While Floridians who meet the requirements to receive Social Security disability might have an illness, condition or injury that renders them unable to work at all, some are only seeking the SSD benefits until they are able to get back into a better situation. For those who are trying to get back on their feet while not wanting to give up the benefits before they are certain they will no longer need them, there is PASS, otherwise known as the plan to achieve self-support.
PASS is for those who are trying to end their need for SSD benefits. The program helps people with gaining skills and accessing services that will assist them in reaching independence. The money that a person uses through PASS does not count when the Social Security Administration calculates income and resources for purposes of granting the person benefits. If, for example, a person wants to go to school for training or to begin a business, this will not be part of the calculation. Money can also be used to transport the person back and forth to work; for child care; for an attendant; for employment services; for supplies to create a business; for equipment and tools; and for uniforms, safety items and various types of necessary equipment for safety.
There is a protocol to setting up the plan to present to the SSA. It has to be in written form and must be approved by the SSA. The person must also fill out an application, which they can get from the Social Security office. After that, steps must be followed in crafting the plan. The first six steps are as follows and should be detailed: the person’s work goals; what must be done to reach the goal and the amount of time it will take; the items and services that will be needed to achieve the goals; estimates on the costs; how much money must be set aside to pay for these necessities; and how to separate the funds for the plan from other money that the disability recipient might have.
Part II of this blog series will discuss the business plan, its explanation, how the SSA will evaluate it, what to do if it is denied and how to proceed if it is approved. Of course, this can be complicated and nobody wants to jeopardize their benefits through a mistake while attempting to participate in PASS. Speaking to a lawyer who is fully knowledgeable about all aspects of disability benefits can help in sifting through the regulations and moving forward appropriately.
Source: SSA.gov, “Working While Disabled — How We Can Help — Plan to achieve self-support (PASS), pages 12-14,” accessed on Mar. 8, 2016