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PASS Accounts

How To Apply For A PASS Plan

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The application for PASS Plans is complicated and the chances of getting a plan to get approved by Social Security are slim, but if you have an idea, it's worth checking into. You can find a booklet that Social Security has published about PASS plans by clicking on: Read the booklet and print out the 14 page application. You can find the application (Social Security Form SSA-545-BK) at: offsite link.

You will see that Social Security leaves nothing to chance in this process.

  • Keep in mind that when you apply for a PASS plan, Social Security will review your background to see if your proposed occupation is reasonable. It probably will come as no surprise that Social Security did not accept Brent's proposal for a PASS plan to pay for guitar lessons so he could become a rock star when he'd never performed in his 48 year life.
  • The form asks for a very specific budget to know just how the money will be used.
  • Your goal must be achievable within 18 months, extendable up to 48 months or even longer if approved by Social Security.
  • Your plan must be endorsed in writing by a public or private social service, vocational rehabilitation or disability group or agency.

The objective is for Social Security to make sure that you have done enough research to believe that the plan can succeed and make you self-sufficient.

It helps before submitting an application for a PASS Plan to have a public or private social service, Vocational Rehabilitation or disability group or agency endorse your plan in writing. According to James Sheldon, Jr, Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc, Buffalo, NY: Social Security will assume the appropriateness of a goal that is supported by such an agency.

If you're not already receiving SSI benefits, consider applying for SSI when you present your PASS Plan for approval. See Supplemental Security Income for the eligibility requirements you'll have to meet to qualify for SSI benefits. Keep in mind that once you get SSI, you will probably receive Medicaid as well. If you're receiving Medicare as part of your SSDI benefits, Medicaid will pick up what Medicare doesn't cover. Medicaid will also pay your Medicare Part B premium. See Medicare: Financial Assistance.

If you're going to apply for a PASS, get expert assistance before you complete the PASS application. Many disease specific non-profit organizations and vocational rehabilitation agencies have people experienced in PASS Plans who can help you with the application process. If you are unable to find other assistance, most Social Security offices have a person who handles PASS Plans. Although the quality of help will vary from office to office, you should make an appointment to meet with that person before completing your application to review your general plans to see if it seems feasible, and to get tips on how to best present it in the application.

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