A Constant Quest to Improve Our Online Services

Graphic of address bar on computer with cursor arrow, Shooting computer screenWe know you’re busy and need ways to be more productive. Our online services make it possible for you to conduct business with us when and where it’s convenient for you. Our goal is to provide you with world-class service and our online services are a convenient, cost-effective, and secure way for us to better serve you. 

On our website, you can apply for retirement, spouse’s, disability, and Medicare benefits. You can use our benefit planners to calculate your future benefits. You can also find answers to your frequently asked questions. You can even apply for Extra Help to pay for the costs—monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments—related to a Medicare prescription drug plan.

In addition, by opening a personal my Social Security account, you can keep track of your earnings and verify them every year by reviewing your Social Security Statement. You can get an instant benefit verification letter or one stating that you don’t currently receive benefits, never received benefits, or are waiting for an answer on your application for benefits.

If you receive benefits, you also can:

  • Change your address or telephone number;
  • Start or change your direct deposit;
  • Get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S for your taxes; and
  • Replace your Medicare card.

We frequently review our online services looking for new and useful enhancements to meet our customers’ changing needs. Your feedback is important to us when deciding how we can better serve you, so use this blog to let us know.

We continue to use updated technology and innovative ideas to expand our online services at www.socialsecurity.gov. And although our online services can be handled easily from the comfort of your home or office, our in-person services are still available to you. We are committed to meeting your needs and preferences in how you like to conduct business with us.


87 thoughts on “A Constant Quest to Improve Our Online Services

    • Thank you Raul! Your thoughts are important to us and we’re pleased when feedback is positive. We try hard to provide the best possible service to our customers and your satisfaction is our reward. Please continue to use our services online.

    • Social Security….I just found out and tried to do spouse’s benefits online……your system locked me out soooooooooo many times that I spent 48 mintues on the phone to try to resolve the issue….come to find out I can’t do DIVORCED spouses benefits and this is why I was locked out soooooo many time….don’t you think it’d be a good idea to STATE THIS SO OTHERS WON’T HAVE TO GO THROUGH HOURS trying to figure out what happened….I was told over the phone I couldn’t get divorce spousal benefits….have to wait til he dies…..geez.

      • And that is what’s wrong with filing online for everything. In addition the more services that can be provided on line the fewer the employees in the field offices which further deteriorates service. End result an incorrect answer to your inquiry. If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record (even if he or she has remarried) if:
        You are unmarried;
        You are age 62 or older;
        Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and
        The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work. He does not have to be dead.

      • Having worked for local government and customer service, I suspect that the SSA is well aware of these difficulties that are foisted upon us. I also believe that it is more an issue of image building and presentation rather that a genuine concern for excellent customer service. The solutions are in place for these barriers to be dismantled but the “political” or management drive is absent.

    • I am a Benefits Counselor and work with adults with autism. Many do not have a credit history. We are not able to sign them up for the online service. If there was a solution to this, it would be extremely helpful as many of the local benefit programs require proof of New Benefit Amounts and 1099’s.

  1. I am concerned about hackers when I need to utilize socialsecurity.gov! That’s why I will not use it!

    • We understand your concern Henry. We take protecting the public’s personal information very seriously. All of our online applications use an identity verification process to protect the privacy of your identity and your Social Security information. Using our online services at http://www.socialsecurity.gov to file for benefits is safe and secure. In addition, our goal is to provide helpful information to as many people as possible.

  2. The site is VERY frustrating in that the only breakdown of payment history (gross, fed, state tax, Part B premium) is for the current month. We have varying amounts over a few years and it’s impossible to go back and determine the exact figures. SS should think like a credit card company. Every payment or reimbursement should be in its history — accessible to every client.

  3. I have been trying to change my e-mail and password for Ever and can’t. I have call SS and they are no help. What can I do?

    • Hello Judy. If you are having difficulties with your personal my Social Security account, please call 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. After you hear “Briefly tell me why you are calling,” say “Help Desk” for help with a my Social Security account. Sometimes, it might be best to visit your local Social Security office for further assistance.

  4. Maddening!! For over 2 years I get notices with boilerplate explanation about how SS/Medicare owes me money, then another than says I owe SS/Medicare money. I’ve now ben waiting over 3 months for an official explanation of what is going on. Your site provides no exact history to permit me to “audit” the numbers. Last month I received a check and the next day a letter saying I owed the same amount plus $1500+ with NO EXPLANATION!!! I did no own calculations and spreadsheet and I believe you owe me money! Waiting to hear from some mysterious, faceless, nameless person (after visiting local offices numerous times). I’m sure I’ll get yet one more letter with boilerplate numbers and no explanation. Get it together!! You are dealing with real people’s lives and necessary income!!

