Answers to the Social Security Quiz

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8. What is the maximum amount of Social Security surviving spouses may receive?

  • Answer: b. 100 percent of the higher earner's benefit
  • Roughly half (51 percent) of 61-year-olds are not aware that a surviving spouse may be entitled to the larger of the couple's two benefits.

    9. If you sign up for Social Security at age 62, but then pay back all the money you've received at a later date without interest, you can qualify for higher payments for the rest of your life.

    Answer: a. True

    Most people who sign up for Social Security at age 62 receive reduced benefit payouts for life. But if you can afford to pay the money back, you can then qualify for higher payments for life. Many wealthy retirees will come out ahead using this strategy, but you could also lose the money through bad investments or die soon after you pay it back and come out behind.

    10. The Social Security cost of living adjustment is tied to:

    • Answer: d. The consumer price index
    • Social Security benefit increases are tied to the consumer price index, a measure of the prices paid by urban consumers for goods and services. The cost-of-living increase will be 5.8 percent in 2009, the largest increase in over 25 years. But this year, checks increased by only 2.3 percent.