Pop Quiz: Who Gets Benefits?

Pop Quiz: Who Gets Benefits?
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Pop Quiz: Who Gets Benefits?

Over the past few years, the benefits that America offers its citizens have become the center of a huge national debate as arguments about illegal immigration, budget cuts, and the rising cost of Medicare have resounded through the halls of Congress and the pages of America's newspapers. But who actually qualifies for benefits -- and how are they designed to work? In the process of investigating this issue, we compiled this little quiz. If you're interested in where your entitlement spending goes, take a peek.

A. 61
B. 66
C. 69
D. 73

When Social Security began, the average man died at 61 -- four years before he would have qualified for benefits. Today, the average man can expect to live to 75.7 -- meaning that he will draw Social Security benefits for over ten years.

A. $152.73
B. $1,293.87
C. $13,693.82
D. $22,888.92

Fuller lived to be 100 years old, and collected $22,888.92 -- more than 1,015 times what she paid into the system!

A. Nothing
B. $600,000
C. $6 million
D. $6 billion

According to a 2006 analysis by Standard and Poor's, the Social Security Administration obtains a "suspense fund" of payroll taxes that cannot be attached to a legal social security number. It averages between $6 and $7 billion per year. The immigrants who pay these social security taxes are not allowed to receive benefits, which means that they will never be able to take the money back out of the system.

A. $0 per year
B. $1,000 per year
C. $10,000 per year
D. $100,000 per year

Illegal immigrants do not qualify for Medicaid benefits. However, hospitals are legally required to give emergency care to any patient who needs it -- a loophole that provides many undocumented immigrants with their only source of medical care.

A. 0
B. 10
C. 20
D. 30

U.S. law does not require companies to give their employees paid maternity leave.

A. 83
B. 57
C. 21
D. 3

Recently, Harvard and McGill Universities surveyed 181 countries and found that only three -- the U.S., Papua New Guinea and Swaziland -- don't offer paid maternity leave.

A. $2,000 per year
B. $7,000 per year
C. $10,000 per year
D. It depends on where you live

Since each state administers its own Medicaid system, the cut off line varies greatly. In Massachusetts, individuals making up to 133% of the poverty line, or $14,856, qualify for the program. By comparison, Texas' cut off for an individual is 26% of the poverty line, or $2,904 per year.