    • We apologize for the delay and inconveniences you are experiencing, Bill. Unfortunately, but for your security, we do not have access to personal records in this blog. Please continue working with your local office. You can ask to speak with the manager to see how we can help to expedite resolution of your situation. If you are unable to visit the local office, you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks.

      • I am my adult son’s guardian and rep payee. Dealing with the dysfunction and craziness of the SSA is a full time job . The people a re nasty. If you for some reason cannot attend an “ordered” appt about which you had no input. they will not let you reschedule for anoter time (though the letters say they will) instead, one hasto then just come in and either arrive 2 hours before the office opens so that they can get out befor noon. Or go there when the office opens and pray that they will actuall be seen and can leave by the end of the business day. It is a demoralizing and exhausting and inefficient system that is in its sum total of experience is dehumanizing and abusive to its clients.

  5. I have had an easy time using the online services from internet explorer until today. The SSA website with not open at all. I have to use chrome, and nothing on the website works very well. The forms are smaller and don’t let me enter all the information (like the 2nd line in an address, the town and state).

    • Hi Margaret, thank you for using our blog to communicate with us! The site appears to be up and running, please try again. Remember for assistance, you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week.

  6. Hello: Thank you for taking my email.

    I am trying to verify that my appplication for Medicare Part B is being processed. I have made telephone calls and received conflicting reports; send written correspondence to my local office and have not received any information. Please assist me in finding out; I applied in January 2016 and wish to be covered by July 1, 2016.

    • Hi Thomas. Generally, the Medicare card comes in the mail within three months before the month individuals become entitled to Medicare benefits. For further assistance and to check the status of your application, call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask to speak with one of our representatives, who are available Monday through Friday between 7:00am and 7:00pm. Thanks.

    • Hi Tom. We apologize for any inconveniences. Sometimes we experience higher than normal call volume. Generally, when calling our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later during the week. Our representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Our offices are open to the public on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays until 4:00 p.m. Every Wednesday at noon, offices are closed to the public so that employees have time to complete current work and reduce backlogs. Remember that many services are conveniently available anytime at our website. Individuals can create a personal my Social Security account to get general information about our programs or manage their Social Security benefits. Also, we respond to questions and provide general information on our Retirement, Survivors, Disability, Medicare and SSI programs through our Blog and Facebook page. If you have a general question, we encourage you to ask here. But remember, never post personal information on social media. We hope this helps!

  7. I work with those folks who are turning 65. Many do not want to start collecting their social security benefits at this point. Is it possible for a person to sign up for their part B on line without signing up for benefits?

    • Thank you for helping Jill. Individuals within three months of age 65 or older and not ready to start their monthly cash benefits yet, can use our online retirement application to sign up for Medicare ONLY and apply for their retirement benefits at a later date. If individuals already have Medicare Part A and wish to sign up for Medicare Part B, they must contact their local Social Security office or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. To learn more about the Medicare enrollment periods visit http://www.Medicare.gov, and read our publication “Apply Online for Medicare – Even If You Are Not Ready to Retire” . We hope this information helps

  8. American citizens who receive Social Security benefits, (Please take time to check how many of us are here) and live in Israel, can not benefit from the latest technology employed by Social Security, online access to accounts etc, especially if they don’t maintain a US address. How many senior citizens can keep and maintain two domiciles?
    I am saying the requirement to have a US address needs to be reexamined. Thank you.

  9. I live in Canada and receive social security benefits. However, I am unable to set up an account because I do not live in the United States. Any suggestions? thank you

    • We apologize for the inconvenience Paula. At this time you must have a U. S. mailing address to create or to access your online account. The “my Social Security” authentication system requires address verification as one of the essential criteria for issuing an account. People with APO/FPO/DPO addresses can create an account overseas, but our system does not support registration and account creation for users with a foreign address yet. For assistance related to your Social Security benefits, you may contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your area by phone or email. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this information helps!

