Social Security changes policy to better accommodate seniors

Social Security changes policy to better accommodate seniors

WASHINGTON -

Last week, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., wrote a letter to Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin to address his concerns over a new system that would block online access to benefits for seniors without a text-enabled cellphone. The Social Security Administration announced Monday they will change the policy and develop an alternative system for seniors without a text-enabled phone.

“Seniors need improved access to their benefits, not technology-based roadblocks,” said Merkley. “That’s why I’m pleased that the SSA responded to my call for change in their policy regarding accessing benefits.

"Only 35% of those over 65 use text messaging and it was unacceptable that the government was leaving out a huge portion of seniors without access to text-enabled phones. I applaud the SSA for heeding my call to develop an alternative system.”

The SSA recently implemented this new mandatory my Social Security multi-factor authentication feature in order to comply with President Obama’s Executive Order, “Improving the Security of Consumer Financial Transactions.”

In addition to developing an alternative authentication option that they will implement within the next six months, the SSA announced that they are rolling back the changes announced on July 30th that required a text-enabled phone and will go back to the old system that requires just a username and password.