MassMutual Finds Hispanic Workers Need Social Security Info

Hispanic workers polled by MassMutual revealed a concerning lack of knowledge about Social Security.

Almost half of Hispanic respondents scored poorly on a true-or-false quiz about Social Security facts, according to a MassMutual survey that aimed to determine how much people in the U.S. know about Social Security. In another section of MassMutual’s research, findings revealed that most people flunked a 10-question quiz on Social Security.

Forty-seven percent of Hispanic respondents answered more than half of the basic questions about Social Security retirement benefits incorrectly. Also troubling: Only 11% consider themselves to be “very knowledgeable” about Social Security retirement benefits.

While many Hispanic respondents understand basic facts about Social Security retirement benefits, the findings show large gaps in knowledge of eligibility requirements concerning citizenship, retirement age and survivor benefits, MassMutual says.

Over three-quarters of Hispanic respondents (77%) incorrectly believe that being an American citizen is necessary to receive Social Security retirement benefits. Nearly four in five Hispanic respondents (79%) believe full Social Security retirement age is 65, when in fact it actually varies, depending on birth year. More than half (53%) of Hispanic respondents mistakenly believe that if their spouse passes away, they will continue to receive both their own benefit as well as their deceased spouse’s benefit. In reality, assuming qualification criteria is met they would receive the greater of their own benefit or their spouse’s benefit, not both.

Still, Hispanic workers remain optimistic about the entitlement program’s future. Seven out of 10 Hispanic respondents (71%) believe the federal retirement benefit will be available to them when they stop working, compared with 63% of the general population. But Hispanics express concern about funding: only half (52%) think Social Security will have sufficient funding when they retire. This may explain why only one-fourth expect to rely more heavily on the retirement benefits program than their personal savings or other sources of retirement income, with 6% expecting to rely on Social Security alone.

“As the Hispanic population in the U.S. continues to grow, so does the need for a solid understanding of the role that Social Security will play in their personal retirement plans,” Michael R. Fanning, executive vice president of the U.S. Insurance Group at MassMutual, said in a statement.

The research was conducted online by KRC Research on behalf of MassMutual from February 26 to March 2, among 1,513 Americans (including 513 Hispanic respondents over the age of 18).

A link to the survey results is on MassMutual’s website.