Social Security is expanding the information available through its personal online account system, according to Social Security commissioner Michael J. Astrue,.

Beneficiaries can now receive instant benefit verification letters, payment history and earnings records through their online accounts rather than wait for verification through the mail. Information is also available to Supplemental Security Income recipients.

The expanded services are part of the Social Security Administration’s efforts to make more services available through the Internet, according to Astrue. Beneficiaries now also can change their address and start or change direct deposit information online.

“Given our significantly reduced funding, we have to find innovative ways to continue to meet the needs of the American people without compromising service,” Astrue says.

An online account can be set up by anyone 18 years of age or older by going to The site provides personal earnings and future benefits amounts. The instant benefits verification letters now available serve as proof of income for loan applications and applications for other state and local benefits.