I tried both ways alter login and then ssms. Both ways gave me the error.
This is what I did to get around the issue.
I logged in to SSMS using the sql account. When prompted to change the password I did. The sql account had sysadmin role. I opened up the sql account login and unchecked the 2 options for password expiration and the other option and it worked without error.
with all that said, I am wondering if it has something to do with the security of the user who logged that defined the sql account. That login should have been able to make that change.