      • This is more boiler plate response. I live outside the USA and have had this problem. The country in which I live has a FBU (Federal Benefits Unit) but they serve as a buffer for the Baltimore Office of International whatever….. By this I mean that the Embassy’s do not seem either to be able to produce more information or status reports. I am waiting for plus 3 months now for a reply from the Embassy on a spousal benefits claim that was made plus 9 months ago! So I suggest that one needs lower one’s expectation.

  10. As a Rep I used to complete the i-3368 pro. When this went away it made the case processing time slower. Applications are best completed by trained Claims Reps but the Adult Disability (3368) is best completed by Attys/Reps. Please separate them again.

    • The 3368 can be filled out by an applicant and then reviewed by a claims representative. There is NO point in getting an attorney involved in this step unless you want to waste your time and throw your money away.

  11. I am in search of an Advocate to resolve a six month old issue. Every time we have contact there is another 30 day delay. The SSA acknowledges there is a payment problem but cannot seem to get it resolved.

  12. Anytime I need to make change in the Tax withholding deduction rate from Social Security, It takes multiple mailings of W4-V forms to SSA, making long wait calls to SSA and it is very frustrating for seniors like me.

    I have mailed Form W4-V Two (2) times. First time on 2/5/2016 and then again in 4/2016 after talking to your office and they informed me that they did not receive the first form. I am frustrated and disappointed with SSA, as to why it takes so much time for such a simple matter.
    When SSA allow recipients to make changes to the Bank Information for direct deposit online, why SSA does not allow people to make changes for withholding rate online? There is more security concern involved in allowing people to change BANK Info than the withholding rate change.
    Please do not tell me that SSA has been doing great things, please implement this simple online change.
    Thank you.

    • We value your thoughts and suggestions as we look for ways to improve the services we offer. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

  13. Do you have plans to expand on-line services to Organizational Rep Payees? Right now, we are limited to submitting annual rep payee accounting forms via on-line business services, which works great; however for other beneficiary needs, we have to resort to phoning, faxing and mailing letters to our local office, which is very inefficient. We are unable to send secure e-mails to our local office, since they will not accept our secure encryption service. Yet, SSA does not provide a secure e-mail alternative. Any expansion of on-line or secure, electronic capabilities that you can develop for organizational rep payees would be greatly appreciated.

  14. Why did only the first 2 posts get a reply. We all would like to see responses so that it will answer questions for everyone. This blog is not helpful if there are no answers to questions. Thank you.

    • Our apologies Barb. We get many questions through our Social Security Matters Blog postings and we always attempt to respond to as many of the comments and questions as we possibly can. Our goal is to give readers information about a variety of topics, including our programs, online services, current events, and human-interest stories, usually in greater detail than typically shared on our other social media platforms. If we missed your question, consider re-submitting it again. Thanks

  15. While your benefits are protected under mandatory federal expenditures, that is not the case for the agency that serves you. Only 1/3 of the federal budget is “discretionary” which is not a lot of turf to fight over. Repetitive cuts are slowly bleeding that part of the budget. Over 36 years of 2% here, 7% there, it all adds up. If you still have a local office, you are fortunate even if understaffed. If not, it lost too much staff and became less cost-effective to justify maintaining. Online services take time to develop and especially make safe, while they also require hardware. This puts the public in a difficult position. However, hardware is another expenditure that is part of “discretionary” spending. As all of us learned in our civics courses, the House controls the purse strings. So while you worked hard to pay for these services, the House determines what you actually get back on your investment!

  16. I would love to use the on-line services. On Feb 1, 2010, I signed up and received a confirmation email. I noted all security items/passwords that I used but have never been able to sign in again. Several years ago, I had emailed and received a response that I need to go to a physical SS Office to rectify the problem. I never did. I do everything on line, I open bank accounts on-line, I pay bills on-line, all with no problem except unable to re-sign-in to SS. I wish I didn’t have to find and drive to a SS Office to fix stuff.

    • Hello Mary. If you are having difficulties with your personal my Social Security account, please call 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. After you hear “Briefly tell me why you are calling,” say “Help Desk” for help with a my Social Security account. If the representatives in the “Help Desk” cannot help you, then it might be best to visit your local Social Security office for further assistance. Thanks!

  17. I want to thank the representatives who handled my questions. They called within 2 days with my calculations for benefits. I’m affected by the WEP and it’s different formula they use. Now I have an idea what I want to do for SS.

  18. With online services one should be able to schedule an appointment at his local office to meet with a representative to address case issues. The wait now to schedule an appointment most times exceeds an hours wait if not longer at the local office.

