General, Online Services

my Social Security 101: When You Need Additional Help With Your Account

May 20, 2021 • By

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

Sometimes we need help with or have questions about our online accounts. For your convenience, we want to share some frequently asked questions you may find helpful with your personal my Social Security account needs.

What if I forgot my username or password?

It happens to all of us on occasion. We can’t remember our username or password. If you’ve forgotten your username or password – perhaps even both – we have you covered. Visit our my Social Security Sign In page and select “Forgot Username” or “Forgot Password.” Follow the prompts, and in just a few minutes you will be back in business – Social Security business.

What if I am locked out of my account?

Your account may be locked because you – or perhaps someone else – entered inconsistent or incorrect information. We lock your account to protect your information. If you are locked out of your account, you can call our my Social Security Help Desk at 1-800-772-1213 from Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET. When you call, say “Help Desk” at the voice prompt.

How can I block access to my account?

We know that in certain instances, like for victims of domestic violence or identity theft, you may want to block access to your information.  You can choose to block any automated telephone and electronic access to your Social Security record. When you do this, no one, including you, will be able to see or change your personal information online or through our automated telephone service.

Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 or call your local Social Security office if you need to block access to your record. You can find the number for your local office using our Office Locator. If you change your mind in the future, you can contact us and ask us to unblock it.

What if I live overseas?

At this time, you must have a United States mailing address to create a personal my Social Security account. People with an overseas APO/FPO/DPO address can create an account, but our system does not yet support registration for users with a foreign address. However, you may be able to access our services by creating an ID.me account. ID.me is a Single Sign-On provider that meets the U.S. government’s most rigorous requirements for online identity proofing and authentication. On our my Social Security account set up page, select Sign in with ID.me and follow the link to create an ID.me account.

We recommend that people living outside the U.S. contact the nearest Federal Benefits Unit or U.S. embassy for any assistance related to our programs and benefits. Our Office of Earnings and International Operations page also has more information.

What if I need additional help?

We’re happy to help with any difficulties you’re having with your personal my Social Security account. For assistance, you may call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Lines are open from Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET. Please say “Help Desk” at the voice prompt. You can also contact your local Social Security office.

We encourage you to sign up for your personal my Social Security account if you haven’t done so. Please share this information with your family and friends—and help us spread the word on social media.


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Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

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  1. Jamie K.

    I can’t accesss my account using all the correct information and when I called to get help the person asked for my full social security number and wouldn’t provide any identification. Does the social security office ask for this to help reset a password?

    Reply
    • Patty

      Hi Jamie, thanks for using our blog. Social Security takes protecting the public’s personal information very seriously. To protect your privacy and your Social Security information, our representatives are required to use an identity verification process when providing services to beneficiaries and the general public. The Privacy Act prohibits Federal agencies from disclosing personal information without the person’s consent, except under certain conditions. Please visit our Privacy Program web page for more information.

      Reply
  2. Lisa

    Each time I try to set up an account, my user name is rejected, and it goes back to the criteria needed, but I’ve tried several usernames, and all meet the criteria, yet still can’t get past this step! Help!

    Reply
    • Patty

      Hi Lisa, we are sorry to hear this. If you are unable to create an account or encounter a problem with your my Social Security account, 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.

      Reply
  3. Terry J.

    When I looked at my “Your Social Security Statement” online today, the format had changed so that it was only 2 pages long vice the 4 pages in length of previous statements. It didn’t have as much information and seemed to be dumbed down. My spouses statement format hadn’t changed from 4 pages. Can you tell me what’s going on?

    Reply
    • Patty

      Hi Terry, thanks for using our blog. It sounds like you received the newly redesigned Social Security Statement. We are slowly rolling out the new streamlined design which is easier to read and understand. We have also added new fact sheets to accompany the online Statement. The fact sheets are designed to provide clarity and useful information, based on your age group and earnings situation. They can help you better understand Social Security programs and benefits. Check out our blog post New Fact Sheets Added to Your Online Statement for more details.

      Reply
      • Terry J.

        I could understand a streamlined design if the statement was sent to me through postal mail. The streamlined version doesn’t show my full earnings record, and makes me go to additional links to find information I was using to plan for retirement such as the statement in the old format, “Your estimated benefits are based on current law. Congress has made changes to the law in the past and can do so at any time. The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2035, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 79 percent of scheduled benefits”, which I expect will come at an earlier time or at a lesser percentage. When viewing an online statement, I appreciate the most relevant information first, but would prefer not having to follow multiple links for the same information that was present with the old format. It’s not like it costs any more for an online document or PDF file to be longer.

        Reply
  4. Lynne P.

    I tried to set up an online account for my son (Maziyar Prestwood) and every time I create a user name and password I get a message saying that user name already exists, I tried 3 times and get the same message.

    Also, my son received a letter about a phone appointment on July 20th but the letter came after that date and the phone number they have is wrong so I have been leaving messages at the local office at the extention number that was in the letter with no response and I even called and spoke to a representative who said the person named in the letter will call you at the end of the day but she did not.

    A week later I called and left a long, detailed message again to the person named in the letter at their extention and she still is not calling back.

    The letter says if we don’t get a response from you then your benefits and even your Medicaid will be stopped and we will send you a letter in 30 days. I am trying to respond but they are not responding to my response! shish!

    Reply
    • Gina S.

      It’s very frustrating. I experienced similar issues when creating an account. There is a detailed post on how to create a Social Security online account that may be able to help with the issues you are having.

      Reply
    • Patty

      Hi Lynne, we are sorry to hear about your experience and understand your frustration. Unfortunately, for security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog. Please continue to work with your local office for a resolution to your situation. Look for the general inquiry telephone number using our Social Security Office Locator link. You can request to speak with the manager if you continue to have difficulties connecting to a representative.

      As for creating an account for your son, you can only create an account using your own personal information and for your own exclusive use. You cannot create an account on behalf of another person or using another person’s information or identity, even if you have that person’s written permission. We hope this helps.

      Reply
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  9. Barrett C.

    I have had a Social Security account for years now with no previous problem accessing the account . Today I can not access it using all the correct info. Says try later as we can not process it now. I reside outside the USA . So what is the problem ? Just Wait and try later ?

    Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Barrett. We are sorry to hear that. Since you are living outside of the U.S., you can contact your local Federal Benefits Unit for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  10. Martin T.

    My wife applied for spousal benefits and Medicare online at the beginning of June 2022. She received a letter from the local social security office requesting our original marriage license and my wife’s original Naturalization Certificate. Both documents where dropped off in the drop box at the local office on June 14, 2021. I made numerous calls and left voice-mail on several occasions between 16- 21 of June asking that I be contacted when our documents were finished with so I could pick them up as we have had numerous pieces of mail lost before reaching our mailbox. I never received any callbacks and it is now July 22 and No Documents have yet to be returned. I am a retired Army Chief Warrant Officer and I am baffled by no callbacks and the amount of time it is taking to process my wife’s application.

    Reply
    • Patty

      Hi Martin. We are sorry to hear about your experience. Please continue to call your local Social Security office for status on your documents. Look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. You can ask to speak to a manager on your next call. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. You also have the option to submit feedback by visiting our Contact Social Security page. Once there, select the “Email Us” link. This will take you to the “email a Question to our Support Team” form where you can complete and submit a compliment, complaint, or suggestion. We hope this matter is resolved soon.

      Reply

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