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What is Your Social Security IQ?

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

March 24, 2014 — Chances are your Social Security benefit is one of the most important components of your retirement. But in our experience there is a fairly shocking lack of knowledge about this subject. To help you get the most out of your benefit we have prepared an 11 question quiz on Social Security. The quiz is pretty challenging. The good news is that even if you don’t ace it (and so far only a few have), you will have learned enough in the process that you will be much better informed about your benefits and your options. (Note: we designed this quiz, it does not represent anything official from the Social Security Administration, which is the ultimate arbiter of the rules concerning your benefits).

Here is the link to the Social Security quiz

Test prep: If you are the kind of person who wants to study up before you take a test, here are some helpful links:

What You Don’t Know About Social Security Could Hurt You

Take the Quiz!

Comments? Let us know what you think about this quiz. Should we do more, and on what subject(s) – was it too hard? Any of the questions unfair? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below. We will also report on the results in next week’s newsletter.

Note: The answers and commentary are hard to get back to once you go off that page – so if you want to go back to them, here is the answers/comments link (no cheating!). There are also some good comments on that page!

Posted by Admin on March 24th, 2014


  1. Great idea, if only it worked. After taking the quiz, i couldn’t get to the comments! There was one question in which i was particularly interested in knowing the answer.

    Editor’s note: Thanks for taking the quiz. After you finished taking it you should be taken to a page titled “Quiz Completed”, and it gives you your score along with a link to the results. To go to the results you need to copy and paste that link into your browser. In case you don’t get to that page, here is the link:
    (no cheating!)

    by ella — March 25, 2014

  2. Note to people who took the quiz on Tuesday, March 25. There was an error in Q 3 for which we apologize. The correct answer for the % of benefit received if you retire early was 75%, not 66%.

    by Admin — March 25, 2014

  3. The answer to Q.5 is a. and C. but isn’t C. a survivors benefit? – a slightly different critter than a spousal benefit?

    Editor’s note: Good observation. We are probably guilty of trying to shove too much info into 1 question. So we have changed that question to eliminate the survivors benefit, then created a new question only on that issue. Thanks for your input!

    by shawn — March 28, 2014

  4. Question 5 is still rather ambiguous. Wouldn’t a survivor receive 50% of the deceased spouse’s
    Benefit at the survivor’s age irregardless of the survivor’s age . Ie if she was 70 when claiming she would get 50% of the spouse’s benefit at 70.

    Editor’s note: Not sure that we follow your comments. Question 5 assumes you are getting a spousal benefit and your spouse is still living. As far as we can determine that maximum spousal benefit is based on 50% of your claiming spouse’s “full retirement benefit”. In other words, if the claiming spouse doesn’t claim until age 70 and gets a higher than full retirement benefit, your spousal benefit will still be based on the (lower) full retirement benefit.

    We have reprinted our commentary about Question 6 (having to do with survivors benefits) below, and here is a link to the SS page on survivor benefits.

    In the case of a surviving spouse, the deceased worker whose benefit you are collecting on does not have started collecting their benefit (but if they were not at full retirement age your benefit will be reduced). If you start collecting as a survivor you have to be at least 60 years old, but you will receive a reduction if you are not at full retirement age

    by Will — March 29, 2014

  5. Most questions-referring to “spousal benefits” are irrelevant for me, since I divorced and we have been married less than 10 years. Also I will be forced to take SS earlier than I intended, since I was “retired” from my job this year, so…I only needed the info referring to my OWN situation.

    by Mariana Marinescu — April 2, 2014

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