Having a disability can make finding a job challenging. For this reason, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers those who qualify a chance to save some of their income for educational purposes. The plan for achieving self-support (PASS) helps people with a disability get items, services and skills they need to reach their work goals. A PASS can also increase the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) a person receives each month.
What is the PASS?
A PASS is a plan that allows a person with a disability to use their income for training and educational courses to get a new job and become self-sufficient. Anyone who gets SSI payments, has other income and wants to work can get a PASS. With a PASS, a person’s savings can be used for:
- Transportation to and from work
- Tuition, books, fees and supplies for school or training
- Employment services
- Assistive technology for employment-related purposes
- Supplies to start a business
- Equipment and tools for the job
- Uniforms, special clothing and safety equipment
The individuals who apply must have the objective of finding a good job that will make them earn enough money to reduce or eliminate their SSI payments over time.
PASS and SSI benefits
The income of a person with a disability may reduce their SSI monthly payment. However, by getting a plan to achieve self-support, the SSA will not count any income saved for the plan. Once a person applies for the plan, the SSA will not count the income they have set aside to calculate their SSI payments, which could result in an increase in these payments.
How to apply
If you qualify for this benefit, you can start your application by filing Form SSA-545-BK. In the application, you will need to explain your work goal and what you need to reach it. You must include several cost estimates for the items and services you will need to carry out your plan, as well as the amount you’ll need to set aside each month to pay for them.
The SSA’s decision
The SSA will review your plan and decide whether it is reasonable or not. If they accept the plan, an expert will contact you from time to time to verify you are following it. If they don’t accept it, you have the right to appeal their decision or submit another plan. Once you complete the plan, you won’t have to worry anymore about your SSI payments. With a PASS, you can become financially independent and get more money than you would ever get by receiving your monthly benefits.