Q: I was unable to create a my Social Security account because I have a security freeze on my credit report. Why should this matter?
A: As a protection for you, part of the process when you create your my Social Security account includes contact by Social Security with the credit report firm Experian to help verify your identity. As a result, you cannot create a my Social Security account online if you have a security freeze, fraud alert, or both on your Experian credit report. You first must ask Experian to remove the freeze or alert.
From its own internal records, Social Security can verify some of the information requested from you to establish your personal my Social Security account. For example, your birthdate and parent’s names are part of your Social Security number record.
Using an additional, external from Social Security, means to further prove your identity when creating the my Social Security record provides another layer of security. Experian provides questions from its records that also serve to verify your identity. These questions would not be about information routinely available, for example from a lost wallet or purse. Your Social Security number is not shared with Experian and information from that firm is not kept by Social Security.
Using Experian credit report information to help verify your identity may result in what is known as a “soft inquiry” on your Experian credit report. That report will show an inquiry by the Social Security Administration with the date of the request. Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score, are not reported to lenders and you do not incur any charges related to them. It will not appear on your credit report from Equifax or TransUnion, and generally will be removed from your Experian credit report after 25 months.
Multiple layers of security protection are available for your use when creating your my Social Security account. Learn about them at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/.
Once established, your my Social Security account is useful whether or not you receive benefits yet. If receiving benefits or having Medicare now, you can:
Get your benefit verification letter
Check your benefit and payment information and your earnings record
Change your address and phone number and
Start or change direct deposit of your payment
If not receiving benefits yet, you can get your Social Security Statement with estimates of retirement, disability, and survivors benefits to help financial planning. You will also see your earnings record and the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you have paid.