1 Plan for Achieving Self Support Program on Employment and Disability A distance education series promoting utilization of work incentives sponsored by the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor with the support of the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities
2 The thoughts and opinions expressed in this and future programs are those of the trainers and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints or official policy positions of the Social Security Administration, Department of Labor and/or any other state or federal agency. The information, materials and technical assistance are intended solely as informal guidance and are neither a determination of legal rights or responsibilities, nor binding on any agency with implementation and/or administrative responsibilities for programs discussed. 2
3 3 Presenters Thomas Golden, Program on Employment and Disability, Cornell University Carol A. Wingate, PASS Specialist, Social Security Administration James Sheldon, Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc. of Buffalo, NY
4 4 Questions By to Toll free to
5 5 Plan for Achieving Self Support What is a Plan for Achieving Self-Support? PASS is an SSI work incentive under which persons with disabilities can set aside additional income and/or resources to be used to achieve specific work goals. What is the purpose of a PASS? The purpose of the PASS work incentive is to increase a persons ability to work and earn a living, and as a result, reduce their reliance on government benefit support in the long term. A PASS is meant to assist a person in obtaining the items or services needed in order to compete in the job market. PASS is just the means to acquire the services and items needed for starting work, not the means to make income or resources available for ongoing costs.
6 Locations of PASS Cadres 6 AK ME Social Security Administration VT NH Seattle, WA WA OR ID MT WY ND SD St. Paul, MN MN WI MI Cincinnati, OH Cheektowaga, NY NY NJ New York, NY Boston, MA MA CT RI Chico, CA Carmichael, CA San Francisco, CA CA NV UT CO Denver, CO NE KS Kansas City, KS IA MO Chicago, IL IL IN Lakewood, OH OH PA WV VA Towson, MD MD DE DC Anaheim, CA San Diego, CA AZ NM OK AR TN KY NC Raleigh, NC TX LA MS ALGA SC Birmingham, AL HI Ft. Worth, TX FL Miami, FL (south FL)
7 7 Who can have a PASS? Any person who is blind or disabled who gets Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or can qualify for SSI, can have a PASS. The individual must: have income other than SSI or a resource to set aside, and; have a feasible work goal, and; have a specific savings/spending plan, and; must provide for a clearly identifiable accounting for the funds which are set aside.
8 How does it work? 8 The income and/or resources set aside in a PASS are not counted in determining eligibility for SSI or in calculating the amount of the SSI benefit that individuals will receive. EXAMPLE: Geri is attending nursing school. All school expenses are being paid by TAP, PELL, and VR. However, she will need a car when she begins to work because no public transportation is available. Geri receives $ SSDI and $ SSI per month. She wants to put the countable SSDI in a PASS account to buy a car. Without a PASS $ SSDI $ SSI Rate* disregard countable SSDI $ countable SSDI $ SSI payable SSDI $ Total income without a PASS *For an individual residing alone in New York State With a PASS $ to PASS Account $ SSI disregarded SSDI $ Total income with an approved PASS
9 9 How does it work? Geri receives $ per month SSDI. She is not eligible for SSI because her SSDI benefit is too high. Geri completes a PASS to set aside $ per month to purchase a car when she is ready to begin working. With a PASS Without a PASS $ SSDI disregard $ countable SSDI Since the 2004 SSI rate for an individual residing alone in New York State is $651.00, Geri is not eligible for SSI without a PASS. Her total income would be her $ monthly SSDI benefit. $ SSDI $ PASS savings disregard SSDI $ SSI PASS savings $ Total income $ SSI countable income with an approved PASS $ SSI rate SSI countable income $ SSI payment Geri would have $ from her SSDI benefit and the $ SSI payment for living expenses.
10 10 Questions By to Toll free to
11 11 Geri and Useable Income Geri receives $1, per month SSDI. She is not eligible for SSI because her SSDI benefit is too high. Without a PASS $ 1,020 SSDI 20 disregard $ 1,000 countable SSDI Since the 2004 SSI rate for an individual residing alone in New York State is $651.00, Geri is not eligible for SSI without a PASS. Her total income would be her $1, monthly SSDI benefit, which is available for living expenses.. With a PASS $1020 SSDI $ 500 PASS savings - 20disregard 520 SSDI $ SSI PASS savings $ Total income $ 500 SSI countable income with an approved $ 651 SSI rate SSI countable income $ 151 SSI payment PASS Geri would have $520 from her SSDI benefit and the $151 SSI payment, a total of $671 for living expenses.
12 12 How does it work? Resources can be anything that is owned, including bank accounts, real estate, or personal property. A resource that would exceed the allowed SSI limit ($ for an individual) can be set aside in a PASS. A resource exclusion is frequently applied to a PASS Account. In January 2004, Geri inherits $ Without a PASS, her SSI payments would be suspended effective February 2004, until she verifies that her resources are again below the $ resource limit. Without a PASS, as soon as Geri accumulated over $ in her bank account, her SSI payments would be suspended due to excess resources. If Geri adds $ of the inherited funds to her PASS account, the excess resource suspension would not apply. With an approved PASS, the account she uses to save money for PASS approved expenses does not count towards her SSI resource limit.
