How to set up a My Social Security account
If you prefer a video tutorial, check out ours here: My Social Security Account Setup Up Video
Why do I need a My Social Security account?
There are a few reasons why you are going to want a special account called My Social Security, and the first is obvious - Managing your Social Security benefits. You will need a My Social Security account to apply for Social Security benefits when the time comes (usually between the ages of 62-70). With your My Social Security account, you can request a Social Security card replacement and see benefit projections based on when you decide to take Social Security, but that's not why we're writing this article.
You see, we help thousands of people enroll in Medicare, and the first step in being ready and able to sign up for Medicare is, you guessed it, having a My Social Security account. You will not be able to enroll in Medicare without one. So, this article outlines step number one on your path to Medicare.
Unfortunately, getting set up for one of these accounts can be somewhat complex, so what follows is a step-by-step guide that will outline how to set up your My Social Security account with simple instructions and pictures.
Getting to the right website
To start, you'll need to go to the Social Security Administration's website: ssa.gov
Go ahead and open that in a separate window so you can refer back to this guide while also completing each step.
Once you are on ssa.gov, in the upper right hand corner of the page you'll find the Sign In/Up button.
Click Sign In/Up.
The next screen you see will have 3 main boxes. The left-most box is the My Social Security box, and this is where you'll want to click.
Now, we're working under the assumption that you do not already have a My Social Security account, so go ahead and click on Create New Account.
Once you make it here, the website will highlight some information you'll want to have close at hand as well as the Terms of Service for using the website. You'll need to check a box stating you agree to the Terms of Service and click Next.
You're ready to start the registration
Here is the information you'll want to have readily available as you move through this process:
- Your cell phone number
- Your email address
- Your Social Security Number
- Your U.S. mailing address
- Your driver's license or state ID
- Certain financial information
You'll be asked to verify some form of financial information. You will choose to verify yourself using one of the following:
- The last 8 digits of a credit card number
- Your Social Security benefits amount (if you are currently receiving Social Security benefits)
- Information from a past W-2 tax form
- Information from a 1040 Schedule SE tax form
Who you are
You're going to be asked some basic information about yourself. Nothing too crazy here, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind:Your Name
You will be asked for your first name, middle initial, last name, and suffix. Enter exactly what is on your Social Security card.
Enter your current home address. They will not accept a business address.
Also, there is a question that asks if your current home address matches the address on your driver's license or state-ID. As an example, I moved since I last renewed my driver's license so, in my case, the addresses are different. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you just need to mark that the addresses are different.
Later in this process, you will be sent a text message with a verification code and/or an activation code. Enter your cell phone number and be sure to have your phone available.
Similar to the cell phone, your email address can also be used to send a verification code so enter a valid email address and have that email inbox available to you throughout this process.
The next two parts of this registration process involve verifying your identity and verifying your financial information. We'll go over each individually.
To verify your identity, you can take photos of your driver's license or State-issued ID, or you can enter that information manually.
This option is a lot like depositing a check online with your bank, only this is sending a photo of your driver's license or state-ID. If you go this route, you will receive a text message to your phone number you gave previously with a link. This link will open a portal on your phone where you take a picture of the front and back of your ID. In my case, I did my driver's license but a state-issued ID card works as well.
Once you have taken those pictures, you would move back to your computer and go on to the financial verification step.
If you decide not to go the picture route, you can manually enter your driver's license number and the state in which it was issued (or your State-issued ID card). Once you have done this, you will be prompted to move to the financial verification step.
This step will ask you for certain pieces of financial information to verify who you are. You may choose which option you'd like to verify:
- Credit Card (last 8 digits) Visa, Mastercard, or Discover
- Social Security benefits amount (if you are currently receiving Social Security benefits)
- W-2 tax form - Specifically Box 5 (Medicare wages & tips) and Box b (employer EIN)
- 1040 Schedule SE tax form
At this point, you will choose how you'd like to receive an activation code.
Your can choose either:
- A text message to the phone number you provided earlier
- An email to the email address you provided earlier
- A physical letter through the mail - Please note that this will take days to arrive
Enter the Activation Code you receive and click the Submit Activation Code button as shown below.
*Note that the activation code will expire after 10 minutes from the time of your request if you chose a text message or email, so have your phone or email accessible for this step.
Create your account details
Now, you are ready to start setting up your account details. This involves creating a username, a password, and three security questions should you forget your password.
Your username and password have certain requirements which are displayed for you to see and use. You will get a red indicator if your username or password are invalid. You will get a green indicator if your username and password are valid.
The security questions are common to those you'd see at a bank or other financial institution.
Examples of common question/answer sets are:
- What is your mother or father's middle name?
- What street did you grow up on?
- What is your favorite pet's name
We won't go through all the combinations, but you get the idea. Pick the questions for which only you should know the answers.
Once you've filled out your username, password, and the three security questions, click Next.
And... voila! You're done. Congratulations!
Your My Social Security account is now set up. You will need to check another box acknowledging Terms of Service and, after that, you will be taken into your My Social Security portal where you can view all details related to your Social Security account.
Each time you log into your My Social Security account you will have a 2-step verification process.
Here's what that means:
The first step is your username and password.
The second step is a text message to your phone or an email with a security code.
Just keep this in mind each time you go to log into your account.
What comes next?
Now that you have a My Social Security account, you are ready to start the Medicare Enrollment Process.
We will be putting together a similar article on How to Get Enrolled in Medicare here shortly.