1.) TRUE or FALSE? Social Security retirement benefits are based on my earnings history, so I’ll receive the same monthly benefit amount no matter when I start collecting.
Answer: False. If you collect Social Security retirement benefits before reaching full retirement age, you effectively lock in a lower monthly benefit amount. If you wait to begin collecting until after you reach full retirement age, you become eligible for delayed retirement credits. These credits increase your monthly benefit amount by 8 percent each year that you delay collecting, up to a maximum of 32 percent. Once you reach age 70, no additional delayed retirement credits accrue.
Source: Social Security Administration, Retirement Planner: Benefits by Year of Birth; http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/agereduction.htm
2.) TRUE or FALSE? If my spouse dies, I will continue to receive both my own benefit and my deceased spouse’s benefit.
Answer: False. Social Security retirement benefits are only paid while you are alive. Assuming that you qualify, you would receive the greater of your own benefit or your spouse’s benefit, but not both.
Source: Social Security Administration, Retirement Planner: Benefits for Your Spouse; http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/yourspouse.htm
3.) TRUE or FALSE? I must be a U.S. citizen to collect Social Security retirement benefits.
Answer: False. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits Resident aliens who pay into the Social Security system may qualify to receive retirement benefits, assuming they earn enough credits and meet additional criteria. To become part of the Social Security system, non-U.S. citizens must have lawful alien status, permission by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work in the U.S. and a Social Security Number.
Source: Social Security Administration, Social Security Handbook, Evidence of U.S. Citizenship, §1725; http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.17/handbook-1725.html
4.) TRUE or FALSE? Under current Social Security law, full retirement age is 65.
Answer: False. Your full retirement age is based on the year you were born. For people born between 1943 and 1954, the full retirement age is 66. If you were born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age is 67. For anyone born between 1955 and 1959, the full retirement age increases gradually.
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