The PASS provision is part of the original Supplemental Security Income (SSI) statute,
Social Security Amendments of 1972, Pub. L. No. 92-603, § 301 (1972). Legislative
history shows that Congress expressed a “desire to provide every opportunity and encouragement
to the blind and disabled to return to substantial gainful employment.” H.R. Rep.
No. 92-231, at 152 (1971). Congress intended the PASS provision “be liberally construed
if necessary, to accomplish these objectives.”
The Act authorizes the exclusion of a disabled or blind beneficiary’s income and resources
when they are necessary to fulfill an approved PASS. The Social Security Administration
(SSA) does not count the income and resources the beneficiary uses to pursue the PASS
when we determine the eligibility or payment amount for SSI. If SSA takes an initial
SSI claim that includes PASS eligibility, we will consider substantial gainful activity
(SGA) before excluding any countable wages for PASS. If the beneficiary has worked
over SGA since the last medical decision, the claims specialist must refer the claim
to the Disability Determination Service (DDS) for a new decision.
Several factors make PASS an effective tool for someone who wants to work and accomplish
a specific work goal:
A PASS allows beneficiaries to independently choose and accomplish their own work
PASS enables beneficiaries to use their own funds, commonly Social Security Disability
Insurance (SSDI) benefits or wages, to pursue the plan;
The receipt of, or an increase in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits up to
the amount of the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR), and any applicable state supplement,
replaces some or all the funds that are excluded for use of the PASS; and
PASS is largely self-directed and allows beneficiaries to decide what goods and services
they need to obtain one’s own work goal.