Social Security uncertainty: What people get wrong about the popular program

31 million Americans dip into retirement savings during COVID-19 pandemic

Workers also contributing less to retirement funds; Fox Biz Flash: 5/27.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused concern about the long-term viability of Social Security as a reliable source of retirement income, but it turns out many Americans don’t understand the program that well.

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A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of The Nationwide Retirement Institute showed that 61 percent of people are more concerned about the program’s funding now than they were before the pandemic.

As a result, 28 percent of people said they were likely to change when they planned to file for benefits.

CORONAVIRUS-RELATED SOCIAL SECURITY FEARS WEIGH ON RETIREMENT PLANNING

But that may not be the best strategy for everyone. And it turns out, some people may be making planning decisions without truly understanding how the program works.

Less than half of Americans said they were confident in their knowledge of Social Security and the poll showed that people across all generations had some misconceptions.

Here’s a look at what they are:

If a person files early, benefits will automatically rise when the person reaches full retirement age

Percent of people who knew this was false:

  • Millennials: 45 percent
  • Gen X: 49 percent
  • Baby Boomers: 69 percent

Read: Social Security: What happens to your benefits when you take them early

CORONAVIRUS PUTS FULL SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS AT RISK YEARS EARLIER THAN EXPECTED, RESEARCHERS SAY

At what age are you eligible to receive full benefits?

People who incorrectly identified that age:

  • Millennials: 97 percent
  • Gen X: 90 percent
  • Baby Boomers: 80 percent

Click here for more on your full retirement age.

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What determines the maximum benefit?

People who accurately knew all of the factors

  • Millennials: 4 percent
  • Gen X: 6 percent
  • Baby Boomers: 7 percent

Benefits are based on the number of years worked, earnings during years where you paid into the program and the age at which you decide to file.

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