69% of people either failed or barely passed this Social Security test

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Most Americans nearing retirement expect Social Security to be their biggest source of income.

However, many of these people, ages 55 to 65, aren’t familiar with the basics of the program, according to new research from MassMutual.

About 43% of the 1,500 people surveyed don’t know how much of their income will come from Social Security benefits.

For a group so close to their retirement years, David Freitag, a financial planning consultant and social security expert at MassMutual, said the results of that answer were “incredible.”

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In addition, the company administered a 13-question true/false test to the respondents. The result: 69% either passed or failed. More than a third – 35% – of respondents fail. Meanwhile, more than a third — 34% — just passed with a D grade.

Most respondents, 84%, know their benefits will be reduced if they claim benefits early.

But almost half of the respondents still do not know how long it takes to wait for a claim.

“There is no concrete reason why anyone should wait after the age of 70,” said Freitag.

To see how well you did on the test, determine if the statements below are true or false, and compare your answers to the key below.

true or false:

  1. In most cases, if you receive benefits before your full retirement age, they will be reduced for filing early.
  2. If I receive benefits before my full retirement age and continue to work, my benefits may be reduced based on how much I earn.
  3. If I have a spouse, he can receive benefits from my record even if he doesn’t have an individual earnings record.
  4. In general, if you are married to the same sex, there are different eligibility requirements when it comes to Social Security retirement benefits.
  5. If I have a spouse and he or she passes away, I will receive both my full benefit and the deceased spouse’s full benefit.
  6. The money that comes from my Social Security paycheck goes into an account assigned to me and stays there, earning interest, until I start receiving Social Security benefits.
  7. If you apply for retirement benefits and have dependent children who are 18 or younger, they may also qualify for Social Security benefits.
  8. If divorced, I may be able to collect Social Security benefits based on my ex-spouse’s Social Security earnings history.
  9. Under current law, Social Security benefits could be cut by 20% or more for everyone by 2035.
  10. Under current Social Security law, your full retirement age is 65, regardless of your date of birth.
  11. If I delay getting Social Security benefits past age 70, I will continue to receive deferred retirement credit increases each year that I wait.
  12. Social Security retirement benefits are subject to income tax just like withdrawals from a traditional IRA.
  13. I must be a US citizen to collect Social Security retirement benefits.

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the answers:

  1. correct (84% answered correctly)
  2. correct (77%)
  3. correct (72%)
  4. wrong (69%)
  5. False (65%)
  6. False (60%)
  7. correct (56%)
  8. correct (56%)
  9. correct (55%)
  10. wrong (53%)
  11. wrong (49%)
  12. wrong (38%)
  13. wrong (29%)

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