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Working on SSI: Social Security’s PASS Program

This week’s blog is part of a Q&A series with Kristen Alberino, veteran public affairs specialist with the Social Security Administration (SSA) in Quincy. They’re based on actual parent questions about SSI (Supplemental Security Income) we’ve fielded at Exceptional Lives.

Q: “Right now my daughter with a disability receives SSI. She just finished high school and now she wants to try to get a job. Are there any programs through Social Security that can help her find a job?”

A. It’s great that your daughter wants to find a job! Getting a job can be hard, and setting aside money for training and getting to and from work isn’t easy when you have a limited income. To help make ends meet while she finds a job, your daughter should think about applying for a Plan to Achieve Self-Support(PASS).

PASS helps people who get SSI by letting them set aside money to pay for items or services needed to reach a specific work goal.  In other words, income and/or assets that might put someone over the SSI limits can be not counted for SSI eligibility purposes if the person agrees to only spend it on items or services needed to reach the work goal.

Let’s take a look at Paula as an example:

paula_just_got_a_job

A PASS can include supplies to start a business, school expenses, equipment and tools, transportation, uniforms and other items or services you need to reach your employment goal.  If your daughter’s goal is to start a business, she will need a business plan. 

To apply, complete this PASS form (SSA-545-BK) and return it to your local PASS cadre or local office. To find your local PASS cadre go here. https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/passcadre.htm

Your daughter can help Social Security make sure that we are giving her the right amount each month by reporting her wages. She can report wages by visiting, calling or writing her local Social Security Office. She should ask about our options to use the automated toll-free SSI Telephone Wage Reporting Service or the free SSI Mobile Wage Reporting Smartphone app.

The first step to participate in PASS is to apply for SSI. Check out our Exceptional Lives SSI Guide to see if your child qualifies.

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