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Retirement Readiness: How Much Do You Know about Social Security?


At what age can you take your full Social Security retirement benefits? Can you receive your full Social Security retirement benefits while you’re still working? Do you have to be a U.S. citizen to receive Social Security benefits?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’re not alone. Most respondents in a recent survey commissioned by MassMutual answered these questions incorrectly.

The Answers

Your full Social Security retirement age depends on your birth year. You can receive Social Security retirement benefits while continuing to work; however, before full retirement age, Social Security may — based on an earnings test — withhold some of your benefits for distribution later. Finally, you do not need to be a U.S. citizen to receive Social Security benefits.

Here are some other things you may not know about Social Security:

  • You can receive both your own and your spouse’s benefit while you are both living. If your spouse dies, you will receive whichever benefit is greater.
  • If you are receiving Social Security and have dependent children or grandchildren, you may receive benefits for those children.
  • Once you start collecting Social Security benefits, your benefits can still change. The Social Security Administration calculates cost of living adjustments (COLA) every year, so it’s possible your benefit will increase. If you delay collecting benefits until after full retirement age, your benefit will be increased based on the number of months you do not receive benefits between full retirement age and age 70.
  • Someone with no earnings history or who leaves the workforce for a long period of time may receive 50 percent of their higher earning spouse’s full retirement benefit.

You can read more about the MassMutual survey and its results here. To learn more about your Social Security benefits, view this infographic and article from Fidelity Investments, record keeper for the 403(b)(9) Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP).

Are You Ready To Retire?

Retirement readiness can mean different things to different people. Preparing for retirement for a 35-year-old is very different from retirement readiness for a 55-year-old. You can find more information on retirement readiness below:

Participating in the 403(b)(9) Retirement Savings Plan (RSP)?

Learn how saving in the RSP can help you save for your retirement years. Call Fidelity at 800-343-0860 and speak with a representative (mention plan #57887). Or, call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) and speak with a service representative.