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10 tricky rules you need to know about Social Security

The Motley Fool Logo By Sean Williams of The Motley Fool | Slide 1 of 12: When it comes to America’s top social program, Social Security, there are two givens.  First of all, it’s important. Of the roughly 63 million Americans receiving a benefit today, more than a third count on their monthly payout to lift them out of poverty. Further, 62% of retired workers lean on their guaranteed monthly stipend to account for at least half of their income. According to an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the elderly poverty would be more than four times higher today (i.e., greater than 40%) if Social Security didn’t exist.   The second certainty about Social Security is that it’s a difficult, if not tricky, program to understand. In May 2018, MassMutual released an online, five-question, true/false quiz for adults aged 50 and over. Presumably, since these seniors are at or near their eligible Social Security claiming age, they should have done well and “passed” with a score of four or five questions correct. Instead, 47% failed to receive a passing grade, proving that, despite its importance, we still don’t understand Social Security all that well. And what we don’t understand can cost us dearly.   With that being said, here are 10 of Social Security’s trickiest rules that you should know if you aim to get the most out of the program.

Social Security ins and outs are difficult to understand

When it comes to America’s top social program, Social Security, there are two givens.

First of all, it’s important. Of the roughly 63 million Americans receiving a benefit today, more than a third count on their monthly payout to lift them out of poverty. Further, 62% of retired workers lean on their guaranteed monthly stipend to account for at least half of their income. According to an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the elderly poverty would be more than four times higher today (i.e., greater than 40%) if Social Security didn’t exist.

The second certainty about Social Security is that it’s a difficult, if not tricky, program to understand. In May 2018, MassMutual released an online, five-question, true/false quiz for adults aged 50 and over. Presumably, since these seniors are at or near their eligible Social Security claiming age, they should have done well and “passed” with a score of four or five questions correct. Instead, 47% failed to receive a passing grade, proving that, despite its importance, we still don’t understand Social Security all that well. And what we don’t understand can cost us dearly.

With that being said, here are 10 of Social Security’s trickiest rules that you should know if you aim to get the most out of the program.

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