Social Safety Entitlement? Take this quiz to see how a lot

The age at which you start applying for Social Security will help determine what your monthly pension checks will be for life.

If you wait until your full retirement age – usually 66 or 67 – to apply, you will receive 100% of your income based on your contributions to the program. And if you wait until 70 you get a bigger check for the wait.

But there is no benefit to staying past 70 because your benefits will not get any bigger.

Yet only 54% of participants in a recent MassMutual quiz were able to correctly answer a right / wrong question about whether their monthly checks increase if they qualify for retirement benefits over the age of 70.

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Not knowing the correct answer can cost you.

If you wait after 70, you can only go back six months to make up for lost monthly checks, said David Freitag, financial planning advisor and social security expert at MassMutual.

This answer was part of a 12-question true or false quiz given to 1,500 people between the ages of 55 and 65 who had not yet used their services.

Other facts about the program also stumbled some respondents.

The results showed that 22% of retirees did not know that in the event of the death of a spouse, they would not be able to receive both your own and your spouse’s benefits. (Typically, you’ll get either yours or your spouse’s, whichever is greater.)

At the same time, 30% of the respondents did not know that they might be able to claim benefits from their former spouse’s work file. (Among other things, you must have been married for at least 10 years.)

Each of these benefits have different rules, Friday said, which means it’s important to understand them before claiming them.

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

The results weren’t all bad.

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

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

Test your knowledge

Klaus Vedfelt | Getty Images

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

  1. If I receive benefits before my full retirement age, they will be reduced if I apply early.
  2. If I receive benefits before I reach full retirement age and continue to work, my benefits may be reduced based on my income.
  3. Once I start drawing social security, my benefit payments 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 income history.
  5. If I have a spouse and he dies, I will receive both my full benefit and the benefit of my deceased spouse.
  6. The money that comes from my paycheck for social security goes into a special account for me and remains there with interest until I start drawing social security benefits.
  7. Under current social security law, the full retirement age is 65, 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 income history.
  9. Under current law, social security benefits could be cut for everyone in 2035.
  10. If I am claiming a pension and have dependent children aged 18 or under, they may also be eligible for Social Security benefits.
  11. If I delay receiving social security benefits beyond the age of 70, I will receive a delayed retirement credit increase every year that 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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