  19. I recently had a question about my sister benefits. I emailed a request several days age and got an answer that did not address my question. I replied to make sure they understood my question and have not heard from them since. I then visited the local SS office. I had to log into a touch screen to get a number. The touch screen took seconds to respond to a touch. It took me a while to figure out it was working but very slowly. I got my number but after waiting nearly an hour, I had to leave to make another commitment. Basically online and in person were equally bad and I still have a question I need to have answered.

  20. Would love to be able to use “My Social Security” however, your system will not allow me to connect. Appears that is the result of Identity Theft a number of years ago — at least that’s what I’ve been told by SS Customer Service.

    • Hello Bruce. If you are having difficulties with your personal my Social Security account, please call 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. After you hear “Briefly tell me why you are calling,” say “Help Desk” for help with a my Social Security account. Sometimes, it might be best to visit your local Social Security office for further assistance.

  21. My social security benefits were delayed for about 7 months 2 years ago because they were intercepted from the mail and stored in a draw at the US embassy in Jakarta. In those seven months social security took no action on the problem but a congressman’s aid investigated the problem and corrected the situation.

    Last year my social security checks could not be cashed for 6 months and social security would not help.

    Now banks in Indonesia stopped cashing all checks, 2 months have passed without benefits for my son and I. Maybe in one more month social security can have the direct deposit set up. We pray that it will not take longer than 3 months.

    Social security is a great place to work because social security has not emergencies or problems. Unfortunately the people receiving social security do not know if they will be able to eat next month or not.

  22. Till now all American citizens who reside abroad must send letter or calling the SS office for any changes in their whereabouts. Therefore, I do suggest to allow American citizens who reside abroad to have SS accounts to report their whereabouts instead of calling your office or sending mail with any changes in their lives.

  23. When i was first approved for benefits i was asked for the information on my debit card so i could get direct deposit. Or my payments would go on a Direct Express debit card from SS. I had my own card and provided my card info on my social security. A week later i get a Direct Express card in the mail and was told to activate the card for my payments. I had called SSA and waited 1hr49mins to talk to someone as to why my card wasnt used. The rep who answered my call said i had to go to my social security to update my info. She couldnt help me. Thats what the web site is there for. Ive been to my social security numerous times. Each time i try to sign in a page appears that the site is closed for maintence or im unable to access it to come back mon-fri 5:00am to 1:00am. And its 6:00pm. The only way to correct my card info and i cant even do that. The site is very frustrating to say the least.

  24. This was very interesting as it was extremely timely. I have been trying for weeks to retrieve my username and/or password for my online account, and it has been absolutely impossible. I’ve tried:
    The ‘forgot username’ link
    The ‘forgot password’ link
    The ‘Contact us’ page
    Even your Facebook page.

    Absolutely nothing works.
    I live overseas so I CANNOT PHONE YOU.

    I’m totally fed up – your online services stink.

  25. I went to the Open an Account page but was stopped by the requirement for a US mailing address, which I do not have. US expats need on-line services like this even more than US residents since we can’t just go to a nearby SSA office and do it. The main thing I would like to see is an on-line SSA-7162 form, given that the (so-called) postal (so-called) service here in Thailand is very unreliable. They’d just as soon steal it as deliver it!

  26. Can Social Security reinstate the Representative Payee g Online Annual Visit Reporting. I can do the accounting report online, but I just spent almost 5 hours at the local office waiting to tell the SSA employee that nothing has changed for my Ward. No felonies, no hospitalizations, no living arrangement changes, etc. For a couple of years we had the opportunity to do a Telephone Interview, but SSA discontinued that. My time is valuable too. I had to take the day off from work (money out of my meager pocket) to wait 4 hrs because 4 or 5 people didn’t show up for their job at SSA! Then another 45 minutes stating that nothing had changed!
    Very frustrating and wasteful of time resources.

  27. My husband has been trying to get a claim on HIS money accepted for 7 years now, after an injury to his back has left his unable to work. Over the course of these years his condition has worsened dramatically & he continues to consult doctors, undergo tests & take medicine for the pain. All the while your judges have informed him that he is LYING & that there is work he can do. They won’t say what (because there ISNT ANY). All of this has made for many sleepless nights for both of us. To say that I am extremely dissatisfied with your service would be the understatement of the MILLENNIUM!!!!!

