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PASS (Plan for Achieving Self-Support) Plans

A Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) allows individuals to save money for a specified work goal, which includes starting a business. The purpose of a PASS is to assist Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients in obtaining items, services, or skills for employment needs. In some cases, a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiary can use a PASS to become eligible for the maximum SSI benefit.

Under an approved plan, income (including job wages and other resources, but not SSI) can be saved to pay for the items needed to reach what the Social Security Administration calls a “vocational goal”i. If currently working, recipients may be able to set aside more money in the PASS. The money put into a PASS is not counted as income, which can enable a person to work and receive SSI.

To participate in a PASS, the following are necessary requirements:

• a written plan
• a vocational goal
• a reasonable time frame for meeting a vocational goal
• an explanation of the necessary expenses

Note: If a PASS plan is for self-employment, a detailed business plan must be provided that gives a description of intentions to make this business succeed.

To stay enrolled in a PASS, the written plan must be followed. If the participant needs to make changes, or is unable to complete the plan temporarily, contact the Social Security Administration immediately. This will ensure that the money saved in the PASS will not be counted as income or resources and jeopardize benefits.

Individual Development Accounts & PASS:

For Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) that receive federal funding from block grants under Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) or Assets for Independence Act (AFIA), savings cannot be considered as assets. SSI restricts beneficiaries to $2,000 in assets ($3,000 for a couple). However, IDA programs that are not federally funded can count as assets and affect SSI eligibility unless the IDA is approved as part of a PASS plan. Including a non-federally funded IDA in a PASS is currently the only way to avoid the asset restrictions of SSI.

Information adapted from Disability Benefits 101: Plan for Achieving Self-Sufficiency Frequently Asked Questions

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