Our monthly blog series, Work Incentives Wednesdays, explores how Social Security helps people with disabilities transition to work. In this month’s blog post, learn how the Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS) can help you save money for your goals.

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Work Incentives Wednesdays: Plan to Achieve Self Support

Feb 22, 2017

About Ticket to Work

Social Security's Ticket to Work program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work.

The Ticket program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.

Learn More

To learn more about the Ticket program, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/work. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 (Voice) or 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

In our new monthly Work Incentives Wednesdays blog series, we will tell you about Social Security Work Incentives that can help you meet your work goals. Work Incentives make it easier for people who receive Social Security disability benefits to work and still receive medical benefits and, in some cases, cash benefits from Social Security. Work Incentives can help you through the transition to work and towards financial independence.

Today we will explore the Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS). PASS can be a powerful tool to help you plan for your future. Maybe you need to go back to school, or you'd like to start your own business. If you have a realistic work goal and a solid plan to reach it, the PASS can help you get there.

How Can a PASS Help You?

PASS is for people who are (or can become) eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A PASS makes it easier for SSI recipients to save money toward a specific career goal. Income and resources that would ordinarily be counted against SSI cash payments can be set aside in a “PASS account” to pay for expenses related to your goal, and Social Security will continue to provide benefits for basic living needs. As long as an approved PASS plan specifies how and when the money will be spent to reach a work goal, PASS offers people the flexibility to direct their own career plan and secure the things they need to achieve it. Some examples of things a PASS can pay for may include tuition, job coaching, and transportation to work.

How to Set Up A PASS

An Employment Network (EN), State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency, social worker or benefits counselor can help you set up a PASS. Your PASS must:

  • Be in writing and designed specifically for you,
  • Identify a specific work goal that you are capable of achieving,
  • Include a specific timeframe for reaching your work goal,
  • List the items or services you plan to purchase to achieve your work goal and their costs,
  • Show what income you receive (other than SSI) and how that income will be used to reach your work goal, and
  • Be approved and reviewed by Social Security on a regular basis.

If your work goal is self-employment, you must also include a business plan. To see more details of what a PASS includes, look at Form SSA-545-BK.

The Goal of a PASS

Financial independence for the participant is the goal of a PASS. If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), meeting the goal your PASS should help you earn enough money to eliminate your need for Social Security benefits. If you receive SSI cash benefits, achieving your goal should result in enough earnings to lower your SSI payments.

Michele used the PASS to get her education and achieve her career goals. Check out her story of success. With PASS, you can create your own success story! PASS is only one of many Work Incentives that Social Security offers to help you with your work goals; subscribe to our blog to learn more about Work Incentives each month.

More PASS Resources

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