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Social Security changes its mind

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Friday, July 18, 2014
Posted: 11 am ET

Social Security is backpedaling on its decision to require most people to download their own Social Security verification letters, required for things like mortgage approvals and applications for government assistance.

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© FRED PROUSER/Reuters/Corbis

The agency had announced that beginning Aug. 1, those in need of these letters would have to sign up for a personal My Social Security account and have access to a computer and a printer, things that many people living in retirement don't have.

A recent report by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, critical of Social Security's decisions to close 64 field offices and 533 mobile offices, points out that in 2013, 5 million people visited Social Security offices to get verification letters to corroborate such things as their income or retirement status. While public access to computers is available in many community libraries, some libraries and Microsoft itself warn against entering sensitive information into a publicly available computer.

In reversing the decision to stop sending verification letters by postal mail, Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said in a statement: "We appreciate the feedback from members of Congress, our community stakeholders and agency partners. We want to ensure that we meet the needs of our customers in a way that is convenient for them and also cost-effective and secure for all."

Response from those most concerned about the issue was positive. "I'm glad the Social Security Administration has listened to our seniors' concerns," Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., chairman of the Senate aging committee, told the Associated Press. "As the agency pushes more people online to conduct their business, we need to make sure our most vulnerable citizens are not being left high and dry."

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L. Windtberg
December 15, 2014 at 4:08 pm

I agree with C Roge. We can't show an I.D. to vote but, S.S. wants the elderly to put all their personal information on a public computer. Are they to stand next to the computer in the library for two weeks till they get a reply? Another example of the pinheads that run our government. I have elderly relatives that would no sooner travel to the moon than be able to navigate a computer or even turn one on. What about all these elderly in retirement or nursing homes. I'm sure their all tech savvy!!!

C Roge
December 08, 2014 at 2:39 pm

And this is the government that is soon worried about having a valid ID to vote???

This is really over the top, I can see offering this as a service and phasing in over time as the current more tech savvy people reach SS age, but at this point just too many seniors do not have easy net access or do not have a good understanding of how to use it. In time it will naturally evolve but to just throw the switch now is heartless and foolish. We get little enough for our tax dollars a bit of service would go a long way!

November 19, 2014 at 8:35 am

@Mark re: FICA deductions for illegals not getting credited to them. Is there a problem?

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