Methods of Sheltering SSI Income

To remain eligible for SSI, your income and assets must be below a certain dollar amount or you can be disqualified for future benefits. Thus, if you receive a lump sum from your SSI claim, you may need to spend it down below a certain dollar amount in order to remain eligible for continuing benefits.  This requirement, can seem like such a waste of assets especially when you would like to use that money to train yourself or rehab yourself back to work.

One method of retaining significant amounts of money without disqualification of future SSI benefits is a mechanism called PASS.
Under PASS, (Plan to Achieve Self Support 20 CFR 416.1226), the SSI recipient is allowed to shelter income and/or resources which would otherwise be countable for SSI purposes.  A recipient is permitted to enter into a written plan designed to work toward a feasible vocational goal with the ultimate goal being financial independence. Requirements are:

  • Be designed for the individual
  • Be in writing
  • Be approved by SSA
  • Be designed for an initial period of no more than 18 months
  • Show the specific, feasible vocational goal
  • Show what income and/or resources will be sheltered and how they will be held
  • List milestones
  • Contain a business plan if self-employment is goal

Click here to go to the Social Security Administration website for PASS forms and instructions: