Social Security Quiz

A test of your knowledge of a key element in planning for your retirement.

It's been a while since I've tested your knowledge in this column, so I thought it might be fun to put together a quiz on Social Security benefits and how they fit into planning for your future.

After you take the quiz, click here for the answers.

1. What was the amount of the average monthly Social Security check for a retired worker in 2011?

a. $583
b. $3,426
c. $1,181
d. $6,745

2. Sandy and her husband, Tom, are both 66. Sandy began receiving a Social Security retirement benefit of $500 a month at 62. Tom is retiring this year and will receive $1,800 a month. How much will Sandy receive when Tom retires?

a. $500
b. $900
c. $750

3. How much can you earn at age 62 without reducing your Social Security benefit?

a. $40,340
b. $14,640
c. $5,600
d. $75,000
4. You can receive Social Security from your former spouse if:

a. You were married for 10 years or more
b. You are not currently remarried
c. You are not receiving a pension from work not covered by Social Security
d. All the above

5. Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, what percentage of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their income?

a. 43 percent
b. 22 percent
c. 54 percent
d. 73 percent

6. What is the full Social Security retirement age?

a. 65
b. 66
c. 70
d. Between 65 and 67, depending on your year of birth

7. Which of the following will increase your Social Security check?

a. Delay receiving payment until you are 70
b. Claim a benefit on your spouse's work record
c. Continue working past 62
d. Any of the above

8. You can do all the following on the Social Security website except:

a. Estimate your future benefit
b. Find the most popular baby names
c. Find out if someone is alive or dead
d. Calculate the distance to the moon
9. How long is the average retirement?

a. 18 years
b. 30 years
c. 20 years
d. It depends on many different factors

10. Understanding the limitations of Social Security, how should you plan your retirement?

a. Learn to live on less now
b. Make saving mandatory and automatic
c. Plan for being single, even if you're not
d. Be realistic about when you can afford to retire
e. All of the above

Ready for the answers? Click here.

Correction: In the initial version of this column, the answer to question No. 2 was listed as $675, which was incorrect. The column has been updated to relect the correct amount.

Tammy Flanagan is the senior benefits director for the National Institute of Transition Planning Inc., which conducts federal retirement planning workshops and seminars. She has spent 25 years helping federal employees take charge of their retirement by understanding their benefits.

For more retirement planning help, tune in to "For Your Benefit," presented by the National Institute of Transition Planning Inc. live on Mondays at 10 a.m. EDT on, or on WFED AM 1500 in the Washington-metro area.