Would You Flunk a Social Security Quiz?

About 70 percent of people who took a 10-question quiz about Social Security basics flunked. How would you measure up?

Would You Flunk a Social Security Quiz? Photo (cc) by StockMonkeys.com

Under current Social Security law, full retirement age is 65: True or false?

That question stumped 71 percent of more than 1,500 American adults who took a 10-question true-or-false quiz about Social Security basics created by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Just 28 percent of survey respondents earned a passing score on the quiz, and only one person earned a perfect score, CNN Money reports.

Phil Michalowski, vice president of MassMutual’s U.S. Insurance Group, states in a press release:

“Americans who lack the proper knowledge and information about Social Security may be putting their retirement planning in jeopardy. In fact, many may be leaving Social Security retirement benefits they’re entitled to on the table, or incorrectly assuming what benefits may be available in retirement.”

For example, the age at which someone can start claiming Social Security retirement benefits and receive their full payout actually ranges from 65 to 67, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration.

The exact age depends on a person’s month and year of birth. (The SSA offers a chart that breaks down the range of ages.)

Other true/false questions that stumped many respondents include:

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

Around 75 percent of people incorrectly thought this statement was true. MassMutual explains:

Resident aliens who pay into the Social Security system may qualify to receive retirement benefits, assuming they earn enough credits and meet additional criteria. To become part of the Social Security system, non-U.S. citizens must have lawful alien status, permission by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work in the U.S. and a Social Security number.

I can continue working while collecting my full Social Security retirement benefits — regardless of my age

Fifty-five percent of people incorrectly thought this statement was true.

It’s true that a person can work and receive Social Security benefits, and doing so could increase their benefits in the future, according to the SSA.

However, people who have yet to reach their full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit might receive reduced benefits amounts.

To learn more about the topic, check out “16 Ways to Get Bigger Checks from Social Security.”

How well do you understand Social Security and its impact on your retirement? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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