Perhaps one of the least sought-after pieces of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is the Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) that allows SSI recipients to build income through a normal job or starting a business to eventually no longer need SSI.
Although it sounds promising at first glance, the actual process is so difficult that only 568 people made use of the option in 2018.
What is PASS?
Mainly, successful applicants receive extra money in their check so basic living expenses are covered as they work toward gainful employment. Applicants are not penalized for setting aside resources for their goals, which could help maintain SSI and SSDI eligibility while working through the approved plan.
What Are the Application Requirements?
This is where it gets tricky. The PASS Plan must be filled out exactly as the directions state using the SSA-545 form. Changes to the plan, once filed, must be made to the local Social Security office and benefits that were paid out after the plan is finished or discontinued might have to be paid back.
The plan must have a specific timeframe and include specific details about your business or job plan. You’ll also have to designate how extra funds will be used, including keeping them separate from your regular living expense income.
Your job or end goals also have to be abundantly clear. As the PASS site states “getting a degree” or “buying a car” are not sufficient examples of a goal. You’ll also have to outline the reasonability of getting to said goal, considering your own personal “strength and abilities”.
The process can take several weeks as a PASS expert at the SSA will review your application and notification typically arrives via mail. Applications can be denied, but applicants do have the right to appeal any decision.
The PASS program can be a great way to gain access to additional income to build a business or restart a professional path. However, it’s a complex process and requires a lot of detail. Should your application be denied, call the knowledgeable Eastern Washington and Idaho SSI attorneys at Schott Law at (509) 328-5789 to learn more about your options.