what you need to know to help you keep your account safe and secure.

To update the second factor authentication on your account, go to the Sign In page. Enter your username and password. Then, follow these steps:

  • On the page that asks you to “Please verify your cell phone number” or “Please verify your email address”—depending on which one is currently listed as your second factor, choose, “No, it is no longer valid and must be changed.” If you registered both your cell phone and email address, you will get a screen with both options. Choose this option to let us know that you can no longer access it.
  • Click “Next.”
  • Scroll down and check the “I agree to the Terms of Service” box.
  • Click “Next.”
  • Enter your mailing address and primary phone number in the “Provide Information” page.
  • Click “Mail Reset Code Instructions.”
  • Then, click “Done” on the next page.

After completing these steps, you’ll receive a letter by mail in 5 to 10 business days. Your letter will contain a reset code and step-by-step instructions for changing where you receive security codes.

When you receive the letter with your reset code, go to the Sign In page, enter your username, and include your password. Then, you can:

  • Click “Sign In.”
  • Click “Yes, let’s begin” on the “Do you have your reset code letter?” page.
  • Click “Next.”
  • Fill in the appropriate field to let us know how you want to receive your security code—whether by text message or email.
  • Click “Next.”
  • Enter the security code you received—by text message or email—in the space provided.
  • Then, click “Submit Security Code.”
  • Enter the reset code from your letter on the following page.
  • Click “Next.”
  • Then, click “Next” again.
  • Scroll down and check the “I agree to the Terms of Service” box.
  • Click “Next.” This will take you to your my Social Security account.

Be sure to refer to our Frequently Asked Questions page for any additional questions—and check out our most asked questions and main topics. Please share this information with your friends and family—and subscribe to our blog for the latest updates.

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About the Author

Dawn Bystry, Acting Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications


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  3. Bernardo P.

    Can I continue receiving my wifes and my benefits when we’ve moved back to the Philippines. We are both naturalized Citizens

    • Patty

      Hi Bernardo. Thanks for using our blog. If you do move, you are required to report your change of address to Social Security, even if we are sending your payments to a bank or other financial institution. Our publication, “Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States”, explains how being outside the United States may affect your Social Security payments.

      You may use our Payments Abroad Screening Tool to see if your benefits will continue indefinitely, stop after six consecutive months or if certain country specific restrictions apply.


      We recommend that individuals living outside the United States contact the nearest Federal Benefit Unit in the area for any assistance related to Social Security programs and benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad.  We hope you find this helpful!

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  10. Cynthia.l.Jones

    SSA.GOV is one of the worst sites ever setup. It continually spies on users and refuses to allow husband and wife to use same computer. When asking for help from a supervisor they will not call back. There is so much waste in the SSA office settings, that consumers cannot get positive response of accurate information. They need to stop trying to exercise authority and get authority personnel when and where needed.

    • Patty

      Hi Cynthia. We are sorry to hear about your experience. If you are referring to accessing your personal my Social Security account, we have established a dedicated my Social Security Hotline to assist with your account issues. You may call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. At the voice prompt, say “helpdesk”; or contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

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