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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Social Security forces paperless service shortly after reversing decision requiring text-message cell phone for online access

I wrote the following letter to the editor as a follow up to my previous letter Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Federal government violates ADA," Albany/Corvallis Mid-Valley Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016, p. A8. (See previous post Social Security requires text-enabled cell phone for online access blaming President's order to use multifactor authentication (8/7/16))

The good news came from U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, who let me know that Social Security will no longer require a text-message cell phone for online access, in response to my Aug. 7 Mid-Valley Sunday letter, "Federal government violates ADA."

A few days after I thanked DeFazio's staff, the bad news arrived from Social Security in a very unprofessional, unsigned and no-reply-accepted email, saying that the annual change notice would not be mailed to me because it was online and would "save taxpayers' money."

As a taxpayer, who also paid into Social Security for decades, I found this penny-pinching letter disturbing and contrary to Social Security's original goal of better security.

Like many older people, I want all of my important financial documents sent to me via my locked U.S. Mail box, and if alerted to any unauthorized transactions, I will then use computer accessibility software to read them online.

As I become more crippled and blind, I must depend on others to check my U.S. Mail box for any unauthorized transactions, and I would never let anybody check online for me because it would require sharing my computer passwords, which would open an obvious security hole.

For security reasons, my bank provides "paperless services" only to people who actively opt-in, instead of forcing it on everybody like Social Security is doing.

Notices can be mass-printed and mailed for much cheaper, and with less impact to the environment, than a typical home printer that costs a dime per page.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Good news, Bad news," Albany Democrat-Herald Corvallis Gazette-Times, Sun. Sep. 4, 2016, p. A8)

Upon further investigation, I believe there is a way to reverse being forced to go paperless, but the instructions are unclear because they don't say what documents will be paperless and if I will still be able to read them online, therefore I am not going to ask for anything to be changed or corrected for at least a few more months until I can observe what actually happens.