TN 15 (05-18)
SI 00870.020 Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) Field Office Procedure
A. Handling PASS inquiries
When a beneficiary inquires about PASS or is a likely PASS candidate, see SI 00870.003B.1;
B. Policy for developing a PASS
Each region has a PASS Cadre that includes one or more PASS Specialist(s) or Area Work Incentive Coordinator(s) (AWIC). In most instances, a PASS Specialist or AWIC will be the SSA employee who assists the beneficiary in developing a PASS.
C. Procedure for developing a PASS
If the beneficiary has a work goal he or she wishes to pursue and is interested in applying for a PASS, provide them with the Form SSA-545-BK, Plan to Achieve Self Support application located in Exhibit 1 SI 00870.100. Additionally, provide the PASS Cadre contact information (follow regional procedures) along with a postage-paid business reply envelope. If the beneficiary prefers to access the application and Cadre information electronically, provide the following web addresses:
SSA-545 Application: https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-545.pdf
PASS Cadre location: https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/passcadre.htm
If the beneficiary has questions regarding the completion of the PASS application, he or she can contact the PASS Cadre. Inform the beneficiary that the Cadre member might contact him or her directly if they need additional information to develop the plan.
If the beneficiary does not have a work goal but is interested in pursuing a PASS, refer the beneficiary to a Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) agency, Ticket to Work program Employment Network (EN), or the State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency.
Provide the beneficiary with information about WIPA and EN organizations using the link www.choosework.ssa.gov
D. Beneficiary submits a PASS application
When a beneficiary submits a PASS application, take the following steps:
Review the material submitted. If a Field Office (FO) receives the SSA-545-BK, ensure that the beneficiary fully completed the form. Regarding completion of the SSA-545-BK, see SI 00870.023.
Accept any relevant documentation presented at the time of the interview.
If the beneficiary does not already receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, obtain a full SSI application. The SSA-545-BK is a protective writing. Advise the PASS Cadre when the application is taken.
Request any additional necessary documentation for the SSI initial claim (e.g., bank records, pay stubs).
Inform the beneficiary that a FO employee can copy any documentation and forward it to the PASS Cadre, or that he or she can mail it directly to the PASS Cadre. Give the beneficiary a postage-paid envelope addressed to the servicing site if available.
Give the beneficiary the toll-free telephone number for the servicing PASS Cadre.
Photocopy the SSA-545-BK (or other written PASS request) and any accompanying PASS material.
Use Exhibit 2, the Route Slip from FO, in SI 00870.100, to forward all PASS material to the PASS Cadre. Fax the SSA-545-BK and any accompanying material in WorkTrack on the day you receive it or the next working day. If you request additional documentation from the beneficiary, let the PASS Cadre know what you requested. Additionally, store the photocopy (or the original if faxed) in the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed) or the Certified Electronic Folder (CEF) in the non-disability development (orange) section for future reference.
Once the PASS Cadre makes a decision, the PASS specialist will inform the FO of the outcome. The FO can then adjudicate the SSI claim accordingly once all development is completed.
E. Request for reconsideration
After the beneficiary has submitted the PASS application, the PASS Cadre will review it, and approve or deny the application. Denial of a PASS application is an initial determination, and subject to appeal. If you receive an SSA-561-U2, Request for Reconsideration, or documentation requesting an appeal on a denied PASS application, take the following steps:
1. Case review
If the beneficiary requests a case review, forward a SSA-561-U2, along with any material submitted, to the servicing PASS Cadre. Advise the beneficiary that a PASS Specialist or AWIC, other than the person who made the initial determination will review the case.
2. Request for a conference
If the beneficiary requests an informal conference, determine whether a teleconference would be acceptable. If acceptable, determine the best time and phone number to contact the beneficiary. Forward this information, along with the reconsideration request and any material submitted, to the servicing PASS Cadre, using Exhibit 2 in SI 00870.100. Advise the beneficiary that a PASS Specialist or AWIC, other than the one who made the initial determination, will contact him or her by telephone.
If the beneficiary has pertinent material to submit, a PASS Specialist may ask the person to bring or mail the material to the servicing FO. If the beneficiary brings in or mails the material to the FO, fax or mail the material to the PASS Cadre. For instructions pertaining to the PASS Specialist's role, see SI 00870.045.
If the beneficiary insists on an in-person conference and there is not a PASS Specialist available within the service area, refer the matter to the manager of the servicing FO for handling. The manager may delegate the handling of the matter to a FO employee who is at least equal in grade to the employee who made the initial determination. This FO employee consults with the servicing PASS Cadre and will:
conduct the conference;
make the decision;
make any corresponding changes to the Supplemental Security Record;
issues the notice to the beneficiary; and
send a copy of the notice and any other materials to the PASS Cadre.
NOTE: Management may designate a lower-graded employee to assist with these activities, but this employee may not make the reconsideration decision.