We issued this report to assess the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) management of the Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) program and its vulnerability to misuse.
PASS is a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program designed to help disabled individuals return to work. Congress intended employment support provisions, such as PASS, to provide disabled beneficiaries with the assistance needed to move from benefit dependence to independence. The Social Security Act allows disabled individuals to set aside income and/or resources to pay for items or services (such as tuition and transportation) to achieve a work goal under a PASS. The Agency will not count the income and resources the individual sets aside to pursue the work goal in determining their eligibility for, or amount of, SSI payments. As a result, an SSI recipient with an approved PASS may receive higher SSI payments. Disability Insurance beneficiaries may also use the PASS program to become eligible for SSI, Medicaid, and other Federal means-tested programs, such as food stamps and housing assistance.
Prior Government Accountability Office and Office of the Inspector General reports have raised concerns about SSA’s management of the PASS program and its vulnerability to misuse.