Florida residents who would like to get back to work and end their reliance on Social Security disability benefits frequently will try to achieve self-support through the PASS program. Part I of this blog series explained the program, how it is used to allow claimants to continue receiving SSD benefits as they try to get into a position to stop their benefits, and presenting a plan to the Social Security Administration. Part II will explain the business plan itself, its evaluation, and what to do in the event of a denial or approval.
The SSA will need to see a business plan accompanying the application if the applicant's plan is to begin their own business. This plan should include the following: the kind of business that is going to be started; the location where the business is to be set up; if the business will require rental space, shared space or another method; the hours of operation; the intended customers, expected suppliers, and potential competitors; what methods will be used to advertise; what items be needed to begin the business and their cost; how these costs will be paid; and what the expected income will be for the initial four years in which the business is in operation.
The SSA will conduct an evaluation of the plan in which an expert will review it, decide if it is realistic, decide if the expenses are necessary and reasonably priced, if there have to be changes, and will send a letter approving or denying it. After it has been approved, the expert will maintain periodic contact to ensure that the plan is being followed.
If the plan is denied, it is possible to appeal the decision. If it is approved, changes can be made to the plan, but the SSA must be informed. If the attempt is ended completely, the SSA will count income and resources that were set aside when it calculates disability benefits. With this, the payments will likely reduce or end completely. If the SSA is not informed in a timely fashion that the plan has ended, benefits might have to be repaid to the SSA.
Those who are interested in the PASS program must be fully cognizant of all the federal requirements that have to be followed. Speaking to a lawyer about disability benefits and this program can help in all its aspects.
Source: SSA.gov, "Working While Disabled -- How We Can Help, Plan to achieve self-support (PASS), pages 14-17," accessed on March 13, 2016