Social Security News and Updates

3 Things Most Pre-Retirees Don’t Know About Social Security

by Alli Thomas

Aug 2, 2021

In March 2020, MassMutual conducted a quiz involving 1500 Americans between ages 55 and 65 who hadn’t yet claimed Social Security benefits about their Social Security knowledge.

A disappointing one-third of those polled knew almost nothing about the topic. Another 19% just barely passed the quiz.  

Here are the top three things that pre-retirees got wrong in MassMutual’s quiz about Social Security:


You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to collect Social Security benefits.

TRUE. For non-citizens living in the U.S. to receive benefits, they must be permanent legal residents, have visas that permit them to work in the U.S. or were allowed into the U.S. under certain provisions of immigration law.

Contrary to popular opinion, undocumented immigrants do not typically receive Social Security benefits, despite payroll deductions from their paychecks that go into the Social Security Trust Fund. 


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If you delay taking benefits past age 70, you get a retirement credit for each year you do not take benefits.

FALSE. While you can delay taking Social Security benefits indefinitely, you won’t receive any additional credit for doing so past age 70. 

You may receive retroactive benefits covering up to six months prior to the month that you filed your benefits claim. But, if you do opt for retroactive benefits, you’ll lose any delayed retirement credits you accumulated during those months.

If you file for benefits and have dependent children (under age 18), they may also qualify for benefits. 

TRUE. When you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, your kids may also qualify to collect them on your record. This goes for your biological children, adopted children and stepchildren–and dependent grandchildren.


In order to receive benefits, the child in question must be unmarried, under age 18 (or be 18 or 19 and a full-time student, or be 18 or older and disabled by a disability that started before the child turned 22). Any benefits your child receives will not decrease your own benefit amount. If your child works while receiving benefits, they are bound by the same earnings limits that you are. 

Were you surprised by any of these answers? Or, maybe you have other questions about Social Security. If you do, our financial advisors can help answer them. Click here to set up a free, no-obligation appointment with one of them.


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Alli Thomas

Alli Thomas has worked in the financial services industry for nearly 20 years, with a focus on retirement-related investing. She began her career as a FINRA-licensed participant-services call-center associate at Vanguard, and then moved to Principal Financial Group, where she worked closely with employers, assisting with retirement plan set-up and design, selecting appropriate plan investment offerings, and maximizing employee participation through targeted education campaigns and enrollment meetings. Alli has also worked as a qualified 401(k) administrator and registered investment advisor for several small investment firms. She now writes about all things investment- and finance-related, leveraging her extensive experience and passion for retirement planning to help investors make well-informed financial decisions.

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