As part of its work incentive program, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has authorized the use of Plans to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) by disabled or blind individuals who are Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries. A PASS enables these beneficiaries to set aside income and resources for an occupational pursuit without being penalized with a reduction in their benefits amount. Neither the income nor the resources earmarked for a PASS are used in the SSA’s calculation for benefits.
The SSA has identified the minimum requirements that a PASS must possess, not the least of which is that the PASS must be in writing and approved by the SSA. At the heart of the PASS must be a realistic work goal, and beneficiaries must present a timetable for reaching that goal. Additionally, a description must be provided of any goods or services that will be necessary to accomplish the goal. The nature of the goal will dictate the length and detail required for the PASS. For example, if the beneficiary intends to start his own business, the SSA mandates that a detailed business plan be attached to the PASS application. Further, the PASS must include an identification of what income and resources will be set aside with an explanation of how they will be kept separate from the beneficiary’s other assets.
In drafting their PASS, beneficiaries may enlist the help of family and friends. Additionally, they may seek assistance from a professional such as a vocational counselor. The SSA can also help a beneficiary with drafting his PASS or put him in contact with someone who can.
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