TN 9 (07-00)

SI 00870.003 Initiating a PASS Discussion

A. Policy – PASS discussion

SSA will initiate a discussion about PASS with anyone who is a likely candidate. If an individual, who is an unlikely candidate for a PASS indicates an interest, SSA staff will discuss PASS with them as well.

NOTE: Although in most cases, the PASS expert will have the discussion with the individual, other field office (FO) staff should familiarize themselves with the material in SI 00870.003B. - SI 00870.003C., SI 00870.004, and SI 00870.005.

B. List of persons who may benefit from a PASS

1. Likely PASS candidates

The most likely candidates for a PASS are individuals who are blind or disabled and:

  • are already receiving rehabilitation services (training counseling, therapy) from a:

    State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agency;

    State agency for the blind;

    public agency (e.g. Department of Veterans Affairs); or

    private agency (e.g. United Cerebral Palsy);

  • are in school or training programs;

  • are currently working or seeking work including self-employment (consider all section 1619(a) and (b) participants);

  • express an interest in rehabilitation;

  • express an interest in becoming self-supporting;

  • would otherwise have initial eligibility denied or continued eligibility suspended or terminated solely due to excess income (including title II benefits) or resources including a person whose resources are below the SSI limits but exceed those for a state-administered supplement program and the State will recognize the PASS exclusion; or

  • otherwise would have benefits reduced due to income.

2. Unlikely PASS candidates

Individuals who, although being blind or having a disability, usually may not qualify for or benefit from a PASS include those who:

  • already secured the needed items and services under a PASS and have not tried to seek employment in the work goal for which they obtained the required items or services that they identified as being sufficient to make them employable (although such individuals might benefit from resuming the PASS per SI 00870.080) in order to secure the work goal);

  • are ineligible for SSI benefits for any reason other than excess income or resources;

  • are under age 15;

  • do not have any income or resources to set aside and do not expect to have any;

  • are unwilling to use set aside funds strictly for the PASS; or

  • do not require any additional items or services to become employed.

NOTE: Be sensitive to the person’s situation when discussing the inappropriateness of a PASS for an individual who is not considered a likely candidate for a PASS.

C. Procedure

1. Discuss benefits of a PASS

Emphasize the following benefits of a PASS to the beneficiary:

  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) is committed to help people become self-supporting; and

  • Under certain conditions blind and disabled individuals can work and still receive SSI and/or Medicaid (See SI 00870.010 for a discussion of the relationship of PASS to other work incentives.)

  • under a PASS the individual can set aside income or resources (including deemed income and resources) which would otherwise affect eligibility and/or payment amount provided that these set aside funds are used by the person to obtain items or services needed to reach an occupational objective (i.e., a work goal);

  • SSA is willing to help people develop a plan or refer them to an organization that can be of help in setting up a plan;

  • the individual must decide what occupational objective to pursue;

  • when setting aside income/resources sufficient funds should be retained for living expenses (including any anticipated SSI monies); and

  • the individual must follow his/her plan to reach the work goal and use the set aside funds only to reach the goal.

2. Interaction of PASS and other benefits

If the individual receives other benefits (not from SSA) advise the individual that:

  • income and resources set aside under a PASS may be counted under assistance programs administered by other agencies. Advise the person to check with the other agency to determine the effect if any a PASS may have on the other benefit. In most cases Medi