Social Security Planning

How Well Can You Do on the Social Security Knowledge Quiz?

social security

The Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company has released its annual Social Security retirement benefits quiz results where 1,500 Americans nearing retirement age (55-65) but have not started receiving Social Security benefits answer true or false questions about the program. 35% of respondents failed, another 34% got a D on the quiz, and only 31% could get a C or better. The quiz is based on 13 true or false questions ranging from retirement age to taxation of benefits. How would you do on this true/false quiz?

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Bob c
8 days ago

Only missed one.

12 days ago

No. 7 should have been true because when it was started it was that way….was put into a special account and not to be touched until people that paid into it started collecting on it. But since the gov’t felt free to take our money for other purposes …..that is why there isn’t that much in there anymore. I paid into it for almost 50 yrs and I am entitled to it. People that have never paid into it should not get any of it….nor should the gov’t be able to take what they want out of it. And if they can’t get their freaking budget together by June 1…it should be politicians that don’t get paid, not gov’t employees, military and social security recipients. And if politicians would get paid for the ‘actual time worked’ instead of a salary, the country wouldn’t be broke. And Pelosi’s bar bill is more than my social security check each month.

9 days ago
Reply to  Granny26

That was NEVER true. In fact, the system was set up under the assumption MOST people that paid in would NEVER collect from the program. The retirement age was beyond the average life expectancy. Social Security was advertised as protection for those that UNEXPECTEDLY outlived their personal savings.
You paid taxes for 50 years that were ALWAYS used to pay others FAR MORE than they paid.

9 days ago
Reply to  Granny26

SS Retirement *Insurance* has never been a private account just for you. It has *always* been a Ponzi scheme. The first people to collect had only contributed for 1 paycheck and then retired and collected for the rest of their lives! The only reason people don’t realize it’s always been a Ponzi scheme is because those who lose out are dead and aren’t around to complain about how much money they lost.

The program was designed as *insurance* against outliving your working years — that’s it. Lucky people live long enough to collect more than they paid in (including interest), unlucky people die before collecting much or even any of it. The unlucky people pay for the lucky people’s retirement. That’s how the plan was originally designed. They were counting on most people dying before collecting what they paid in to counter balance the relatively few who lived long enough to collect more than they paid in. As it turns out, that was a bad assumption as life spans have increased. First they compensated by collecting more and finally they started shifting the retirement age to shift the balance between lucky and unlucky people back towards something more sustainable.

If it were a private account (as described in the question) then your heirs would be due any remaining money when you die (which could be quite a lot if you die before retiring) — that doesn’t happen. The money belongs to the program, every penny of it, they’re just obligated to pay you certain amounts by law once you apply and have met the required criteria. It is not and has never been your money.

9 days ago
Reply to  Chris

RE: the retirement insurance aspect of SSI. That’s one of the things that makes SS so perverse. With most insurance, the lucky people pay for the unlucky people, SSRI makes the unlucky pay for the lucky. People whose house didn’t burn down pay for the few who lost their homes to fire, etc. Same goes with car insurance and (term) life insurance. It used to be that way with health insurance but things changed when it got away from catastrophic insurance, but even still, it’s primarily the healthy who pay for the few with serious health issues.

SS was designed poorly from the beginning, it doesn’t even deserve the “Social” tag because it’s anti-social. Regular insurance socializes unexpected major losses such as homes burning or cars crashing or people dying young (with dependents), the many share in and lighten the burden for the unfortunate few. SSRI does the exact opposite, it makes the many bear the cost of the few fortunate enough to live long lives — that’s about as anti-social as you can get.

I’d love to see SS go away for those and other reasons, but now that we have entire generations dependent upon it, I don’t see that happening.

6 days ago
Reply to  Chris

When they were setting up the system, they asked a lot of insurance agents to weigh in on the plans. A friend’s grandfather was on that committee. The insurance people said it was just a Ponzi scheme that was bound to fail and to not do it. FDR did it anyway.

12 days ago

The 3 questions I missed, one concerning same-sex spouse benefit, which is probably under “review somewhere. Another one concerning taxes on Social Security benefits, the amount taxes are based on total income received for that year and where that income comes from, and how it is taxed so one could possibly be taxed on 85% of your benefit. The last one I missed, was concerning non-citizens collecting benefits, I was thrown off by the missing legally allowed employment here in the USA under the allowed work visa program without becoming a citizen allows those individuals to collect a benefit on those specific earnings that had FICA taxes taken out of if they achieved the required minimum of 10 years or 40 credits at the minimum income of $6560/year.

7 days ago
Reply to  MariaRose

I missed two of the same ones you missed and for the same reasons. I should have been more explicit. I did not miss the same-sex question…

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