The Social Security office recently spoke about how people on disability social security benefits can become more self-sufficient through education or even starting their own business. Jack Myers, Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration described the PASS program or the Plan For Achieving Self-Support. “If you are getting SSI benefits on the basis of disability, because it’s a needs-based program, your income and your assets will effect your eligibility. The idea behind the PASS program is if you are disabled and you’re getting SSI benefits but you have a plan, and you want to try to become self-sufficient – maybe you want to start a business or you want to get yourself some education or training so that you can go into a certain line of work. If you put this PASS into place, you can use your income and assets to help you reach your work goals; and we can sometimes exclude those assets or income when we determine your eligibility into the PASS program.”
Myers says that the exclusion of those assets through savings would allow members in a PASS program to possibly one day become self-sufficient and leave the SSI disability program. A PASS must be placed into writing and the Social Security Administration must approve it before it can begin to be implemented. Myers said that there really isn’t a penalty if an individual doesn’t succeed at their PASS, but assets would no longer be able to be excluded. Myers emphasized that the plan for achieving self-support must be in writing and approved before it can be moved upon by the individual.
To apply or to write a PASS, individuals should visit socialsecurity.gov or call 1-800-772-1213 to get the form to write to become a part of the program. SSA also offers Ticket to Work service providers at 1-866-968-7842 to help people write their PASS. Unfortunately, Social Security Offices don’t help with the PASS writing process. Myers said that family members or friends can help with writing the plan as long as they follow the steps in the online form.
Myers says that anyone can start the program at any time. Myers said that the turnaround on the paperwork varies, but if things are done correctly, the process can take very little time to get started. Myers said the only time that things get re-evaluated in a PASS is if people fall off of their time frames and don’t follow along. To learn more, visit socialsecurity.gov