13 Plan Requirements 13 For a PASS to be approved several requirements must be met: The plan must be in writing; and, The plan must contain a feasible occupational (work) goal; and, The plan must be viable; and, The plan must contain a savings/spending plan.
14 14 A PASS must be submitted in writing A PASS must be submitted in writing, preferably on form SSA-545-BK, signed by the individual and, if applicable, the representative payee. You can obtain a copy of the form from your local SSA office. You can obtain a copy in PDF format from SSA s website at: You can complete a PASS application online with tutorial assistance at Cornell s website: You can call your servicing PASS Cadre. (see Slide #2) You can get help completing a PASS application from a BPAO (Benefits Planning Assistance & Outreach) agency.
15 15 Occupational Goal A PASS must show one specific work goal CHEF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER REGISTERED NURSE
16 16 Occupational Goal Feasible means that the person must have a reasonable chance of being able to perform the work, considering: Nature of the disability Limitations Strengths and abilities.
17 17 Occupational Goal VR Evaluation Cover costs of obtaining evaluation. PASS set up to last for time VR needs to perform evaluation. After evaluation, the PASS is amended to specify the chosen work goal, milestones (steps needed to achieve the goal), and expenses related to the chosen goal.
18 18 Occupational Goal General Rules Expected to generate at least enough earnings to: Substantially reduce the SSI payment for those eligible for SSI without a PASS. Eliminate the SSDI cash benefits for those not eligible for SSI without a PASS. (Earnings must be expected to be above the SGA limit- currently $810 per month.) An earnings level should be sought that would be sufficient to replace the benefits of the individual--- and any auxiliaries, residing with the individual, whose benefits eventually could be affected by the individual s work.
19 19 Questions By to Toll free to
20 20 The Case of Thomas Thomas receives $1,000 a month in SSDI benefits based on his work record. His wife and children, who live with him, receive an additional $500 a month in auxiliary benefits combined, for a family total of $1,500. Without a PASS, Thomas and his family have $1,500 per month in combined Social Security income ($1,000 for Thomas, $500 for his wife and children). Thomas must have a goal that he will earn more than $810 per month when his PASS ends. His goal is to make $1,500 per month. When he reaches his goal, Thomas and his family will lose their Social Security checks because he is performing substantial gainful activity.
21 21 The Plan must be viable The PASS must be realistic taking into account: the individual s education and training needs; any assistive technology required; the milestones (and corresponding time frame to complete each step) necessary to reach the work goal; whether the person will have sufficient means to cover PASS expenses, living expenses, and other necessary expenses.
22 Significant, visible steps or events necessary to achieve the occupational goal 22
23 23 Milestones (steps) BEGIN DATE- earliest date the individual began to pursue the goal. Show all of the steps needed to achieve the chosen work goal. Show the expected beginning date and completion date for each step. END DATE-the date the individual expects to be working in the chosen occupational goal.
24 Milestone (Step) Begin Complete Complete VESID vocational evaluation- 12/03 03/04 24 Apply for admission to nursing school - 03/04 03/04 Complete PASS application and apply for financial aid- 03/04 03/04 Receive acceptance, register for classes, purchase uniforms and shoes for hospital training rounds 05/04 06/04 Attend nursing school - 09/04 05/08 Complete resume, purchase car and more uniforms, and begin applying for nursing jobs- 05/08 contg Receive nursing school diploma 06/08 06/08 Take State exam for certification - 07/08 07/08 Receive certification - 09/08 09/08 Begin working as registered nurse 09/08 09/08
25 25 Expenses A PASS can be used to pay for a variety of expenses that are necessary to assist the disabled individual to reach the work goal: Computers & Assistive Devices Transportation & Modifications Education & Vocational Training Tools or other Items needed to start a business
26 26 Deferred Expenses Although a PASS may be approved, a decision on certain items or services may be deferred until a later date. This can happen if a person needs to successfully complete one or more milestones before an item can be approved. Example: Purchase of a vehicle would be deferred if the person needs to obtain a driver evaluation or does not currently have a license. Items and/or services are purchased when needed as outlined in the milestones.
27 27 Money is also important!!! Be very specific about what items and/services you want your PASS to include. Show the specific reason the item/service is neededeg. I need my own computer because I have difficulty concentrating and working around a lot of people and noise. If would be very difficult for me to do my school papers and research papers in the school computer lab. Show accurate estimates for the cost of each item/service. Show how you arrived at the estimated cost. Include the documentation with your PASS.
28 28 Funding the PASS Show how the individual plans to save for the items/services included in the PASS. Show the type of income and the monthly amount you plan to set aside. Example: I plan to set aside $ of my Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit each month. Show the resource you plan to set aside. Example: bank account, savings bonds, stocks, property. (Send proof with the PASS application.
29 29 Questions and Answers By to Toll free to
30 30 Wrap Up Complete your program evaluation Access toll free technical assistance 24/7 at Use your Resource Directory Subscribe to the FREE Benefits Planner by calling the number above Subscribe to the FREE statewide listserv by ing your request to Order transcript at
31 31 Next Program How Work Affects State Welfare Benefits and Food Stamps May 14, :00 3:30 PM