Recently I attended a national NAELA seminar where I was re-introduced to the PASS account program. What is a PASS account? This SSA program allows a disabled individual who wants to make a plan to have a new career or job to divert their own existing income and assets from any source to a designated account to pay the expenses of this plan. The expenses can include college tuition, training, equipment, transportation and other items. Once income and assets are diverted to this account, the disabled individual would achieve or maintain their eligibility for SSI, which is accompanied by Medicaid eligibility until such time as he or she can launch into a new profession.
Special Needs Trusts and ABLE accounts are excellent tools to maintain quality of life for a disabled loved one who is on SSI or Medicaid. However, non-assignable income of the beneficiary, like SSD or certain pension income, cannot be transferred into SNTs or ABLE accounts. The special needs beneficiary is therefore income- ineligible for public benefits in many cases. PASS accounts don’t have this problem. PASS users can divert their own income first to pay for college or training before looking to special needs trust distributions that could otherwise be conserved for the future or spent in other ways on the beneficiary.
The best part of PASS is that it allows public benefit recipients to make a real plan to gain skills, go to college or start a business while still retaining the minimum income and health care that SSI provides.
Call us for advice on SSI eligibility and related planning strategies …. 732-382-6070