Knowing all you can about Social Security can really give you a leg up in retirement, and this Social Security quiz may be just the ticket for anyone who feels a little rusty.

MassMutual recently fielded a 12 question Social Security quiz to 1,500 people in the U.S. that were getting ready for retirement. Apparently quite a few of those people need a Social Security study session because only 48% of respondents managed a “C” grade or higher, while 19% barely passed with a “D” and 33% failed.

Many older Americans rely heavily on Social Security in retirement, so knowing what your options are in regards to the benefits program can help you get the most out of it. And David Freitag, a financial planning consultant at MassMutual, said that his firm is trying to communicate those choices through its Social Security quiz.

“We’re getting the message out that there are choices, and people have to really understand what the future would hold for them relative to Social Security planning,” Freitag said. “The bad news is that we still have a lot more to do.”

Take the Social Security Quiz

Try your hand at MassMutual’s Social Security quiz below. All 12 of the questions are true or false. To see the answers, scroll down to the end of the story.

  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.

The question that stumped people the most was the one about U.S. citizenship and Social Security. You do not have to have a U.S. citizen to qualify for benefits. Resident aliens may qualify if they pay into Social Security, and have lawful alien status, permission from U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services, work in the country and have a valid Social Security number.

The first question asking if your benefits are reduced if you file early had the most correct responses on the Social Security quiz. Yes, your benefits will take a hit if you file before your full retirement age.

This Social Security quiz is a great way to brush up on your knowledge of the benefits program. How did you do?

Answer Key:

  1. True 2. True 3. False 4. False 5. True 6. False 7. False 8. True 9. True 10. True 11. False 12. False

• You can find all of the latest and most important news about Social Security here on Money and Markets.