The Social Security program seems simple enough. When you reach retirement age, you can stop working and the government will send you a check, the amount of which is based upon your income during your working years.
People understand that much, which leads them to believe that they know all they need to about the program.
However, a recent survey found that most people between the ages of 55-61 believe some myths that need to be corrected, as CNBC reported in "The three biggest myths about how Social Security works." The myths include:
- Many people think that when they become eligible for Social Security, the government will know and automatically start sending them a monthly check. That is not true. You need to apply for Social Security and you need to do so three months before you plan to receive it.
- Another common misconception is the retirement age to receive full benefits. It depends on when you were born.
- People also believe that if an ex-spouse claims Social Security benefits under their work history that it will decrease the amount of their benefits. This is also a myth. An ex-spouse's claim will result in no changes to any benefits that you will receive.
Reference: CNBC (April 25, 2017) "The three biggest myths about how Social Security works."