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PASS Plan for Social Security Recipients


Updated November 03, 2011

PASS Plan for Social Security Recipients

The PASS Plan can help you achieve your job or business goals.

Franz Pfluegl@Dreamstime.com

The PASS Plan for SSI recipients is a plan for achieving self-support. It is for individuals who are already receiving Social Security income, but would like to either go to work or start a business. The plan is a way for individuals to set aside some of their Social Security income for educational purposes or training to do a job, or for business expenses, such as space rental and equipment. In order to qualify for the PASS Plan, individuals must write a business plan detailing how they will use the money they set aside to reach their job or business goals.

PASS Plan Benefits

The PASS Plan for SSI recipients can benefit individuals who don’t have money set aside for college, vocational training for a new job since they have become disabled, or to start a new business. Individuals who have an approved plan can set aside money for their PASS Plan goal from their monthly SSI or SSDI check, and in most cases will receive more money in their check so that their basic living expenses are still provided for. In addition, they are not penalized for resources set aside for PASS Plan goals, which may help individuals maintain their eligibility for SSI and SSDI benefits.

PASS Application Requirements

The PASS application requirements are simple, but they must be followed exactly to ensure the plan is accepted. In addition, once an application is approved, it will be subject to periodic review to ensure that the applicant is following the plan to achieve their goals for self-sufficiency. If at any time the application chooses to no longer pursue their goals, or wishes to change their plan, they must notify their local Social Security office. Benefits that were paid after an applicant quit their plan may have to be paid back to the Social Security Administration.

According to the Social Security Administration, the following requirements must be met when filling out their Pass Plan application:

  • The PASS Plan for SSI recipients must be designed specifically for the individual applying for the benefit.
  • The application must be done using the SSA-545 application from the Social Security Administration.
  • The specific work goal that you wish to achieve, such as a license for chemical dependency counseling, a degree in public relations or a vocational job, such as a pastry chef.
  • Give a specific timeframe for reaching your goal. This could be two or four years for a degree, or a certain number of months required to receive a license or vocational training for a non-degreed job. It may also detail how long it will take to start a new business, from buying the initial equipment to opening the door to customers.
  • Explain how much money you will set aside each month for reaching your goal, as well as how much money in resources you may already have that will be used for attaining the goal.
  • Explain how you will keep the money separate from other funds, such as setting up a separate savings account or business account.

PASS Plan Application

To apply to the PASS Plan, ask for a copy of Form SSA-545 from your local Social Security Office or download the form here from the Social Security website: Plan for Achieving Self Support. . Fill out the form completely and provide all supporting documentation before returning it to your local Social Security office. If you’re not sure what the address of your Social Security office is, call 1-800-772-1213 and you’ll be given the address of the closest office location.

Application Review Process

The approval process will usually take several weeks as it will be reviewed by a PASS Plan expert. Applicants will be notified by mail if their application has been approved. If an application is denied, the applicant has a right to appeal the decision or submit a new plan.

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