Only 3% of retirees can take this social security benefits quiz

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Many people who are about to retire fail to take a quiz about rules for claiming social security.

MassMutual recently gave a 12-question quiz to 1,500 people between the ages of 55 and 65 who have not yet used their services.

Only 3% of the respondents were able to answer all questions correctly.

In the meantime, 35% of those surveyed failed the quiz overall, and 18% received a grade D.

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The results have been “slightly better” since MassMutual first ran the test in 2015, according to David Freitag, financial planning advisor and social security expert at the company.

Most respondents – 94% – could rightly say that their retirement pension will be reduced if they claim it before full retirement age (usually 66 or 67, depending on your year of birth).

A majority – 86% – were also able to accurately confirm that their social security benefits can be cut if they collect their monthly checks and continue working before full retirement age.

But other questions tended to surprise respondents.

Respondents were less inclined to gauge the rules for spouse benefits after divorce and survivor benefits after the death of a spouse.

The results showed that 22% of retirees did not know that having a deceased spouse would not allow you to receive both your own and your spouse’s benefits. (You will usually get either yours or your spouse’s, whichever is greater).

In the meantime, 30% of those surveyed did not know that they might be able to use benefits from their ex-spouse’s work file. (Among other things, you must have been married for at least 10 years.)

Each of these benefits has different rules, Friday said, which means it’s important to understand them before making any claims.

“Although survivor benefits sound like spouse benefits, they are completely different,” he said.

While the Social Security Administration has the resources to help with enforcement decisions, an even better way could be to consult with a financial advisor who can assist you in making the decision, said Friday.

The quiz also found that only 54% of respondents were able to correctly determine whether their benefits will continue to increase if they delay taking retirement benefits beyond the age of 70. The answer is no.

If you’ve passed 70, you can only go back six months to make up for lost monthly checks, Friday said.

“You will never see the benefits you missed,” he said.

Test your knowledge

Curious how well you would do on the quiz? Decide whether each of the following statements is true or false and check your answers against the answer key below.

  1. If I receive benefits before my full retirement age, they will be reduced for early filing.
  2. If I receive benefits before my full retirement age and keep working, my benefits may decrease based on my earnings.
  3. Once I start collecting Social Security, my benefit payments will never change.
  4. If I have a spouse, he or she can receive benefits from my record even if he or she does not have an individual earnings history.
  5. If I have a spouse and he dies, I will receive both my full benefit and the full benefit of my deceased spouse.
  6. The money that comes from my Social Security paycheck goes to a designated account for me and stays there to earn interest until I start receiving Social Security benefits.
  7. According to the current social security law, the full retirement age is 65 years, regardless of when you were born.
  8. As a divorced person, I may be able to receive social security benefits based on my ex-spouse’s earnings history.
  9. Under current law, social security benefits could be cut for everyone in 2035.
  10. If I am applying for a retirement pension and have dependent children aged 18 or under, they may also be eligible for Social Security benefits.
  11. If I delay claiming social security benefits beyond the age of 70, I will receive a delayed increase in retirement savings every year if I wait.
  12. I must be a US citizen to receive Social Security benefits.


  1. True
  2. True
  3. Not correct
  4. True
  5. Not correct
  6. Not correct
  7. Not correct
  8. True
  9. True
  10. True
  11. Not correct
  12. Not correct

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