What Is Social Security Form SSA-25?


Quick Answer

According to the Social Security Administration, Form SSA-25 is the Certificate of Election for Reduced Spouse’s Benefits. It is used to apply for a spouse’s Social Security insurance benefits before full retirement age, resulting in permanent reduction in the amount of monthly benefits.

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Full Answer

A married person is usually entitled to receive Social Security benefits based on his spouse's employment history rather than his own, even if he was never employed. A spouse who has reached the age of 62 but has still not reached full retirement age can file form SSA-25 based on the other spouse’s income, according to the SSA. The amount of the monthly spousal benefit is maximized when the applicant reaches full retirement age, financial investment site troweprice.com points out. Receiving benefits prior to full retirement age results in a permanent reduction of the amount of monthly benefits.

The SSA advises that federal law requires SSA-25 be filed before any benefits are paid to acknowledge applicant's understanding that he has elected a permanently reduced benefit. Benefits can be further reduced if there is an additional beneficiary, other than the wage earner, that is eligible to receive benefits from the same Social Security Number. Other beneficiaries may include student child beneficiaries. The SSA further counsels that if an applicant is eligible for retirement insurance benefits the same month the SSA-25 takes effect, the applicant is considered to have applied for them.

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