Mixed-methods Study to Understand Use of My Social Security

Published: 2021
Project ID: UM21-08


My Social Security (mySSA) is a key online resource offered by the Social Security Administration, providing users with a single access point to all SSA electronic services. While ostensibly an accessible and useful tool that can save users a significant amount of time, the number of people with a mySSA account remains low. According to data from a biannual, representative survey of Americans’ Social Security literacy, only 30.8% have heard of mySSA and only 60% among them have set up an account. This research proposes to conduct a mixed-methods study to examine the perceived and actual barriers to use of mySSA, users’ experiences with mySSA, and possible avenues to increase mySSA penetration in the population. In the study’s first phase, we propose to leverage existing data from surveys administered through the Understanding America Study to examine the characteristics of mySSA users. In the study’s second phase, we propose to gather qualitative experiential data to understand users’ actual and potential interactions with the mySSA tool.