  28. I tried to log on to my information, and was locked-out so many times, I lost count. I kept trying to use the new password, but even that would not allow me access. I refuse to call you, as I know how many hours I will have to wait for a representative to answer. I think I will switch back to getting my information in the mail.
    When I read the other blog comments, I noticed that I was not the only one with this problem. PLEASE FIX YOUR LOG-IN SITE SO IT WORKS.

  29. It would be very helpful for the public as well as a time saver for employees, if the online disability application offered the ability to include medical records and additional documents when submitting the initial application. This feature is available when filing an appeal and would make the application process more efficient.

  30. After I applied for benefits, the site told me to expect a determination in a month and gave me a confirmation number to login and be able to track the progress. However, the site does NOT give a clear path to even be able to find how to login with this confirmation number. As I recall it took me an hour of hit and miss tries and having to open 4-5 subsequent windows to find out my determination. And forget it taking a month, it took the full 3 months before my birthday to find out if, when and how much social security. Just state things accurately on your website and make things easier to find if you want to cut down on frustrated people calling in and being upset that the website is hard to use and misleading.

  31. Please tell me why our local social security office in Wise, VA doesn’t have a chair or any handicapped rails, etc for guests while they are at the ‘window’ where you are first called to. Do any? Some conversations with soc sec employees are lengthy, lobby chairs are fastened to the floor, most guests are disabled and sometimes it’s almost impossible to stand for long or even short periods of time. The healthy employees are seated while the disabled people are forced to stand throughout the initial interview. Does something sound a little discriminatory?

    • We apologize for the inconveniences Ms. Kennedy. We have referred your complaint to our Operations staff to follow up and to take corrective action as necessary. We appreciate your feedback, and thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  32. Why is SSA forcing users of My Social Security to have a cell phone with text capability? They are expensive and many people cannot afford them. Can you spell O-B-S-T-A-C-L-E? I understand SSA wants better security, but to reach for it by denying people access is exclusionary and wrong. Please rethink this. It will confuse and hurt many people.

  33. Just tried to log in to my social security from australia, first time in 6 months or so. Had to reset password as it was no longer recognised, and now they want a mobile phone number for sms verification. I tried to enter my local mobile number as it is the only mobile I own, but it was not recognised. I am now effectively locked out of the online services, can’t get a statement unless I mail in a form. How is that any more secure?

  34. What’s the use having an online service if I can’t access it anytime I want? I’m based in Singapore at the moment, and I need to apply for a replacement Social Security Card. I’m 12 hours ahead of Eastern Time so I can’t call the office until 7pm tonight. I thought at least I can set up an online account so I can access the system anytime…but no! Why are there time parameters set to use an online system!!??!!

    • We apologize for the inconvenience Andrew and appreciate you trying to use our online services. At this time you must have a U. S. mailing address to create or to access your online account. The “my Social Security” authentication system requires address verification as one of the essential criteria for issuing an account. People with APO/FPO/DPO addresses can create an account overseas, but our system does not support registration and account creation for users with a foreign address yet. Please contact your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance.

  35. Hi,
    I’ m collecting spousal benefits only (Restricted application) on my Husband’s record. Can I use the online application to apply for my Benefits on my record?
    Thank you for answering my question.

    • Thank you for your question Lynn. Individuals who are at least 62 years of age and wish to apply for retirement or spouse’s benefits, can use our online retirement application to apply for one or both benefits. In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you are done. We will process your application and contact you if any further information is needed.

  36. Thanks a lot for those who have done so much work for the people,since we have a room to put forward some problems that we don’t understand. I am so appreciated to those who have given me much help.I hope I have a chance to the office to see you to express my feelings in person. Thanks again.


  37. I have been trying to apply online for retirement benefits for the last month. Each time I log in, I get to answer one question (at most) and when I click the next button, it tells me it timed out due to inactivity. I re-login and the same thing happens over and over. I have tried at different times of day and days of the week. This is so frustrating for something that should be so simple. I think I will have to apply in person if I want the application to go through before I actually retire. Will this foul me up with an in person application?

    • Hi Twyla, we are sorry to hear you are having trouble applying online. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Representatives can assist you with your application online. They can also help you schedule an appointment with your local Social Security office. An appointment is not required, but if you call ahead and schedule one, it may reduce the time you spend waiting, and it establishes a protective filing date that protects your future benefits. Generally, it’s best if you call later in the day or later in the week. Thanks!

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