PASS Online

Resource for the Plan to Achieve Self-Support Application

2. How a PASS Works

When income or resources are used in an approved PASS to support a work goal, the income or resources will not count when determining SSI eligibility. The result is that the individual will become eligible for SSI or a larger SSI payment based on the remaining countable income and/or resources.

In other words, this means that any income that is currently counted against SSI benefits can be set aside to pay for expenses related to your work goal. SSI will then continue to provide monthly benefits with which to pay for regular basic living needs.

Example. Joan, age 20, lives alone and receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) of $620 per month based on a mental illness. The SSI program will disregard (or not count) $20 and the remaining $600 is subtracted from the $761 SSI base rate, giving Joan $161 per month in SSI. Her total monthly income is $781 ($620 SSDI, $161 SSI).

Joan plans to attend a two-year community college program to become an occupational therapy assistant. She will receive support from the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (ACCES-VR) to pay for tuition, transportation to college, and books. She will still need the following to achieve her work goal: $600 for a laptop computer; $10,000 for a used car to travel to work or work sites; and $600 for the first six months of car insurance. Joan proposes to set aside $600 of her SSDI check each month to save for these items to meet her work goal.

If Joan's PASS proposal is approved, the SSI program will no longer count the $600 of SSDI. This will reduce her countable income to $0 and increase her SSI check to $761 per month. With $600 per month in PASS savings, in 17 months she can save the $11,200 needed to pay for the computer, car, and insurance. If her PASS starts in July 2009 and continues through November 2010 (17 months), she can purchase her car and insure it as early as December 2010, allowing her to travel to internships and job interviews based on a projected graduation in May 2011. Joan still has $781 for monthly living expenses ($761 SSI, $20 of SSDI not counted under usual rules).

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