Social Security Administration Changes Policy to Better Accommodate Seniors after Merkley’s Urging

Portland, OR – After Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley wrote a letter to Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin last week to address his concerns over a new system that would block online access to benefits for seniors without a text-enabled cell phone, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced today that they would be changing the policy and will 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.