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How well do you know your Social Security benefits?

Test your knowledge with these 12 questions.

This quiz is particularly relevant if you’re nearing retirement because these questions are based on your Social Security benefit. Let’s see how you do and remember to keep track of the questions you answer correctly.

1. If you take your Social Security benefit before Full Retirement Age, your benefit will be reduced.

True. Collecting Social Security before reaching Full Retirement Age locks you into a lower monthly benefit than if you waited until FRA, or older.

2. If you’re still working when you claim Social Security, your benefit could be reduced based on your earnings and age.

True. You can work and receive Social Security benefits; however, if you have not reached FRA, your earnings will be subject to the retirement earnings test.

3. Once you start collecting Social Security, your benefits will never change.

False. The Social Security Act of 1973 included a provision for cost-of-living adjustments to help your benefits keep pace with inflation.

4. Your spouse is eligible to receive Social Security benefits even if they have no actual earnings history.

True. Your spouse may be eligible to collect a Social Security spousal benefit.

5. If your spouse dies, you’ll continue to receive your full Social Security benefit and your deceased spouse’s benefit.

False. Social Security benefits are only paid while you’re alive.

6. The money that comes out of your paycheck for Social Security goes into a specific account for you.

False. The money goes into a trust fund along with the money from other people.

7. Based on current Social Security law, FRA is 65, no matter when you were born.

False. Your FRA is based on the year in which you were born.

8. As a divorcée, you might be able to collect Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings history.

True. Your ex-spouse may qualify to receive benefits on your record if you’ve been divorced for at least two continuous years.

9. Under current law, Social Security benefits could be reduced for everyone in 2034.

True. According to the 2020 annual report of the Social Security Board of Trustees, the surplus in the trust fund will be depleted by 2034.

10. If you file for retirement benefits and have minor dependent children, they could also qualify for Social Security benefits.

True. Your children may also qualify to receive benefits based on your record when you file for Social Security benefits. Eligible children can include your biological, adopted, stepchildren and dependent grandchildren.

11. If you delay taking Social Security benefits until after age 70, you will continue to get delayed retirement credit increases every year that you wait.

False. Your benefits max out at age 70.

12. You must be a U.S. citizen to collect Social Security retirement benefits.

False. Resident aliens who pay into the system may qualify for benefits.

How did you do? Don’t feel too bad if you missed some of these questions. MassMutual recently gave this quiz to people from the ages of 55 to 65. About 35% failed the quiz. Only 3% were able to answer all 12 questions correctly.

Want to improve your financial literacy? Connect with one of our advisors or give us a call. And pass this quiz along to your friends, family or co-workers. See how they do compared to you.

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