Can you pass the MassMutual quiz about Social Security?

MassMutual quizzed 1500 Americans and found that more than half did not pass. How did you do?

True or False?

  1. If I take benefits before my full retirement age, they will be reduced for early filing.
  2. If I am receiving benefits before my full retirement age and continue to work, my benefits might be reduced based on how much I make.
  3. Once I start collecting Social Security, my benefits will never change.
  4. If I have a spouse and he or she passes away, I will receive both my full benefit and my deceased spouse’s full benefit.
  5. If I have a spouse, he or she can receive benefits from my record even if he or she has no individual earnings history.
  6. The money that comes out of my paycheck for Social Security goes into a specific account for me and remains there, earning interest, until I begin to receive Social Security benefits.
  7. Under current Social Security law, full retirement age is 65 no matter when you were born.
  8. As a divorced person, I might be able to collect Social Security benefits based on my ex-spouse’s earnings history.
  9. Under current law, Social Security benefits could be reduced for everyone in 2035.
  10. If I file for retirement benefits and have dependent children age 18 or younger, they also may qualify for Social Security benefits.
  11. If I delay taking Social Security benefits past the age of 70, I will continue to get delayed retirement credit increases each year I wait.
  12. I must be a U.S. citizen to collect Social Security retirement benefits.

Answers on page two a very bottom.


  1. I missed question number 4. I am nine years off from collecting full retirement. I wouldn’t mind a detailed future posting on how this all works for a surviving spouse with examples. I have been basing my assumptions on our the Social Security statements which lacks a good explanation. But with a quick google search it appears that when we are both alive, since she is 6 months older than me, if she started collecting at her full retirement age, she would get 100% of her benefit. When I reach my full retirement age and start collecting, she would get 50% of my benefit plus I get 100% of my benefit. When I die, she gets 2/3 of the combine benefit which happens to be 100% of my benefit only. If she dies first the same thing happens and I get 2/3 of the combined benefits or 100% of my benefits.

    For us, our individually earned benefits, I earned about 3.3 times more benefits than her. So, with our combined benefit she will be getting more? How does this work for couples with more equal earnings? Separately they would get more than with a combined benefit? Do they cut one spouse down to 50%?

    Am I understanding this correctly?

    Question 9 might make every assumption wrong if Congress doesn’t act to properly full Social Security.


      1. So if they were equal, then one spouse would get a 50% cut while the benefits are combined?


      2. They way I read it is if your benefit is $1,000 and your spouses is $1,000 based on her earnings you both get $1,000 a month. Upon death the survivor still gets $1,000. If the spouse did not work or had an earned benefit of $400, she would get $500 while you’re alive and $1,000 upon your death.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I still have to read the all of the fine print on the website but it does bring up some interesting possibilities. When my wife reaches 62, we were going to investigate if she should start collecting if we need the money. Sort of a cost of living adjustment after living on my pension for 7 years vs withdrawing more from our IRAs. A lot can change in 3 years. The spousal calculator has her collecting an extra $343 more than the S.S. statement benefit of $654 for age 62. I am assuming that will be or a reduce amount will be paid to her when I collect at full retirement at 67. But the extra amount is more than $20k over the next 5 years for what is stated on the benefit statement. $343 per month will pay for another trip each year while we are able and if we are allow to travel.


      4. She has her own earned benefit, but since we are happy married for more than 10 years, almost 33 yrs, she gets to be a part of my benefit too.
        Now if she had stayed married to her first husband for more than 10 years (?), things would be even more complicated.
        Like I said, this topic could have its own posting for all the possibilities. The S.S. statements might but I don’t think it does, mention that there are so many other ways that the benefit is calculated than the few that are shown.


      5. You only have to be married to a current spouse for one year for a spousal benefit. A spouse doesn’t get both, they get the greater of their own earned benefit or 50% of yours if larger.


    1. One thing to remember, since they changed the law in 2015 – A spouse cannot draw a spousal benefit unless the husband is drawing his benefit.


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