Some people who receive government benefits want to become more independent. But independence is not always easy to reach. However, the Social Security Administration (“Social Security”) developed a program that might help – the Social Security PASS Program.
Social Security PASS Basics
The long name for the program is fairly descriptive: Plan to Achieve Self-Support. This program is designed to help people reduce their dependence on government benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
With PASS, applicants can save money and property to achieve their work goals. For example, Social Security does not count the money or property that an SSI applicant sets aside for their PASS plan against their resource and income limits.
If you are on SSI or SSDI and ready to return to work, read on for more details.
How the Social Security PASS Program Works
An individual hoping to participate in Social Security PASS develops a written plan to start a business or get a job. The plan identifies:
- The individual’s specific goals, or type of business/job they want;
- What steps he or she will take to reach that specific goal;
- How the individual will pay for anything they need to achieve their purpose; and
- A timeline for going from Point A to Point B.
After preparing a written plan, the applicant:
- Applies for admission to the PASS program. If you are working with a vocational rehabilitation counselor, ask for help. Social Security generally approves most applications submitted by counselors.
- Complete a PASS form (SSA-545-BK). You can get one online or from your local Social Security office.
- Submit your completed form to Social Security.
Then you wait to hear Social Security’s decision.
When Your Plan Is Approved
After a Social Security PASS plan is approved, the applicant will work directly with a trained agency employee. You can change the plan if necessary.
Money saved through the program can be used for:
- Down payments
- Installment payments
- School or work supplies
- Equipment and Tools
Meanwhile, as mentioned above, the money saved for these PASS-related expenses does not jeopardize the applicant’s eligibility for benefits.
It’s Complicated, so Give Us a Call.
Applying for SSDI and SSI benefits is challenging. Also, the denial rate is high for first-time applicants, and the appeal process difficult to understand. That’s why it helps to have an experienced Social Security Attorney by your side.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have helped many clients resolve SSI issues. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.