Act as Amended in 1972 - Section 1612(b)(4)(A) and (B), Section 1613(a)(4)

Social Security Independence and Program Improvements Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-296)-Section 203

Regulations No. 16, Subpart K, Sections 416.1112, 416.1124, 416.1161, and 416.1180-416.1182, Subpart L, Sections 416.1210, and 416.1225 - 416.1227.

TN 9 (07-00)

SI 00870.001 Plans to Achieve Self-Support — Overview

A. Introduction to PASS

The Social Security Act authorizes the exclusion of income and resources of an individual who has a disability or is blind when the individual needs such income and resources to fulfill an approved Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS). The income and/or resources the individual uses to pursue the PASS will not be counted in determining his/her eligibility or payment amount for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Any earned income set aside under a PASS does not affect the amount of earnings considered for the purposes of a substantial gainful activity determination, if needed.

The PASS provision is part of the original SSI statute. The legislative history shows that the Congress expressed a “desire to provide every opportunity and encouragement to the blind and disabled to return to gainful employment.” Congress intended that the PASS provision “be liberally construed if necessary to accomplish these objectives.”

Several factors make PASS an effective tool for someone wanting to work under the SSI program:

  • PASS reflects individual choice. Individuals choose their own work goal.

  • PASS is self-financed. Individuals use their own funds (often, their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits) to pursue the plan. The receipt of, or an increase in SSI benefits up to the amount of the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR), and any applicable state supplement, replaces some or all of the funds that the individual uses for the PASS.

  • PASS is largely self-directed. Individuals decide what goods and services are needed to reach the work goal.

B. Overview of PASS Process

1. Field Office Responsibilities

Field office (FO) staff will discuss the benefits of a PASS with any beneficiary that is likely to benefit from a PASS.(See SI 00870.003)

If the beneficiary wants to apply, the CR will assist the beneficiary in the completion of the SSA-545-BK and forward the PASS request to the PASS expert immediately or refer the individual to the PASS expert for assistance in developing the PASS. See SI 00870.020 and SI 00870.023)

2. PASS Expert Responsibilities

The PASS Expert is primarily responsible for initiating, developing, adjudicating, monitoring and assisting the beneficiary interested in applying for a PASS. Upon receipt of a PASS request, the PASS expert will review the request and contact the indivdiual for further development and discussion of the PASS goals and requirements with respect to approving the request, if possible, and contact the individual directly as circumstances warrant. The PASS expert may be the PASS specialist located at a PASS cadre or an Employment Support Representative servicing a particular pilot area. (See SI 00870.025)

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SI 00870.001 - Plans to Achieve Self-Support -- Overview - 04/09/2009
Batch run: 04/09/2009